(10) Dostoevsky, who loved "The Sistine Madonna" - Enjoy "Achis and Galateia" and other masterpieces at the Dresden Picture Gallery

Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe of Madness and Love

Travelogue of Germany] (10) Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky's Stay in Dresden - "The Sistine Madonna" and "Achis and Galateia" and Other Masterpieces

Departing from Berlin, Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky's destination was Dresden, the ancient capital of Germany.

Now, as usual, let's hear what Mrs. Anna has to say.

We spent two days in Berlin and then moved to Dresden. Since her husband had some troublesome work to write, they decided to spend at least a month here. Fyodor Mikhailovich liked Dresden very much. He was especially fond of the famous museums and suburban gardens, which he visited whenever he traveled abroad. He knew that I was curious about the various museums and art galleries here, and he thought they would keep me interested and keep me from missing Russia. At first, he was very worried that I might want to go back to my home country.

We stayed at the Stadt Berlin, a first-class hotel in Neumarkt. As soon as we were dressed, we went to the museum he wanted to see the most. He said he knew the shortest way to the Zwingel Palace, but we soon got lost in the narrow streets. There I encountered the little incident that my husband had described in a letter to me as an example of the solidity of the German intellect, a kind of obtuseness. He asked the intelligent-looking gentleman in German.

I'm sorry to bother you, but where is the museum?

Is it a museum?"

Yes, it's a museum.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts?

Yes, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.

I don't know.

This surprised me. If he did not know where the museum was, why did he ask back like this?

However, we soon arrived and decided to go in, even though it was only an hour before the museum closed. My husband walked through every room and took me in front of the Madonna de Saint-Sisto, which he considered the greatest masterpiece of mankind. Later, I saw my husband standing there for hours, moved and excited, in front of this amazingly beautiful painting. (Omitted).

Surprisingly, my husband was not at all fussy about the shopping, and he carefully compared fabrics, patterns, and shapes to make his selections. Everything he found was fine, simple, and elegant, and from then on, I followed his preferences to the letter.

Once I settled down here, I had a peaceful and happy time. I didn't have to worry about money (at least not until the fall), no one intervened, and I could spend time with my husband to my heart's content. Decades have passed since then, but the memories of that wonderful time remain vivid in my mind.

Fyodor Mikhailovich liked everything to be done properly, and he was the same in the way he spent his time. Soon we had an order of life in which we could spend our time as we liked without being disturbed. My husband worked at night, so he did not get up earlier than eleven o'clock. Soon after we had breakfast together, I would go out alone to look at some collection, and it was then that my thriving thirst for knowledge would be satisfied to my heart's content. I remember that I did not miss a single thing out of the countless collections. I looked earnestly at the mineralogical, geological, botanical, and other collections, but by two o'clock I had to be at the museum (and other museums). But I always returned to the museum (which, like the other scholarly collections, was located in the Zwingel Palace) by two o'clock. By that time, my husband would arrive and we would look at the paintings he liked together, and needless to say, I fell in love with them as well.

Fyodor Mihailovich was a great admirer of Raphael's paintings, especially the Madonna of Saint Sisto, which he considered his masterpiece. She was also very impressed by Titian's talent, especially the famous "Gold of Mitsugi" ("Christ with Coins"), and stood for a long time in front of it, unable to take her eyes off this wonderful painting. The painting that my husband looked at with such delight that it was the first thing he went to see every time he entered the museum was the following. Murillo's "Marija with Child," Correggio's "Holy Night," Annibale Carracci's "Christ," Battoni's "The Penitent Magdalena," Reusdahl's "Hunting," and Claude Lorrain's "Seascapes (morning and evening)-which he called his "Golden Age" and which he described in his Rembrandt and His Wife" by Rembrandt, and "King Charles I of England" by Van Dyck. And among watercolors or pastels, he highly valued Jean Lyotard's "The Chocolate Seller's Daughter," which he described as a "golden age" painting.

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p161-164

Dresden was Dostoevsky's favorite city, and above all, a place where he made sure that young Anna was never bored. In fact, as mentioned here, Anna was a self-confessed curiosity, visiting museums and art galleries here in Dresden every day.

