To Moscow, to Moscow!!
The most vivid and persistent memories often belong to our early childhood and, without our even realising it, our lives and our choices are often deeply influenced by them.
My first meeting with Moscow took place a few decades ago and came about thanks to the film version of the only novel written by the great poet Boris Pasternak, the romantic and passionate "Doctor Zhivago". I remember that the portrayal of the dramatic offsetting of an idealistic doctor in love with the Russian people, a woman and nature, against the stiff and implacable revolutionary ethic that wiped out every individualism on the altar of historical necessity, embodied by the brother of the protagonist, struck me to the core.
I don’t know whether I became a doctor because of that distant suggestion. Possibly not. But my love of beauty and my allergy to every form of constriction definitely stem partially from those significant fragments of memory. To quote Montale “only this can we tell you now, what we are not, what we do not want".
As happens in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, even without knowing the theme of the Di Meo Calendar for 2016, now in its 14th edition, I decided to make the great journey: “To Moscow to Moscow!!”
Of course it might seem hard to find the Moscow of Chekhov and Tolstoy, of Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Stravinsky, today. Too many sad and joyful events, too much time gone by. Yet, using a journey inspired by the sublime pages of Tolstoy’s masterpiece, “War and Peace”, as the ideal access key, the magic becomes possible.
So here I am, in Moscow.
The idea of reliving an itinerary based upon “War and Peace” suddenly came to me during a visit to the 1812 historical museum, opposite Red Square. This important date, a milestone in Europe’s history and particularly that of Moscow, considering the overwhelming blaze that destroyed much of the city, inevitably brought Tolstoy to mind.
I asked my friend Massimo Listri, an internationally acclaimed photographer whose works have been shown in museums all over the world, to tell the story and portray the places and monuments linked to the wonderful narrative fresco created by Tolstoy’s novel, in 12 pictures.
Dmitrj Olegovic Svidkovskij, Rector of the Vchutemas Architectural Institute, a fervid laboratory of the Russian avant-garde, and Federica Rossi, an architectural historian who divides her time between Moscow and various Italian universities, also played important roles.
Travelling frequently to Moscow, I began to become part of a different atmosphere, gradually losing myself in a sense of reverie and penetrating a mosaic of museum-houses, of splendid unrecognised places and contemporary art galleries. A real and continuous discovery which I would like to share with all those who would like to accompany me on this adventure.
Generoso di Meo