The most famous patrons


When people achieve everything - fame, wealth, high office, then sometimes you want to share your fortune with society. This is a very commendable aspiration, inherent, alas, to a few. There are not so many real patrons of art who support art and science at their own expense. Sponsorship and charity are close in spirit to this phenomenon. The concepts are generally similar, just the direction of capital investment may be different.

The very appearance of patronage in the West and in our country developed in different ways. Poverty in our country is accustomed not to consider it a vice, and merchants and bankers were considered bloodsuckers and interest-holders.

Despite the generally negative attitude of society, the Russian rich still shared their capital, promoting science, culture and art. Today, charity in Russia is experiencing a revival, so it would be appropriate to recall our most famous patrons of art.

Gavrila Gavrilovich Solodovnikov (1826-1901). This merchant became the author of the largest donation in the history of Russia. His fortune was about 22 million rubles, 20 of which Solodovnikov spent on the needs of society. Gavrila Gavrilovich was born in the family of a paper merchant. The future millionaire was introduced to the case from childhood, so he never really learned how to write or express his thoughts. But at the age of 20, Solodovnikov already became a merchant of the first guild, and at 40 he earned his first million. The businessman became famous for his extreme prudence and frugality. They say that he did not hesitate to eat yesterday's porridge and ride in a carriage without rubber on wheels. Solodovnikov did his business, albeit not entirely cleanly, but he calmed his conscience by drawing up a well-known will - almost all the merchant's fortune went to charity. The patron made the first contribution for the construction of the Moscow Conservatory. A contribution of 200 thousand rubles was enough for the construction of a luxurious marble staircase. Through the efforts of the merchant, a concert hall with a theater stage was built on Bolshaya Dmitrovka, where ballets and extravaganzas could be staged. Today it became the Operetta Theater, and then the Private Opera of another philanthropist, Savva Mamontov, was located there. Solodovnikov wanted to become a nobleman, for this he decided to build a useful institution in Moscow. Thanks to the philanthropist, the Clinic of Skin and Venereal Diseases appeared in the city, equipped with all the most interesting. Today, it houses the Moscow Medical Academy named after I.M.Sechenov. At the same time, the name of the benefactor was not reflected in the name of the clinic. According to the will of the merchant, his heirs were left with about half a million rubles, the remaining 20147700 rubles were used for good deeds. But at the current exchange rate, this amount would be about $ 9 billion! One third of the capital was spent on equipping zemstvo women's schools in a number of provinces, another third - on the creation of vocational schools and a shelter for homeless children in Serpukhov district, and the rest - on the construction of houses with cheap apartments for the poor and lonely people. Thanks to the will of the patron in 1909, the first "Free Citizen" house with 1152 apartments for single people appeared on 2nd Meshchanskaya Street, and the "Red Diamond" house with 183 apartments for families was built there. With the houses, the features of communes appeared - a shop, a canteen, a laundry, a bathhouse and a library. A nursery and a kindergarten worked on the first floor of the house for families, rooms were already offered with furniture. But officials were the first to move into such comfortable apartments “for the poor”.

Alexander Ludvigovich Stieglitz (1814-1884). This baron and banker was able to donate 6 million from his fortune of 100 million rubles. Stieglitz was the richest man in the country in the second third of the 19th century. He inherited his title of court banker, along with the capital, from his father, the Russified German Stieglitz, who received the title of baron for his merits. Alexander Ludvigovich strengthened his position by acting as an intermediary, thanks to which Emperor Nicholas I was able to conclude an agreement on external loans for 300 million rubles. Alexander Stieglitz in 1857 became one of the founders of the Main Society of Russian Railways. In 1860, Stieglitz was appointed director of the newly created State Bank. The Baron liquidated his company and began to live on interest, occupying a luxurious mansion on the Promenade des Anglais. The capital itself brought Stieglitz 3 million rubles a year. The big money did not make the baron sociable, they say that even the hairdresser who cut his hair for 25 years never heard the voice of his client. The millionaire's modesty took on painful features. It was Baron Stieglitz who was behind the construction of the Peterhof, Baltic and Nikolaev (later October) railways. However, the banker remained in history not with his financial help to the king and not with the construction of roads. The memory of him remained largely due to charity. The baron allocated impressive sums for the construction of the School of Technical Drawing in St. Petersburg, its maintenance and a museum. Alexander Ludvigovich himself was no stranger to art, but his life was devoted to making money. The husband of his adopted daughter, Alexander Polovtsev, managed to convince the banker that the country's growing industry needed "scholarly draftsmen." As a result, thanks to Stieglitz, a school named after him and the country's first museum of decorative and applied arts appeared (the best part of his collections was eventually transferred to the Hermitage). Polovtsev himself, who was the state secretary of Alexander III, believed that the country would be happy when merchants began donating money for education without the selfish hope of receiving a government award or preferences. Thanks to his wife's inheritance, Polovtsev was able to publish 25 volumes of the Russian Biographical Dictionary, but because of the Revolution, this good deed was never completed. Now the former Stieglitz school of technical drawing is called Mukhinsky, and the marble monument to the patron-baron has long been thrown out of it.

