On the eve of Pushkin Day: model of the monument by A. Opekushin in museum Collection
Pushkin Day is celebrated annually on June 6, the the great writer and poet birthday.
The first monument to the poet was erected on June 6, 1880 on Strastnaya Square (it received the name Pushkinskaya only in 1937) in the center of the capital – it was the monument created by Alexander Mikhailovich Opekushin (1838-1923). The poet's bust portreit – reduced-scale mirror copy of the monument upper part that was erected 140 years ago, is presented in the museum Collection exposition.
The first money for the construction of the monument to Pushkin came through a charity line, but these 13 thousand rubles were not enough. In 1870, one of the lyceum students, Yakov Grot, organized additional fundraising, which lasted a whole decade. During this rather large period, 160 575 rubles 10 kopecks were collected.
In the mid-70s of the 19th century, a competition was announced for the best project of a monument to A.S. Pushkin. The famous Russian sculptor Alexander Mikhailovich Opekushin, respected by monarchist circles of that time won it. Many options were considered in the process of creating the monument. The sculptor, who was assisted by the architect Ivan Bogomolov, performed at least three dozen modelling clay models. He also made sketches on paper, depicting Pushkin in various poses, and such variations were collected in ten large albums. It took five years to make a model of the monument, cast the sculpture itself and build a pedestal under it.
The sculpture of the poet was casted at a bronze foundry in St. Petersburg, and Serdobol granite of dark red color was used as a material for the pedestal. When the pedestal was installed in place, it was slightly damaged. For this reason, the opening of the monument to Pushkin in Moscow, scheduled for October 19, 1879, fell through. The same happened with the following date - May 26, 1880 (the poet’s birthday under the Julian calendar). Four days earlier, Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II, died of tuberculosis, and on this occasion, the mourning was declared in the country.
Finally, on June 6, 1880 - another date for the monument opening. This time, the solemn ceremony, which became a significant not only for Moscow cultural life, but for the entire country as well, was realized. The event was held with scores of people, later it would be called the "second birth" of the poet, who went down in history as the founder of the modern Russian literary language as well.