The collection of photographs on show in the exhibition gives visitors a strong sense of what life might have been like at the estate in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth century, in the twilight years of the Russian nobility's great culture of country estates, before it was destroyed by the bloody events which followed.
In the ever-changing modern age, when we lead such dynamic and hectic lives, it can sometimes be incredibly important to pause for a moment and lose ourselves in old photographs such as these: they may be yellowed with age, but they give us a glimpse of the unfading beauty and grandeur of life in bygone eras.
Some of these works by amateur photographers are of such high quality that they can rightly be described as authentic works of art. The museum's collection includes a photo taken in September 1890 of the Tyutchev family and the Kristofovich sisters, who had been staying with them, on the island in the pond at Muranovo.
The composition of the photo is extremely expressive, and demonstrates a keen awareness of the laws of dramatic art. On the back of the photo is an epigraph informing us that the photo was taken by one A. R. Artemiev.
This photo is taken by none other than Artyom Artemiev, who would go on to become a famous actor at the Moscow Arts Theatre and one of the theatre company's original players when it was founded in 1898. Further evidence that he took the photo can be found in a diary entry made by Ernestina Fyodorovna Tyutcheva on 14th September, 1890: “A stroll around the lake and over the hills in the village of Grishino. This spot affords a wonderful view of the island, which Fedya and the whole family love visiting. Their drawing teacher took a photograph of the whole family, gathered together on the island.” At the time, Artemiev was teaching calligraphy and drawing at the 4th Moscow grammar school, where Ivan Fyodorovich's children were pupils, so we know that he was the teacher mentioned in the diary entry.
Artemiev was not the only guest at the Muranovo estate to try his hand with the camera. The diary of E. I. Tyutcheva tells us that in June 1904 her friend Kseniya Salias visited Muranovo and photographed many of the people living at the estate.
Many amateur snaps were taken by the grandson of the poet Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev, who took up photography when he was a young boy. Unfortunately we do not yet know who the majority of the photographs were taken by.
Some of the works, which are of such generally applicable significance that they can be seen as symbolic, fall into the category of photo-portraits of the age: in one of them, Ivan Fyodorovich and Olga Nikolaevna Tyutcheva gaze at us from the steps of Muranovo park, as if they are about to disappear into eternity
The shadows of Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev's grandson and his cousin Olga Dmitrievna Defabr crawl along the road from the estate towards a grandly built well
And at the open doors of the estate's main building Yekaterina Ivanovna Tyutcheva and the priest Fyodor Maltsev greet guests...