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War. Day of June 22, 1941 .

Many of Leningradians spent this bright sunny Sunday, the first after a long cold spring, outside the city. Shocked by reports of monstrous events, people in overcrowded carriages were returning to Leningrad. The past worries, the current unrest, the joys of everyday life — everything has faded, has given way to a new, unknown, with the cruel inexorability of an intruder in a peaceful life …

The Russian Museum has become an object of defense. In accordance with the instructions of the MNPD on military time, I, as the head of the museum in these conditions, became the head of the facility. The clarity and coherence of the air defense team, consisting of the museum staff, were immediately apparent. The personnel of the Moscow Defense and Military District passed to the barracks position. Alert and bomb shelter.

The first day of the war immediately left its stern imprint on life in the museum. Its halls, usually filled with many visitors on Sundays, were now deserted, it became unusually quiet in them.

But meanwhile, in the scientific offices, storage facilities, offices and outbuildings, in the workshops of the museum unfolded activities. In the event of the evacuation of the main collections, the necessary documentation was prepared and drawn up, and that difficult and painstaking work consisting of a thousand different trifles was carried out — work without which the conservation of a huge repository is inconceivable.

Before receiving special instructions on evacuation (and on this day the museum was still open to visitors) I had been ordered to close large, so-called academic halls and begin preparations for sheltering and evacuating the large exhibits in them. Work began immediately. Under the guidance and with the direct participation of researchers and restorers, dozens of workers removed from the walls and removed from the frames huge paintings of Bryullov, Bruni, Ugryumov and others located in these halls.

The first day has passed. The lack of instructions for carrying out the evacuation limited our actions. In the morning of the next day, Boris Ivanovich Zagursky, head of the Leningrad Culture Department (also authorized by the Committee for Arts at the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR), Iosif Abgarovich Orbeli, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, and I left for Smolny. Here we were offered to take measures to preserve the values ​​of the museum before the announcement of the evacuation, which served as the basis for the conservation of the museum to carry out the preparation of the first part of its collections intended for evacuation.

A team of employees began to work hard and laboriously. It was necessary to collapse the exposition in the main palace building and its outhouse, as well as in the Benois exhibition building.

All the paintings, sculptures and other works from these buildings, as well as from the store rooms located in the mezzanines and the upper floor of the main building, were to be moved to its lower rooms and under the fundamental vaults of basements.

A special place was occupied by the work on preparing for the evacuation of the main collections, conventionally called the “first category”, so that upon receipt of an order for evacuation, they should be taken out in the shortest possible time. As the quickly unfolding events showed, all this was provided for in a timely manner. When such an order was received, representatives from Moscow came to us for the evacuation (the deputy chairman of the Committee on Arts of the USSR SNK, Alexei Georgievich Glyn, arrived to us), we were already preparing for it in full swing …

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The scale of the work can be judged by some figures. Only the paintings were removed from the walls, taken out of the frames, moved to new storage places and prepared for evacuation of more than seven and a half thousand …

In order to remove such huge canvases as the Last Day of Pompeii by Briullov, the Copper Serpent of Bruni, the efforts of several dozen people were needed, and there were over sixty such colossi.

Painting by Karl Pavlovich Bryullov “The Last Day of Pompeii”

Fyodor Bruni’s painting The Copper Serpent

This difficult work was carried out under the guidance of experienced restorers by skilled museum workers and their volunteers. Many still remember Arkhip Filippovich Novomlinsky, one of the oldest and most experienced museum workers, who, with amazing skill, carefully and carefully handled things, skillfully supervised his assistants, volunteers, students and artists who sometimes coped with their assigned tasks. .

All these pictures should be freed from the frames and removed from the frame. Huge canvases, each of 20, 40, 60 square meters each should be carefully rolled without a single wrinkle, without any damage to the dry or pasty painted paint layer, on special ramparts.