And the fact that Dostoevsky accompanied his wife Anna on her shopping spree is also quite amusing. Imagine the great writer mulling over his young wife's clothes and choosing them together. Isn't it a very funny scene?

Their life in Dresden seems to have been peaceful and intellectually stimulating. We will be taking a closer look at the masterpieces in the Dresden Museum of Fine Arts mentioned above, so I will tell you more about them later.

The museum closed at 3:00 p.m., so we went to eat at a nearby restaurant. The restaurant was called "Italian Village" and had a roofed corridor that jutted out over the river. The large windows overlook the Elbe River on both sides, and on a fine day it was a pleasure to eat here and watch the scenery on the river. The food here was very tasty for the price, and my husband ordered "green eel" every day. He was very fond of them, and knew that he could eat fresh, live ones at this restaurant. He also liked to drink a half-bottle of white wine from the Rhine, which was a half-gloss bottle. The restaurant also carried a variety of foreign newspapers, and my husband always read French newspapers there.

After a short rest at home, I went for a walk in the "Grand Park" at 6 o'clock. My husband loved this large park, mainly because it had wonderful English-style lawns and lots of greenery. The round trip from the house to the park was six or seven kilometers, or more, and my husband, who loved to walk, cherished this walk. He loved walking, and he never missed a walk, even on rainy days, because it was good for his health.

At that time, there was a restaurant in the park called the "Grand Dining Hall," which played military, brass band, and instrumental music every night. Sometimes they played classical music. My husband was not an expert on music, but he loved Mozart's "Fidelio" by Beethoven, Mendelssohn's "Wedding March," and "Song of the Virgin of Sorrows" by Giacomo Cicini, etc. When he heard music he liked, he seemed to enjoy it. However, he could not accept Wagner's works at all.

Usually, on these walks, my husband would forget about work and all his other troubles, and he was always in a good mood, joking and laughing. (He was always in a good mood, joking and laughing.)

These daily walks reminded me of and recreated the wonderful, joyful, carefree, unpretentious evenings of our engagement years.

We returned home at 9:30 and drank tea. After that, my husband would read a book by Gertzen that he had bought, and I would open my own diary. For the first year and a half or two years of our marriage, I kept a diary in shorthand, although it was occasionally interrupted by illness.

I did this for a number of reasons, but first of all, I wanted to make sure that I did not forget any of the details as new things came up. I also wanted to use shorthand every day, because it was the only way to remember, or rather to improve, my shorthand. But there was another main reason. My husband was a very interesting and mysterious person to me, and I thought that by writing down his thoughts and words, I would know and understand him better. Moreover, in a foreign country, I was completely alone and could not share my feelings with anyone. At times I would lose my composure, and my journal was the friend I needed to share my thoughts, desires, and fears with.

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p164-166

Dostoevsky's love of walking was mentioned here, and after this, he and his wife just kept walking and walking. We are sure that we will be seeing many more times how surprisingly fit they are.

I would also like to note Dostoevsky's taste in music. I too like Mendelssohn, but it is interesting to note that Dostoevsky preferred the "Wedding March," which is the most fairy tale-like of them all.

Dostoevsky is also a romantic. But even so, what about this song? It makes me think of Dostoevsky in a cute way. I wonder what he looked like listening to this song. He must have been spending a happy time with his wife.

And I must say something about the diary at the end of the above quote.

I have been referring mainly to Mrs. Anna'sDostoevsky in Recollection."The first is.

The book is a biography written by Anna between 1911 and 1915, more than 30 years after Dostoevsky's death, as she recalled him. However, the book was not simply written from memory; the original record existed. It is the diary of Mrs. Anna mentioned above.

Mrs. Anna had kept a diary from the beginning of the trip to practice her shorthand. This diary was written in shorthand, a coded form of writing, so to speak, that only Mrs. Anna could read. Based on this diary, Mrs. Anna wrote "Recollections.

