Saturday, April 21, 2012
my latest collage
Aleksey Perovsky (1787-1837) was a natural son of Count Andrey Razumovsky (an influential Freemason who in his turn was son of Cyril Razumovsky, the last hetman of Ukraine, and nephew of Aleksey Razumovsky, called the Night Emperor) and a Russian man of letters. “When living in Germany during his military service Perovsky took a great interest in German romanticism, and Hoffman, in particular, and it had a great impact on his own creativity. After retirement [from army] he settled in Petersburg and took care of upbringing and education of his nephew Aleksey [...] After the death of his father in 1822, Aleksey Perovsky settled in Pogoreltsy Estate in Ukraine, together with his sister and nephew and took the penname of Antony Pogorelsky, based on the estate name.” In 1829, he published the book that brought him real fame: it was the fairy tale “Black Hen, or Living Underground” written for his nephew, the first book about childhood in Russian literature. The golden snuffbox in his left hand, which we can see in this picture, may be a heavyweight allusion to the famous fairy tale “The Snuff-Box Town” written by Vladimir Odoevsky (1803-1869), a prominent Russian “philosopher, writer, music critic, philanthropist and pedagogue,” known as “Russian Hoffmann” on account of “his keen interest in phantasmagoric tales and musical criticism.” (It must be said that both the mentioned fairy tale and the fairy tale by Perovsky always were among the books that was a usual read of all Russian children, including Author of this Note.) After his ultimate retirement in 1830, Perovsky dedicated himself fully to the upbringing of his nephew, traveling with him in Italy, mostly. The nephew Aleksey is Count Aleksey Tolstoy (A. K. Tolstoy, 1817-1875), writer too, “considered to be the most important nineteenth-century Russian historical dramatist,” childless too, died of a self-administered lethal dose of morphine at his estate. And Perovsky died of tuberculosis on the way to Nice, the place of his medical treatment. As I learnt from Wikipedia, the picture, which I’d like to bring to your notice, is entitled “Portrait of Count Alexy Perovsky”, 1835, Artist: Karl Briullov (1799–1852). The picture looks incomplete with the background looking almost like a sketch, which inspired me for making the collage. Entitling the collage simply “Writer”, I merely gave him some flowers, the view and the jug of drink.
The charming tale “Black Hen, or Living Underground” sounds instructive, here and there, even didactic, like Oscar Wilde’s tales which were written for and dedicated, as we know, to boys who Wilde loved. Apropos, 23 April is V. V. Nabokov’s birthday. The great Russian-American writer never mentioned the name of Oscar Wilde in his works, but it must be said that one of his first pen-names was “Vivian Calmbrood” (Vivian Calmbrood’s “The Night Journey”), and one of Wilde’s sons was named Vivian.
P. P. S.
sending some love....xoxo ♥ L.B.