Even in peacetime, after careful study, determined the dimensions and diameters of the shafts. Take into account the physical condition of the paintings for which they were intended, the paint layer, painting technique. Part of the small shafts produced at the same time. And the big ones were made in the first days of the war. They reached lengths of up to 10 meters, and the diameter of each ranged from 60 to 120 centimeters. All shafts were made of plywood on a wooden frame. Their surface, immaculately smooth, without any irregularities, was covered with artificial suede. To prevent the shafts from touching the floor, they ended up with wooden wheels at the ends. And here on this huge coil several pictures were wound. Thick paper was laid between them, the edges of the canvas were stitched together as they were knitted. The places on the canvases that threaten the talus were fixed and sealed with a thin tissue paper with sturgeon glue. Then the ramparts, carefully wrapped with clean canvases, were rolled into the boxes. These boxes, given their bulkiness, were made to facilitate not from boards, but from thickened plywood on wooden frames. The shafts were tightly fixed in the boxes. All this complex of works was carried out with special care. Moreover, they took into account not only the need to transport valuable cargo in various, possibly unfavorable conditions, but also the preservation of works rolled on shafts, even during long-term storage in a collapsed state. All measures taken were justified. Evidence of this is the complete safety of the paintings that were on the shafts for a long time under evacuation conditions, as well as those that were kept in besieged Leningrad.

Huge drawers with pictures intended for evacuation exceeded the doors of freight cars in size, therefore, for transportation, they were loaded onto railway platforms. In case of inclement weather, all the boxes with shafts, mounted on railway platforms, were tightly covered with huge tarpaulins stitched for this purpose.

As a rule, large-size paintings, if we only allowed the dimensions of the cars, we avoided winding on the shafts, and packed them, selecting in sizes several pieces, in flat boxes, convenient for carrying and loading. Small paintings were placed in boxes in large quantities. All paintings were carefully installed, laid with paper, rollers made of soft materials and tightly fixed in the slots of the boxes. Special attention was paid to ensure that the packaging materials were completely dry.

Other exhibits were packed with the same thoroughness: monuments of ancient Russian art, sculpture, porcelain, glass, tapestries, fabrics, works of graphics.

The museum had some of the previously made boxes, but most of them were made on these busy days by a group of joiners and carpenters of the museum and craftsmen from Leningrad theaters. The preparation for evacuation and moving to the safest places of numerous sculptures were laborious. The variety of materials in which these works were performed (marble, bronze, plaster, wood), different sizes and different weights required very careful handling and at the same time great physical efforts of many people to carry the sculpture over a considerable distance and move it along narrow staircases. steps to the basement of the main building. The number of sculptures included in the “first category” includes many unique works, especially famous portrait busts.

A special fate awaited “Anna Ioannovna with arapchonk” – the famous work of the sculptor

Sculpture by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli “Anna Ioannovna with arapchonk” (Bronze. 1741)

Approximately the same fate awaited the equestrian statue of Alexander III. In 1937, during the reconstruction of Vosstaniya Square, the monument to Alexander III was removed and taken to a warehouse located on Ligovskaya Street. In order to preserve the outstanding work created

One summer white night in 1939 along Ligovskaya Street, then a strange procession followed along Nevsky Prospect: several strong Percherons on wooden runners dragged the equestrian statue of the king. The monument was brought to the Mikhailovsky Garden and left to lie on the ground in front of the facade of the Rossi outbuilding. In the future, it was supposed to put a sculpture on a low pedestal here or in one of the courtyards.

On this platform the statue lying on the runners was found by the war. For the safety of her decided to hide in the ground. We dug a foundation pit for this, but … a multi-toned monument turned out to be beyond our power – they could not bring it down. They made another decision: to fall asleep with sand and earth. On the Moika, closer to the place of shelter, two barges were brought in with sand. They covered the monument and covered it from the top with logs from above. All this construction was tamped down with earth, and the formed hill was sown for masking with oats … Shoots soon covered this barrow with bright greenery.