Mrs. Anna insisted that this diary be burned after her death. After all, this is a private diary. If only she could read it, it would contain even more sensitive information. It is quite understandable why Mrs. Anna would want it burned.

But for Dostoevsky scholars, this diary was a treat to get their hands on. It is a treasure trove of information about the true face of Dostoevsky. It was impossible to burn it. So, against Anna's will, the diary was preserved, and after painstaking efforts, it was deciphered.Anna's Diary.The book is called "The Journey to Geneva". In this book, you will learn about the 8 months from the beginning of the trip in Dresden to Geneva.

It is hard to deny that "Dostoevsky in Memoirs" is somewhat glorified because it has been 30 years since his death. As one can see in the "Diary," Dostoevsky had a temper tantrum, and even during his stay in Dresden, he annoyed his wife Anna by throwing a tantrum over a trivial matter. However, in "Recollections," Dostoevsky's temperamental and impassioned personality is softened considerably.

That does not mean that "Recollections" is a lie. But it is also true that there is a Dostoevsky who is a temperamental and irrepressible moody person. The hellish days in Baden-Baden are particularly spectacular. In his "Diary," Dostoevsky's gambling-crazed life is described in a very naked manner, while in "Recollections" it is written only in passing. From here on, we will look at the contents of the "Diary" as well as the "Recollections.

Dresden, the ancient capital of Germany. I spent my time looking at the city from the banks of the Elbe River.

The cultural city was known as the "Florence of the Elbe. However, the city was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids during World War II. The bombing was so fierce that it has been compared to the Great Tokyo Air Raid, and the tragedy was described by Sinclair MacKay, whose book is also featured on this blog.The Bombing of Dresden 1945: From Air Raid Tragedy to Urban Renewal.The current state is the result of a great postwar effort to reconstruct the city. The current state of the city was restored with great effort after the war. In other words, we can no longer see the Dresden that Dostoevsky walked through.

However, the Elbe River still flows beautifully. The river continues to flow quietly as it did in those days. Dostoevsky and his wife must have walked along the river. I will walk along the river thinking of them.

Cross the August bridge over the Elbe River to the old town center.

The old townscape has been recreated in such a way that it is hard to believe that it was obliterated by air raids.

The famous "March of the Monarchs" is also located just off the upper plaza.

And here is the picture gallery that Dostoevsky and his wife attended. Raphael's "The Sistine Madonna" and Claude Lorrain's "Achis and Galatea," which Dostoevsky highly praised, are on display here. Let's go inside immediately.

Walking around the museum looking for works related to Dostoevsky, the first thing I discovered was Vermeer. Although Dostoevsky did not mention Vermeer at all (Vermeer was unknown at that time), this painting is still wonderful.

This painting came to Japan in 2022 for the "Vermeer and 17th Century Dutch Paintings from the Collection of the National Palace Museum of Classical Paintings in Dresden" exhibition. I also went to Sapporo to see the painting. It was a great pleasure for me to see "Woman Reading a Letter at a Window" again in Dresden, the artist's home base.

It was not as crowded as I had expected, so I was left alone with this attendant to take my time and enjoy the view.

In another room is another early masterpiece by Vermeer, "The Handmaid's Wife".

Note the texture of this jug and glass, and the shine of the coin between the man's hands. Can you believe that this is a painting? Not only are they realistic, but they are also exquisitely rendered in a way that appeals to the visual effect of the light. This is Vermeer, the master of light. I still love Vermeer.

Now, let's proceed inside the Picture Gallery. The museum is filled with famous paintings that I have seen somewhere before. The "Sistine Madonna" is displayed directly in front of this room. The entrance of the room looks like a picture frame from a distance. It is as if the interior of the museum was designed for this painting.

Now let's take a look at this painting that Dostoevsky praised so highly.

I was surprised when I entered this room. The Sistine Madonna was much larger than I had imagined! If you compare it with the attendant standing next to the painting, you will probably get a clearer idea of its size. If you compare it with the attendant next to the painting, you will probably get a clearer idea of how big it is. Including the frame, it is a massive 3 meters, maybe even 4 meters.

