The Room of Vyacheslav Ivanov

Vyacheslav Ivanov

If Alexander Blok was a flâneur par excellence, Vyacheslav Ivanov has been remembered by friends as a domosed, or stay-at-home, who received people in the Tower instead of visiting others. Of course, he played an active part in the cultural life of the city: he visited other salons, participated in the meetings of journals, such as Apollon, and lectured on Greek literature at Raev’s Higher Courses for Women. But for him the Tower was the primary base from which he encountered the rest of the world. From the Tower Ivanov ran his own publishing house Ory (Greek for "Times") which published works by Ivanov himself, Zinovieva-Annibal and other writers of their circle. And at the Tower he read lectures for the young participants of the Poetic Academy.

Room iterior

Ivanov was a modern individual who, in the words of Walter Benjamin, used a domestic interior in order to "bring together the far away and long ago." The walls of his room were of a Dionysian purple color in keeping with his Nietzschean thinking (Margarita Sabashnikova writes in her memoirs that entering the narrow and flaming red room felt like entering an oven). By education a scholar of Antiquity, Ivanov surrounded himself with objects related to it: engravings of masterpieces of art, statues of Hercules and young Dionysus, and porcelain collectibles. The furniture was old and heavy: an Italian arm chair of black wood and a huge writing desk all covered by books. On the opposite side was an ottoman on which Ivanov slept.

After Zinovieva-Annibal's death, Ivanov’s lifestyle remained bohemian. He usually went to sleep only in the morning, around 7-8, when he would send the younger children Lydia and Kostya to school. He woke up around 5 pm, when he was served morning coffee in bed. After that arrived his "audiences" – that is what the family called it when he had guests in his room.