Yuri Stepanovich Nechaev-Maltsov (1834-1913). This nobleman donated a total of about 3 million rubles. At the age of 46, he unexpectedly became the owner of a whole network of glass factories. He received them from his diplomat uncle Ivan Maltsev. He was the only one who survived during the memorable massacre at the Russian embassy in Iran (at the same time Alexander Griboyedov was killed). As a result, the diplomat became disillusioned with his profession and decided to go into the family business. In the town of Gus, Ivan Maltsev created a network of glass factories. For this, the secret of colored glass was obtained in Europe, with its help the industrialist began to produce very profitable window glass. As a result, this whole glass and crystal empire, together with two rich houses in the capital, painted by Aivazovsky and Vasnetsov, were inherited by the middle-aged bachelor official Nechaev. Together with the wealth, he also got a double surname. The years spent in poverty left their indelible mark on Nechaev-Maltsev. He was known as a very stingy person, allowing himself to be spent only on gourmet food. The rich man's friend was Professor Ivan Tsvetaev, the father of the future poetess. During rich feasts, he sadly calculated how many building materials could be bought with the money spent by the gourmet. Over time, Tsvetaev managed to persuade Nechaev-Maltsev to allocate 3 million rubles required to complete the construction of the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Interestingly, the patron himself was not looking for fame. On the contrary, all 10 years that the construction was going on, he acted anonymously. The millionaire was spending unimaginable expenses. So, 300 workers hired by him mined special white frost-resistant marble right in the Urals. When it turned out that no one in the country could make 10-meter columns for the portico, Nechaev-Maltsev paid for the services of a Norwegian steamer. Thanks to the philanthropist, skilled stonemasons were brought from Italy. For his contribution to the construction of the museum, the humble Nechaev-Maltsev was awarded the title of Chief Hofmeister and the Diamond Order of Alexander Nevsky. But the "glass king" invested not only in the museum. On his money, a Technical School appeared in Vladimir, an almshouse on Shabolovka, and a church in memory of the murdered on Kulikovo Field. For the centenary of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2012, the Shukhov Tower Foundation proposed giving the institution the name of Yuri Stepanovich Nechaev-Maltsov instead of Pushkin. However, the renaming did not take place, but a memorial plaque in honor of the patron appeared on the building.

Kuzma Terentyevich Soldatenkov (1818-1901). A wealthy merchant donated over 5 million rubles to charity. Soldatenkov traded in paper yarn, he was a co-owner of the textile Tsindelevskaya, Danilovskaya, and Krenholmskaya manufactories, in addition, he owned Trekhgorny brewery and the Moscow accounting bank on shares. Surprisingly, Kuzma Terentyevich himself grew up in an ignorant Old Believer family, not learning to read and write. From an early age, he already stood behind the counter in the shop of his rich father. But after the death of the parent, no one could stop Soldatenkov in quenching his thirst for knowledge. A course of lectures on Old Russian history was delivered to him by Timofey Granovsky himself. He also introduced Soldatenkov to the circle of Moscow Westerners, having taught him to do good deeds and sow eternal values. A wealthy merchant invested in a non-profit publishing house, at a loss to print books for the common people. Even 4 years before Pavel Tretyakov, the merchant began to buy paintings. The artist Alexander Rizzoni said that if it were not for these two major patrons of art, then the Russian fine art masters would simply have no one to sell their works to. As a result, Soldatenkov's collection included 258 paintings and 17 sculptures, as well as prints and a library. The merchant was even nicknamed Kuzma Medici. He bequeathed his entire collection to the Rumyantsev Museum. For 40 years, Soldatenkov donated 1,000 rubles to this public museum annually. Donating his collection, the patron only asked to place it in separate rooms. The unsold books of his publishing house and the rights to them were donated to the city of Moscow. The philanthropist allocated another million rubles for the construction of a vocational school, and gave two million to create a free hospital for the poor, where they would not pay attention to titles, estates and religions. As a result, the hospital was completed after the death of the sponsor, it was named Soldatenkovskaya, but in 1920 it was renamed Botkinskaya. The benefactor himself would hardly have been upset to learn this fact. The fact is that he was especially close to the Botkin family.

