1840 - 2009

Gogol in Book Illustrations

Gogol House

Gogol House Collection

I am an enemy of all prints and fashionable fabrications [...] you will not find ingenious illustrators for this task, and besides, the writing itself must be classical, widely known, polished, finished, and not filled with a heap of flaws as mine is.

N. V. Gogol, Letter to P. A. Pletnev, March 20, 1846 (New Style)
Chichikov at Sobakevich’s 1930

Such was N. V. Gogol’s attitude to the illustration of his books. At the same time, Gogol can be called one of the most illustrated authors. The Gogol iconography began to be formed in the 1840s and 1850s along with the publication of his most famous works and the rapid development of his literary career.

Poor us, deprived orphans 1876
Cherevik’s fearsome wife tenderly animated the priest’s son 1876
No, incredible sinner 1874

At various times, his portrait was drawn by Aleksei Venetsianov, Fyodor Moller, Vasilii Tropinin, Emmanuil Dmitriev-Mamonov, and Aleksandr Ivanov; and illustrators of his works included Aleksandr Agin, Pyotr Boklevsky, Ilya Repin, Bοris Kustodiev, and Marc Chagall.

Chichikov at Plyushkin’s 1930
Front page of the album of lithographs to N. V. Gogol 1874
Afanasy Ivanovich and Pulkheria Ivanovna 1952

Taras Shevchenko’s illustrations of the story Taras Bulba are well known, as well as Gogol’s own sketches for the manuscripts of Arabesques, The Government Inspector, and Diary of a Madman. No less rich is the twentieth-century body of Gogol artwork. Indeed, every drawing, sculpture, illustration is always a new interpretation, an authorial rethinking of the image of the writer and his characters.

Overcoat 1984
Plyushkin 2009
Koliada 1952
Oksana in front of a mirror 1952
In a deep underground cellar at Danilo’s 1874

The museum collection of Gogol House comprises more than 3,500 items, and the largest part of the collection is the graphic archive, which includes about 1,400 paintings and drawings.

Scene from “The Inspector General” 1909 - 1917

The two main categories of acquisition have been the portraits of Gogol and illustrations of his works. The collection incorporates both original illustrations (paintings and drawings made with watercolor, pencils, sauce pencils, and pastels), and engravings (woodcuts, zincographs, etchings, lithographs, and silkscreens).

Afanasy Ivanovich’s lunch 1900
The artist P. A. Fedotov in Moscow 1952
The Tale of Captain Kopeikin 1974

It is dominated by the work of artists of the second half of the twentieth century, but also includes works from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Zakhar Pichugin and Νikolai Ivanshentsev. The collection also benefits from the work of contemporary authors whose works have already become classics of book illustration: Sergei Alimov and Vitalii Goryaev.

The captain stepped forward, dignified and stately 1874

Thus, the exhibition allows us not only to “revive” Gogol’s heroes, but also to see a collective portrait of the era, inspired by the work of the author of Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka, The Overcoat, and Dead Souls.

Credits: Story

Curator — Gogol House Museum

Credits: All media
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