Visionary artists are often misunderstood and persecuted by their contemporaries. Such was Pushkin’s fate, and such was the fate of his admirer and self-proclaimed heir, Marina Tsvetaeva. Although the lives of these two poets are separated by a century, they share an unusual vitality and directness, along with the circumstances of their tragic lives.
Tsvetaeva’s 49 years (1892-1941) were consistently shadowed by revolution. Her husband, Sergei Efron, was executed for “anti-Soviet activities.” Her daughter Ariadna spent a decade in the gulag. For a large part of her life – in Russia, then abroad, then once again in Russia – Tsvetaeva, like many other great artists before and since, experienced poverty and the neglect of her peers.
Marina Tsvetaeva was born on October 8, 1892. Her father, Ivan Tsvetaev (1847-1913), was a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, as well as a professor of ancient art and history at Moscow University. In 1911, the Museum of Fine Arts (the present-day Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, located near the newly restored Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow) was founded on his initiative.
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