Dostoevsky loved this painting. He loved Raphael's paintings, but he had a special attachment to this one. Even in his later years, he wanted a reproduction of this painting, and repeatedly asked his wife Anna if he could obtain one.

In 1879, his friend Solovyov and his wife Tolstaya (the wife of the poet Alexei Tolstoy, who was not Lev Tolstoy) presented him with this painting as a birthday present. The painting was displayed in his study, and his joy at the time was great. He loved the painting that much.

And there is one more interesting episode concerning this painting.

As you can see, "The Sistine Madonna" is so huge that it is difficult to see the top of the painting in detail even up close. Then, Dostoevsky came up with this idea.

Yes, if you can't see clearly, why don't you get in your chair and see!"

To his surprise, Dostoevsky stole the watchman's eye and climbed onto a chair to look at the painting. As expected, the warden found him and cautioned him, but he again stole the warden's eye and looked at the painting carefully. According to Mrs. Anna, she had an epileptic seizure on that day, so she did such a daring thing.

Well, even though he was in a different state of mind than usual, this episode shows Dostoevsky's love for this painting.

In fact, when viewed from close up, the upper side of the painting is quite difficult to see due to reflections of light. This makes it difficult to see the Virgin Mary's face, which is the most important part of the painting. Moreover, since Mary is looking straight ahead, her eyes do not meet ours. Considering this, I can understand why Dostoevsky wanted to see this painting from a higher position. If I could, I would have liked to get on the boat and make eye contact with the Virgin Mary.

And speaking of "Dostoevsky and Dresden," Claude Lorrain cannot be missed. As mentioned by Madame Anna above, Dostoevsky was strongly impressed by this "Akis and Galateia" (in "Recollections," the title of the painting is "Landscape by the Sea" (morning and evening)).

As was the case at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Claude Lorrain is not very popular and few people stop here. However, he dominated the 17th century, and the English painterturnerClaude Lorrain was also a huge influence on the

Achis and Galatea" is based on Greek mythology, and for more on this mythology, seeOvidius, "The Metamorphoses" Synopsis and Impressions - A Short Story of Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology with a Huge Influence on European Art!"If you are interested, please refer to this article, which we discussed in the

Dostoevsky, on the other hand, was more impressed by the oblique light and twilight, which is Claude Lorrain's specialty, than by the mythological nature of the painting. This was caused not by the painting itself, but rather by its conformity with Dostoevsky's inner conceptualization.A Critical Biography of Dostoevsky.The following is a description of this in the following section.

Claude Lorrain's landscape painting "Assis and Galatea" made a strange impression on him. The fantastic landscape, tinted by the setting sun, was mysteriously linked in his imagination with his dream of a golden age. Later,"Evil spirits."Stavrogin of the"Minor."of Versiloff speaks of the painting as a symbol of paradise on earth.

Chikuma Shobo, Konstantin Motulisky, translated by Hiroshi Matsushita and Kyoko Matsushita, "Critique Dostoevsky," p. 352

I decided not to venture into the ideological in this travelogue, so I will not tell you more from me here, but there is no doubt that this painting had a great influence on Dostoevsky's novel.

These are Dostoevsky's favorite paintings from Madame Anna's "Recollections" above. Unfortunately, there were some paintings that we could not find, but we were very satisfied to see "The Sistine Madonna" and "Achis and Galateia," which are not Dostoevsky's standard paintings. In terms of understanding Dostoevsky's painting preferences, the experience at the Dresden Picture Gallery, where we were able to compare various paintings, was a very gratifying one.

The old town of Dresden was very compact and convenient for walking around. It was in this city that Dostoevsky and his wife roamed.

But just as he was enjoying these peaceful and happy days, the whispers of the devil finally began to peck at Dostoevsky.

The dreaded demon of gambling addiction, which had been tormenting them from now on, had finally begun to show its face.

be unbroken

Next Article.

Click here to read the previous article.

Click here for a list of Dostoevsky's recommended books.
List of recommended Dostoevsky biographies."
List of recommended Dostoevsky commentaries.
A list of recommended commentaries on "Dostoevsky and Christianity."

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