The Tretyakov brothers, Pavel Mikhailovich (1832-1898) and Sergei Mikhailovich (1834-1892). The fortune of these merchants was more than 8 million rubles, 3 of which they donated to art. The brothers owned the Bolshoi Kostroma Linen Manufactory. At the same time, Pavel Mikhailovich did business at the factories themselves, but Sergei Mikhailovich contacted directly with foreign partners. This division was in perfect harmony with their characters. If the older brother was withdrawn and unsociable, then the younger one adored social meetings and rotated in public circles. Both Tretyakovs collected paintings, while Pavel preferred Russian painting, and Sergei - foreign, mainly contemporary French. When he left the post of Moscow city mayor, he was even glad that the need to hold official receptions disappeared. After all, this made it possible to spend more on paintings. In total, Sergei Tretyakov spent about a million francs on painting, or 400 thousand rubles. From their youth, the brothers felt the need to make a gift to their hometown. At the age of 28, Pavel decided to bequeath his fortune to the creation of an entire gallery of Russian art. Fortunately, his life turned out to be quite long as a result, the businessman was able to spend more than a million rubles on the purchase of paintings. And the Pavel Tretyakov gallery worth 2 million, and even real estate, was donated to the city of Moscow. The collection of Sergei Tretyakov was not so great - only 84 paintings, but it was estimated at half a million. He managed to bequeath his meeting to his elder brother, not his wife. Sergei Mikhailovich feared that his wife would not want to part with a valuable collection. When in 1892 Moscow got the art museum, it was named the City Gallery of brothers Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov. Interestingly, after attending the meeting, Alexander III offered his elder brother nobility. However, Pavel Mikhailovich refused such an honor, declaring that he wanted to die as a merchant. But Sergei Mikhailovich, who managed to become a real state councilor, would clearly accept this offer. In addition to the collection of the gallery, the Tretyakovs maintained a school for the deaf and dumb, helped the widows and orphans of painters, supported the Moscow Conservatory and art schools. Using their own money and on their site in the center of the capital, the brothers created a passage to improve transport links in Moscow. Since then, the name Tretyakovskaya has been preserved in the name of both the gallery itself and the passage created by merchants, which turned out to be a rarity for a country with a turbulent history.

Savva Ivanovich Mamontov (1841-1918). This outstanding personality in the history of Russian culture had a significant impact on her. It is difficult to say what exactly Mamontov donated, and it is quite difficult to calculate his condition. Mamontov had a couple of houses in Moscow, Abramtsev's estate, land on the Black Sea coast, roads, factories and a million-dollar capital. Savva Ivanovich went down in history not only as a philanthropist, but also as a real builder of Russian culture. And Mamontov was born in the family of a wine tax farmer, who headed the Society of the Moscow-Yaroslavl Railway. The industrialist made his capital on the construction of railways. It was thanks to him that a road appeared from Yaroslavl to Arkhangelsk, and then also to Murmansk. Thanks to Savva Mamontov, a port appeared in this city, and the road that connected the center of the country with the North saved Russia twice. At first this happened during the First World War, and then during the Second. After all, almost all the help of the allies came to the USSR through Murmansk. Art was not alien to Mamontov, he himself sculpted well. The sculptor Matvey Antokolsky even considered him talented. They say that thanks to the wonderful bass, Mamontov could become a singer, he even managed to make his debut in the Milan opera. However, Savva Ivanovich never made it to the stage or to the school. But he was able to earn so much money that he managed to arrange his own home theater and to establish a private opera, the first in the country. There Mamontov acted as a director, conductors, and a decorator, and also put his actors in voice.Having bought the Abramtsevo estate, the businessman created the famous Mamontov circle, whose members constantly spent time visiting their wealthy patron. Shalyapin taught Mamontov to play the piano, Vrubel wrote in the office of the patron of his "Demon". Savva the Magnificent made his estate near Moscow a real art colony. Workshops were built here, peasants were specially trained, and the "Russian" style was implanted in furniture and ceramics. Mamontov believed that people should be taught to be beautiful not only in churches, but also at train stations and on the streets. Sponsored by the millionaire and the magazine "World of Art", as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Only now the art fan was so carried away by charity that he managed to get into debt. Mamontov received a rich order for the construction of another railway and took out a large loan on the security of a share. When it turned out that there was nothing to repay 5 million, Savva Ivanovich ended up in Taganskaya prison. Former friends turned away from him. To somehow pay off Mamontov's debts, his rich collection of paintings and sculptures was sold for a pittance at an auction. The impoverished and aged philanthropist began to live at a ceramic workshop behind the Butyrskaya outpost, where he died unnoticed by everyone. Already in our time, a monument was erected to the famous philanthropist in Sergiev Posad, because the Mamontovs laid the first short railway line here specifically for transporting pilgrims to the Lavra. It is planned to erect four more monuments to the great man - in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, on the Donetsk railway and on Teatralnaya square in Moscow.

