Gogol House Museum opens after overhaul
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Gogol House Museum opens after overhaul

Nikolai Gogol spent his last years in this house. Today it is a memorial museum and a scientific library named after the great writer.

Workers have completed the facelift of the facades of the Gogol House on Nikitsky Boulevard, where the Russian classic spent the last four years of his life (1848-1852). It was there that he burned the manuscript of the second volume of his Dead Souls ten days before his death. Today the building houses his memorial museum as well as a scientific library.

The two-story high Gogol House has been a cultural heritage facility of federal importance since 1960. Its facades look upon Nikitsky Boulevard and its own courtyard. The latest overhaul dates back to the early 2000s, when the historical interiors, including fireplaces, were recreated and utilities replaced. The facades were also refurbished.

“Cracks and chips started to appear on the walls and windows over a period of 10 years plus the paint faded and flaked off here and there. Specialists have completed the so-called supporting restoration work that must be performed regularly to keep the building in proper condition. The periodicity depends on a building’s age and its state as well as the material used in the process of the construction,” Head of Moscow’s Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov explained.

He noted that the work on the facades had lasted for nearly two months, when they were hidden behind the scaffolding. Specialists stripped the old paint and filled up the cracks of the walls and fixed the windows. The walls’ surface was leveled off and a primer was applied, followed by the application of two coats of paint in conformity with the building’s original shade. The windows were painted white and the walls light ochre to match the colour gamut of all Moscow houses in the 19th century.

7a Nikitsky Boulevard was built in the early 19th century. Later it saw repeated redevelopments and changed hands. Between 1847 and the 1870s, it was owned by Count Alexei Tolstoy (1797-1861) and his wife Anna Georgiyevna (1798-1889). In 1848, the couple invited Gogol as a houseguest and let him occupy some rooms on the ground floor. Gogol House acquired its present look between 1911 and 1913, when it was rebuilt by architect Dmitry Chelishchev on the site of the early 19th-century stone household outbuildings. It was used as a residential house until the mid-1990s. In 1966, Municipal Library No. 2 moved in, opening up the Gogol memorial rooms. (It has been officially Gogol House, a memorial museum and a scientific library, since 2009.) There is a monument to Gogol in the courtyard, which was created by sculptor Nikolai Andreyev and architect Fedor Shekhtel for the writer’s 100th birth anniversary.

The facades of Gherman Broido’s revenue house, known as the House with Writers, will be also restored later this year. These boast bas-reliefs of Russian classics – Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin and Leo Tolstoy – in Old Greek attire. The work has already got under way.

There are also plans to give a facelift to the Metropol Hotel, in particular to clean 23 unique majolica panels that adorn the building, including “La Princesse lointaine” by Mikhail Vrubel.