Subsequent events showed how well the shelter was made. On October 17, 1941, in those days when the enemy rushed to Leningrad and bombed the city with massive air raids, one of the high-explosive bombs hit this hill, damaged the embankment, dispersed part of the log flooring. Although the head and upper part of the figure were exposed, the sculpture was intact.

Collapsing museum exhibits, moving exhibits, preparing for evacuation were provided by the interaction of all departments of the museum – both scientific and administrative, economic, accurate distribution of responsibilities between them. The implementation of these activities was accompanied by a complex account of things and the organization of their protection.

Leningraders came to the aid of researchers, technicians and workers. Without their participation, only on their own, the museum team could not cope with the entire volume of diverse and time-consuming work.

At the same time, hard work was done to protect buildings from possible fires. They were freed from wooden shields, shelves of storage rooms on the third floor and in the entresols of the main building; from different objects and things – attic rooms of all buildings. Wood floors (primarily the main building) were covered with fire-resistant superphosphate. Glasses of huge windows were glued by paper strips. With the help of the population, the barges with sand, which were then transported by wheelbarrow to the museum grounds, were unloaded on the Moika. Employees of the fire and security guard in the attics, entresol, in the halls and other rooms installed boxes of sand, barrels of water, fire extinguishers and other means of fire protection.

First of all, the valuables that constitute the pride and glory of Russian art, defining the face of the Russian Museum, as the largest repository of national artistic culture, were exported.

The evacuated collections included rare monuments of ancient Russian art of the XII-XVII centuries. Among them are the icon “Angel with Golden Hair”, icons of Rublev, works by the masters of art schools in Moscow, Novgorod, Vladimir, Suzdal, Tver and others, works by Simon Ushakov and

Early in the morning of July 1, 1941, transportation of exhibits to the railway station began. Each vehicle was accompanied by research assistants, they handed over their cargo according to the inventory, and the receiving employees, when loading into the wagons, included it in the carload inventories; thus, accurate accounting was followed here. On the way, a package was opened in which the destination was confirmed: the city of Gorky.

The move went well, though not without road disturbances. So, at one of the junction stations, our echelon was clamped on both sides by military units. And then there’s the air raid. Fortunately, the anxiety did not last long, and our train moved forward. Our employees met us in Gorky together with representatives of the city

We were provided with workers for unloading valuables, which lasted several days. The collections were placed in the outbuildings and utility rooms of the Gorky Art Museum. However, these facilities for the long-term storage of the collections of the Russian Museum were clearly not enough. Overcrowding, the inability, if necessary, to approach the boxes needed for inspection made these storages unsatisfactory. The question of expanding the premises for the collection of the Russian Museum had to be postponed for a while. Moreover, the workers who accompanied the cargo had to return to Leningrad to continue the conservation of the museum. In Gorky, a temporary researcher was left as temporary custodian of evacuated goods.

Among the collections of the museum, which arrived in Gorky, were works of ancient Russian applied art, articles made of gold and precious stones (among them especially valuable items from the XII century Kiev treasures: necklaces, tiaras, enamels, amulets coils and others). We transferred these things for safekeeping in the safes of the Gorky branch of the State Bank.

Returning from Gorky to Leningrad, at one of the stations, during a transfer, we felt how complicated the situation on the railway was during this time: all schedules were disturbed. While waiting for some train, we spent many weary hours in the stationary garden among the few fellow travelers. But we were lucky: with a random train going without passengers, we got to Leningrad.

In July, the ranks of the museum workers were thinning, many at that time were out: who were in the army and the militia, some were evacuated. But the work on the preservation of the museum continued as before. In addition, already on our initiative, the second stage was preparing for evacuation. Researchers and restorers carefully prepared the exhibits for evacuation. But the main difficulty was packaging. The museum by this time did not have in the right amount of boards, plywood, packaging materials, especially seasoned and dry. The lack of such materials was acutely felt in the city. Everything had to be got with great difficulty, and, naturally, this affected the pace of work …

Here I was found by the painter – museum employee Alexander Ivanovich Kononov. He delivered a telegram from Moscow, received on August 18, which read: “The Russian Museum Baltun. Immediately leave Gorky to re-send your cargo to another destination Rosistkusstvo Clay.”