Varvara Alekseevna Morozova (Khludova) (1850-1917). This woman owned a fortune of 10 million rubles, donating over a million to charity. And her sons Mikhail and Ivan became famous art collectors. When Varvara's husband, Abram Abramovich, died, she inherited from him at the age of 34 the Partnership of the Tver Manufactory. Having become the sole owner of large capital, Morozova began to provide for the unfortunate. Of the 500 thousand that her husband allocated to her for benefits to the poor and the maintenance of schools and churches, 150 thousand went to a clinic for the mentally ill. After the revolution, the A.A. Morozov clinic was named in honor of the psychiatrist Sergei Korsakov, another 150 thousand were donated to the Crafts School for the Poor. The remaining investments were not so great - the Rogozhskoe women's elementary school received 10 thousand, the funds went to rural and local schools, to shelters for the nervous. The Cancer Institute on Devichye Pole received the name of its patrons, the Morozovs. And there was also a charitable institution in Tver, a sanatorium in Gagra for patients with tuberculosis. Varvara Morozova was in many institutions. As a result, vocational schools and primary classes, hospitals, maternity hospitals and almshouses in Tver and Moscow were named after her. In gratitude for the donation of 50 thousand rubles, the name of the patron was stamped on the pediment of the Chemical Institute of the People's University. Morozova bought a three-story mansion for the Prechistenskiye courses for workers in Kursovy Lane, and she also paid for the Dukhobors to move to Canada. It was Varvara Alekseevna who financed the construction of Russia's first free library-reading room named after Turgenev, opened in 1885, and then also helped to acquire the necessary literature. The final point of Morozova's charitable activities was her will. Fabrikantsha, exposed by Soviet propaganda as a model of money-grubbing, ordered to transfer all her assets into securities, put them in a bank, and give the funds received to the workers. Unfortunately, they did not have time to appreciate all the kindness of their mistress - a month after her death, the October Revolution happened.

Savva Timofeevich Morozov (1862-1905). This philanthropist donated about 500 thousand rubles. Morozov managed to become a model of a modern businessman - he studied chemistry at Cambridge, and studied textile production in Liverpool and Manchester. Returning from Europe to Russia, Savva Morozov became the head of the Nikolskaya Manufactory Partnership named after him. The managing director and main shareholder of this enterprise remained the industrialist's mother, Maria Fedorovna, whose capital was 30 million rubles. Morozov's advanced thinking said that thanks to the revolution, Russia would be able to catch up and overtake Europe. He even drew up his own program of social and political reforms, which set the goal of the country's transition to a constitutional regime of government. Morozov insured himself in the amount of 100 thousand rubles, and issued the policy to the bearer, passing it on to his beloved actress Andreeva. There, in turn, she transferred most of the funds to the revolutionaries. Because of his love for Andreeva, Morozov supported the Art Theater, he was paid for a 12-year lease on premises in Kamergersky Lane. At the same time, the contribution of the patron was equal to the contributions of the main shareholders, among whom was the owner of the gold-sewing manufactory Alekseev, known as Stanislavsky. The reconstruction of the theater building cost Morozov 300 thousand rubles - a huge sum for those times. And this is despite the fact that the architect Fyodor Shekhtel, the author of the Mkhatovskaya seagull, made the project completely free of charge. Thanks to Morozov's money, the most modern stage equipment was ordered abroad. In general, the lighting equipment in the Russian theater first appeared here. In total, the patron spent about 500 thousand rubles on the building of the Moscow Art Theater with a bronze bas-relief on the facade in the form of a drowning swimmer. As already mentioned, Morozov sympathized with the revolutionaries. Among his friends was Maxim Gorky, Nikolai Bauman was hiding in the industrialist's palace on Spiridonovka. Morozov helped deliver illegal literature to the factory where the future People's Commissar Leonid Krasin served as an engineer. After a wave of revolutionary uprisings in 1905, the industrialist demanded that his mother transfer the factories to his complete subordination. However, she achieved the removal of the obstinate son from business and sent him with his wife and personal doctor to the Cote d'Azur. There Savva Morozov committed suicide, however, the circumstances of his death were strange.

