Memorial Museum of Viktor E. Borisov-Musatov
The home and studio of Victor Borisov-Musatov (1870-1905), 'the artist of coloured dreams'.
- Open to the public
Borisov-Musatov was born in Saratov, son of a minor railway official, and though he spent periods studying in Moscow, St Petersburg and Paris - where he drew inspiration from the French Symbolist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) and the Impressionist Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) - he returned here almost every summer, and came back to Russia for good in 1898. Frequently in poor health following a childhood fall, Borisov-Musatov used the Saratov garden as a 'green workshop', where he would frequently sketch, experimenting with colour and light; in the largest room of the house, he created many of his most famous paintings, notably The Pool (1902, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow) and Spring (1898-1901, Russian Museum, St Petersburg).
Borisov-Musatov's distinctive depictions of idyllic outdoor settings populated by elegant women were typical of the fin-de-siècle Russian reaction against what the artist and critic Alexandre Benois (1870-1960) described as 'our [...] spiritually tormented, hysterical time', an art characterised by an interest in ethereal dream-worlds offering a vitality the artist felt the real world denied. In this, Borisov-Musatov would become profoundly influential, notably on the work of the Symbolist 'Blue Rose' group led by Pavel Kuznetsov (1878-1968). Today, the Memorial Museum of Victor Borisov introduces viewers to the life and work of this painter and graphic artist, and visitors can still explore the garden en plein air.