By this time, the museum finished packing the second stage, which we decided to further evacuate, but sending it was difficult because of the delay in the provision of cars. The destination of this cargo was the city of Perm, where Polina Yakovlevna Kozan, an employee of the museum, was sent to organize the deployment of evacuated valuables. The deadline for the departure of our echelon was appointed at the beginning of the twentieth of August, which I and the deputy director for science Georgy Efimovich Lebedev had confirmed to me in Smolny the day before I left for Gorky. To accompany the echelon, the museum has allocated scientific and technical staff.

The received instruction on the secondary evacuation of exhibits from Gorky came as a complete surprise to us, but it was completely natural. Enemy hordes, despite the stubborn resistance of the Red Army, were torn inland. Therefore, it was necessary to take care of the further preservation of the exhibits. It was proposed to leave immediately, but in those August days there was no passenger traffic. There were only one evacuation trains.

With one of these trains, in which the collective of the Maly Opera Theater was evacuated, we had to leave on August 21, 1941, and our small group for the secondary evacuation of museum cargo. Together with me for re-sending them left the head of the department of painting

At the Moscow railway station, I walked along the Nevsky Prospect with a small suitcase. Based on the experience of the first trip, I was counting on a speedy return to Leningrad. Headed the remaining team in Leningrad

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In the echelon, we were assigned a place in one of the warm-ups. On one of the hauls, we saw a recently broken burning squad, and far in the sky we could still see the passing enemy bomber. But our move to Rybinsk station went well. Here we parted with our fellow travelers from the theater, the paths diverged: in Rybinsk we boarded a steamer going to Gorky, where we arrived in two days.

There was a huge barge on the quay, there were evacuated collections of a number of Moscow art museums (among them were some exhibits of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Museum of Fine Arts).

We were worried about the fate of the second line of exhibits. Why did its evacuation, provided for by the Leningrad organizations in the early twenties of August, suddenly linger?


Meanwhile, on a rainy September evening, a powerful tugboat approached our floating “vault” and led it up the Kama to the new destination, Perm. Guardians followed the cargo on the barge – employees of the Russian and other museums.

That same evening, a representative of the Committee was leaving for Gorky in Moscow.

In the city, just on the eve of the war that became the regional center, there was a big overload: there were trains with equipment of factories evacuated from different places of the country, the Opera and Ballet Theater named after Leningrad arrived

Placed in such conditions, I went to this ancient Ural city, accompanied by Nikolai Nikolayevich Serebrennikov, director of the Perm State Art Gallery.

The well-known architectural monument, the Trinity Summer Cathedral, built at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries, was intended for storage. This stone building, quite extensive, dry, but not heated, was under the jurisdiction of the local history museum. True, it was planned to arrange heating in it on the eve of the war, but the production of such complex works under the conditions created was clearly not feasible, especially since autumn had already arrived, and loads of museums were on the way.

Of course, if there was no other choice, this room could be used as a storage; The experience of storing things in unheated buildings in winter conditions in museum practice is quite extensive. An example of this was at least the suburban palaces of Leningrad. But in the premises of the cathedral to place all the goods was not possible. With these thoughts, I returned to Perm and, when meeting with the regional authorities, reported that the building did not meet all the requirements, and insisted on providing premises in Perm, that is, the buildings of an art gallery and a local history museum.

Meanwhile, on September 14, our barge approached the Perm coast. Together with the museum staff and the representative of the Committee on Arts of the SNK of the RSFSR, we drafted to the city’s policymakers a memorandum with a detailed description of the values ​​of museums evacuated to Perm, and with our proposals on where and how they should be placed. After lengthy multi-day negotiations and coordination with the Committee on Arts, the final decision was taken: the Russian Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery should be concentrated in the Perm Art Gallery, and the rest in the Solikamsky Cathedral.