Maria Klavdievna Tenisheva (1867-1928). The origin of this princess remains a mystery. According to one of the legends, her father could be the Emperor Alexander II himself. In her youth, Tenisheva tried to find herself - she got married early, gave birth to a daughter, began to take singing lessons in order to get on the professional stage, and began to paint. As a result, Maria came to the conclusion that the purpose of her life is charity. She divorced and remarried, this time to a prominent businessman, Prince Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Tenishev. His business acumen was nicknamed "Russian American". Most likely, the marriage was of convenience, because only in this way grew up in an aristocratic family, but illegitimate, the girl could get a firm place in society. After Maria Tenisheva became the wife of a wealthy entrepreneur, she surrendered to her vocation. The prince himself was also a famous philanthropist, having founded the Tenishevsky school in St. Petersburg. True, he still fundamentally helped the most cultured representatives of society. During her husband's life, Tenisheva organized drawing classes in St. Petersburg, where one of the teachers was Ilya Repin, and she also opened a drawing school in Smolensk. Maria opened an "ideological estate" in her estate Talashkino. An agricultural school was established there, where ideal farmers were brought up. Craftsmen were trained in arts and crafts. Thanks to Tenisheva, the Russian Antiquity Museum appeared in the country, which became the country's first museum of ethnography and Russian decorative and applied arts. A special building was even built for him in Smolensk. However, the peasants, for which the princess was concerned, thanked her in their own way. The prince's body, embalmed for a hundred years and buried in three coffins, was simply thrown into a pit in 1923. The very same Tenisheva, who with Savva Mamontov kept the magazine "World of Art", who gave funds to Diaghilev and Benoit, lived her last years in exile in France. There she, not yet being old, took up enamel art.

Margarita Kirillovna Morozova (Mamontova) (1873-1958). This woman was related to both Savva Mamontov and Pavel Tretyakov. Margarita was called the first beauty of Moscow. Already at the age of 18, she married Mikhail Morozov, the son of another famous patron of the arts. At the age of 30, Margarita, being pregnant with her fourth child, became a widow. She herself preferred not to deal with the affairs of the factory, whose co-owner was her husband. Morozova breathed art. She took music lessons from the composer Alexander Scriabin, whom she financially supported for a long time, to give him the opportunity to create and not be distracted by everyday life. In 1910, Morozova donated her deceased husband's art collection to the Tretyakov Gallery. A total of 83 paintings were transferred, including works by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Munch, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Perov. Kramskoy, Repin, Benois, Levitan and others. Margarita financed the work of the publishing house "Put", which until 1919 published about fifty books, mainly on the topic of religion and philosophy. Thanks to the philanthropist, the journal Voprosy filosofii and the socio-political newspaper Moskovsky weekly were published. In her estate Mikhailovskoye in the Kaluga province, Morozova transferred part of the land to the teacher Shatsky, who organized the first children's colony here. And the landowner supported this institution financially. And during the First World War, Morozova turned her home into a hospital for the wounded. The revolution broke both her life and her family. The son and two daughters ended up in exile, only Mikhail remained in Russia, the same Mika Morozov, whose portrait Serov painted. The manufacturer herself lived out her days in poverty at a summer cottage in Lianozovo. Personal pensioner Margarita Kirillovna Morozova received a separate room in the new building from the state several years before her death.


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