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.
Volskaya street 33
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Tuesday - Sunday 10am–6pm