Naturally, the gallery, fully occupied by the boxes, became a closed repository. The local leadership perceived this painfully at first: the whole usual rhythm of the museum activity was broken. It became obvious that employees of the gallery had to find other forms for artistic propaganda: to organize exhibitions on their materials at enterprises, in universities, libraries and

The presence in Perm of our team turned out to be useful for the scientific, custodian and exhibition activities of the gallery staff. Help was expressed in the most varied forms: in the restoration of individual monuments of art, in consultation with the cataloging of collections held by the gallery, in studying, defining and dating works and

The Solikamsk branch was a repository, in which the values ​​of Russian, Soviet and foreign art and architecture were large and varied in character. The collections collected here can be judged to some extent by the names of the museums to which they belong. Here were the treasures of the State Museum of Oriental Cultures, the State Theater Museum named after

The first evacuation winter came. Severe Ural frosts brought new worries.

In the Perm gallery, the old Amosov heating required constant attention. It was necessary to maintain at least the minimum temperature, providing the desired humidity in the premises of the storage. Together with the staff of the gallery and our small team was engaged in sawing firewood, carrying them to the furnaces. And this was done along with the ongoing work on systematization of the store, inspecting the boxes, checking them and checking the state of things. The scrupulous work took a lot of time and required very careful and careful handling of the exhibits. Each autopsy was accompanied by the drafting of the act, which indicated the time of the control examination, was given a detailed description of the state of the viewed things. One of the copies of the act fit into the box before packing. The same work was done in the Solikamsk branch, but under somewhat different conditions, since all the storage rooms, except for the “duty room,” were not heated, and therefore had to repack things with hands that were stiff from cold.

Much time passed, October came, and the expected second batch of cargo from the Russian Museum was still not there. Uncertainty infinitely worried. Finally, on September 30, a telegram came from

In general, in those days we did not know much of what was happening in Leningrad. They did not know what caused the delay in shipment, and could only make various assumptions. We learned some details from a letter from Lebedev of September 9, 1941, received a month later: “Our second category was in the warehouse for two weeks at the Moscow Freight Station. There was no movement, since after your departure with the paths it was unfavorable. Yesterday there were two raids on Leningrad. Due to the fact that the fires occurred in close proximity to our warehouse, Rachinsky and I (at that time served as the head of the Leningrad Culture Department. –

Gradually, from individual information, we had a complete picture of the failed evacuation of the second stage.

In one of the subsequent letters, also received with a considerable delay, Lebedev said: “Neither you nor the Muscovites have a clear idea of ​​the state of affairs with us. This is understandable. Unfortunately, in the letter I can not tell you anything for reasons you understand. I will note only that the other day I requested Moscow by telegraph about the release of thirty thousand for emergency work.

… All the boxes of the “second category” I placed in the basement; the painting is also placed in possibly safe places. We all sleep a little … In general, everything is good and good for now. We all have a cheerful and optimistic mood … “

In a letter dated October 21, 1941

Later, after my trip to the blockade city, there was an opportunity to fully present a picture of the life and work of our comrades who remained to protect the values ​​of the museum in Leningrad.

… The cold Leningrad autumn came. By the harsh days of the beginning of the blockade of the city, the museum staff has significantly thinned. At the head of the object (the so-called museum in military terminology) remained

In the continuous alarms, fascist raids came the harsh winter, and after it, and hunger. From exhaustion dozens of our comrades went to the grave. It happened that several people per day died of starvation.

