The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire


One wonders why the steamer calls here. 

A friend once told me that the in 1870s, Russian painters decided their countryside was beautiful. That the beauty of Russia was as romantic as the beauty of Italy. They went out in search of it (the beauty). 

They found it and transposed it onto canvas. And eventually, the light and labor and elevation and ponderous stillness of the Volga made its way to St. Petersburg. I saw it there. Or I thought I did.

Now that I am here, on the river, watching it bend and eddy, I can see the painting. It sits on the wall of the Museum of Russian Art 500 miles away and swims before my eyes.
Distance from Tver: 758 versts

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