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2022 №23

Author: Andrei B. Shishkin
About the author:

Andrei B. Shishkin — Professor of Slavic Studies, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132 — 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy.


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In spring of 1924 Viacheslav Ivanov was invited to Moscow to participate in the June celebrations of the 125th anniversary of Aleksandr Pushkin’s birth. The months he spent in the capital reflect an unusually active social schedule. As his address book of the summer of 1924 indicates, he met with a wide range of people: composers and performers (Reinhold Glière, Mikhail Gnesin, Aleksandr Grechaninov, Aleksandr Goldenweiser, Nikolai Miaskovsky, Nikolai Medtner, Leonid Sabaneev), poets and prose writers (Valery Briusov, Iurgis Baltrushaitis, Andrei Globa, Vasily Kazin, Vladimir Lidin, Isaiah Lezhnev, Vladimir Nilender, Ivan Novikov, Sergei Poliakov, Ivan Rukavishnikov, Sergei Shervinsky, Anastasia Tsvetaeva), theater directors (Vsevolod Meyerhold, Aleksandr Tairov), literary scholars (Mikhail Gershenzon, Leonid Grossman, Viktor Zhirmunsky, Boris Eichenbaum), artists (Anatoly Arapov, Nikolai Ulianov, Nikolai Vysheslavtsev, Konstantin Yuon), priests and theologians (Sergei Sidorov, Pavel Florensky), art historians and museum curators (Count Valentin Zubov, Nikolai Mashkovtsev, Boris Ternovets, Abram Efros) and others. Many of these people were in one way or another connected to the activity of the State Academy for the Study of the Arts (GAKhN). It was in fact for GAKhN that Ivanov gave a series of well-received lectures. After receiving his passport to travel to Italy on 4 July 1924, Ivanov decided to postpone his departure for an entire month.

It would seem that this delay was connected to the need to draw up a project for the creation in Rome of a Soviet State Institute for History, Archeology and Art History. The project was supported by Petr Kogan, the president of GAKhN, and by Anatoly Lunacharsky, the head of the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment. The Institute was envisioned as an organization that would serve both researchers and students, following the models of the corresponding academies in Rome — the French Academy, the French School of Archeology, the German Archeological Institute, etc. As Ivanov formulated it in the first plan that he gave to Lunacharsky on 24 August 1924: “The absence of Russia in the arena where cultured peoples are jointly and competitively pursuing scholarly work and cooperating in advanced scholarly colloquy is a kind of voluntary exclusion from contemporary civilization and an indirect affirmation of false rumors about the decline of our culture.”

Keywords: Viacheslav Ivanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Petr Kogan, Olga Kameneva (Bronstein), Ettore Lo Gatto, State Academy for the Study of the Arts (GAKhN), The People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs (NKID), academies in Rome, institutes of Russian culture in Europe.
For citation:

Shishkin, A.B. “The Plan for a Soviet Academy in Rome (1924): Viacheslav Ivanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Petr Kogan and Others.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 1 (23), 2022, pp. 55–99. (In Russ.)


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