At night and during the day’s alarms, all those who were not at their posts gathered under the massive arches of the deep cellars of the main building in the wardrobe room. “When a high-explosive bomb hit nearby,” recalled the museum staff

On the territory of the museum, the Nazis dropped 11 high-explosive and hundreds of incendiary bombs, and when the shelling began, more than 40 shells. The museum suffered significant damage. At the first bombings, the heating stopped working, the lights went out, the water supply system failed, the windows fell out of the windows. True, the main building of the museum did not have direct hits of high-explosive bombs, but the explosions of four of them, weighing 400-500 kilograms each, touched the building, the massive walls and the foundation of which, however, withstood the onslaught of horizontal blast waves. In front of the building’s façade (right at the entrance to the bomb shelter), a 400-pound bomb exploded left a 1.5-meter-deep crater in the frozen ground, potholes in the granite entrance parapet and slightly displaced its blocks, but there was no trace on the building’s walls. An explosion of another half-ton bomb, which occurred close to the very wall of the building, dug a hole up to three meters deep with a diameter of up to eight meters, broke off the water mains, and old walls in granite blocks of the basement dispersed on the walls in two places. The granite block, ending the parapet of the entrance, was completely broken from the bomb strikes – there was not a trace of it left. These blast waves and the overall vibration of the building were enough to destroy all the glass in the windows. Fortunately, there were no people around during the explosions, and there were no casualties. The museum staff, stiff with cold, sewed up the windows with plywood and punctured with hemp. But each new explosion at the Russian Museum or in the neighborhood at the Ethnographic Museum tore off plywood, and the work had to be repeated again at twenty to thirty degrees below zero.

If the main building withstood these explosions, then the Benois corps from the side of Engineering Street was severely damaged during one of the bombings. A half-ton bomb that fell on the territory of the museum courtyard destroyed half of a single-story outbuilding then standing in the middle of this courtyard, and a wide crack (up to half a meter above) formed from the blast wave in Benoit’s hull, which seemed to tear off the part of the building that ended with a monumental portico from the main building. Portico donkey. There was a fear that this part might collapse. Here is what he wrote about this October 13, 1942

However, further technical observations showed that these fears were in vain, and the need for disassembly disappeared. At the same bombing from the blast wave in the corner of the outbuilding of Rossi (from the west) from the eaves to the foundation, a crack passed, which gave some subsidence, but the building turned out to be stable. Later, during the next shelling, one of the columns on the facade of the outhouse on Engine Street was completely destroyed.

Thanks to the massive walls, the main building turned out to be quite reliable during the bombings, and the narrow rooms, the repositories of valuables, enclosed between the capital walls and opening into small courtyards, were the most protected from high-explosive bombs and from the shelling that began in September 1941.

The Benois case is another matter: its huge and often-set windows, relatively thin walls, solid glass ceiling lamps on the second floor and the very location of the building with two facades facing shelling made it very vulnerable, and, indeed, several shells hit it severe destruction.

The whole team, ranging from researchers and to security workers, in addition to any other duties, carried a constant oversight of the buildings. Due to such vigilant attention, there were no unexpected sad consequences: the loss of property as a result of the flooding of basements, landslides and other accidents caused by an oversight or an accident. Despite the greatest difficulties in materials and labor, despite the extremely tense situation, restoration work was carried out in a timely manner. (Of course, it is not capital works that are meant, but those that could have been produced in a blockaded city, and mostly on our own).

Despite the harsh, deprived life of the besieged city and the death of many employees, the work in the museum continued. Do not stop and scientific activities. Meetings were held at which scientific articles and papers were discussed. All this work was carried out far from normal conditions: in a basement wardrobe dimly lit with a smoke lamp. Under the flickering light of the same oil lamp, people wrote works, were preparing for lectures. Here also lived the families of many employees.

Under blockade

In addition, during the war, scientists participated in the work of the Scientific Expert Bureau of the Emergency Commission to investigate and account for damage caused by the Nazi invaders Leningrad, its suburbs, Novgorod and Pskov.

Finally, extremely exhausted, brought to dystrophy and scurvy, exhausted by unbearable nervous tension, the researchers found strength for cultural and educational work. On foot along the snow-covered streets and embankments they went to hospitals, to ships, to military units, and there they held talks and lectured.

State Russian Museum. Modern look

Reprinted in abbreviations.

// Baltun

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