Akhmatova: The Reincarnated Muse

  St. Petersburg in the 1920s. On the corner of Itarianskaya Street, under Mikhailovskaya Square, there is a basement named after “stray dogs”. It was a hotel owned by actress Boris Plonin of the famous actress Vera Fyodorovna Komisarzhevskaya Theater. You have to go down a narrow stone staircase, and the door is so low that you need to take off your hat to get in. The hotel has only three rooms, two halls and a restaurant, and the windows are all nailed down so as not to interfere with the daily life of the outside world; the walls and curved ceilings are decorated with the colors of the artist Sergei Sujaykin Bright flower and bird painting.
  Different from the “Dome” restaurant at 102 Avenue Montparnasse in Paris and the “Double Ugly Café” next to Place Saint-Germain, “stray dog” is not a hotel or a cafe in the usual sense, but more like a restaurant. Club or intellectual nightclub. Every night, after the theater, a group of bohemian intellectuals gathered here to talk until dawn. There are often serious lectures, art exhibitions and music evenings here, and visitors are marked by a thick book with a pigskin cover. Poets, composers, painters and scholars are the regulars here, with occasional foreign artists like German Romantic composer Richard Strauss and Italian Futurist Filippo Marinetti. It was one of the few nightlife venues in St. Petersburg in the 1920s.
  Although the “stray dog” hotel only existed for a few years and was closed by the authorities, it gathered a group of elites in the Russian cultural circles like Anna Akhmatova at that time, and has been regarded as Russia’s “Silver Age” The symbol has been included in the cultural history of Russia and the world.
  Corresponding to Pushkin, “the sun of Russian poetry”, Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova (1889-1966) was called “the moon of Russian poetry”.
  Akhmatova’s original surname was Gorenko. She is tall and usually wears a tight black dress with a shawl over her shoulders and a black onyx necklace; her beautiful features, especially her pale Greek face, resemble the goddesses of ancient Greek art . Grigory Adamovich, a Russian poet and critic who knew Akhmatova, said: “Today when people recall Akhmatova, they often say that she is beautiful. She is not beautiful, she is more beautiful than Even more beautiful…” Another poet of her time, the critic Nikolai Nedobrovo, even thought: “She cannot be described simply as beautiful, her appearance is extraordinary… ”
  Akhmatova is indeed not the ordinary woman that people see every day. People think she is a goddess, maybe it is Erato, who was in charge of lyric and love poetry in the week when she was in a coma when she was 10 years old and almost died. The muse or some other goddess was reincarnated.
  Akhmatova is indeed an “extraordinary” peculiar woman. Some believe she is one-quarter Greek, and think that she can only get evidence from her straight, slightly raised nose bridge. If this is somewhat speculative, then Akhmatova herself claims that, according to her ancestral accounts, her maternal grandmother Anna Yegolovna Motovilova’s mother was a Tatar descendant of Genghis Khan Princess Akhmatova is more credible, and she takes this Akhmatova as her surname.
  In fact, she had quite a few legendary stories reminiscent of her muse in her teenage years.
  Akhmatova is so amazing. She has been very close to nature since she was a child. Not only can she “feel the water”, but for her, “the sound of the wind is far more comprehensible than human language.” She herself also believed that the moon had had an influence on her, and even felt that she had discovered that she had the extraordinary ability to see other people’s dreams and predict the future… This innate, or rather the sensitivity endowed by the muse, made her 11 years old. Good poetry has been written, and by the time she wrote the first line, “everyone was sure that she would be a poet in the future”. She herself believed that a muse had indeed visited her. In a poem she wrote in 1913, she recalled having a “slim” muse conversing with her, “her words / whispered from the treetops, rustled like fine sand, / or like the silver bells of bagpipes The voice of / sings the twilight of separation in the distance”: even “she put beautiful words into / the treasure house of my memory” (Jiang Yongmin et al.). “For Akhmatova, the inspiration for poetry has always been some kind of apocalypse,” says British biographer Amante Hayter, who has a deep friendship with Akhmatova.
  Akhmatova took it from her muse . Inspiration and then pass it on to more than one poet and artist.
  The earliest inspiration for Akhmatova was her future husband Nikolai, the main founder of the Russian “Silver Age” Akme poetry group. Stepanovich Gumilev. On Christmas Eve in 1903, the 17-year-old teenage poet Gumilev first met Anna Akhmatova and fell in love with her immediately; she inspired him to write. In his poems, she is the goddess of the sea, the girl of the moon, the Eve, the queen who is “slim and graceful”, and he himself is “the prince who loves her”. His poems describing her as a “swan” moved many people.
  The same is true of other poets and artists. It can be said that as long as they meet Akhmatova, they will always get inspiration from her: the poet Alexander, Blok was so stunned by her beauty that he wrote “How terrible the beauty is”. Wonderful line: “‘Beauty is terrifying,’ they say,–/You put the Spanish scarf/ Lazily over your shoulders,/ Pin red roses to your bun.” Poet Osip. When Emilyevich Mandelstam saw her “appearing in front of me today”, he made him think that she was a “black angel on the snow” and “certainly bears the mark of God”: “One A strange mark, / As if it was a gift from God” (translated by Liu Wenfei) …
  Natan Altman’s “Fair and Pale Akhmatova in a Long Blue Coat” in 1914, Olga de la Vos, Kardovskaya’s “The Necklace” in the same year Akhmatova, Alexandra, Osmuirkin, Akhmatova in White Pajamas, circa 1939, and Kuzma. Petrov-Vodkin’s 1922 portrait, Yuri, Anenkov’s 1921 and Nikolai Tersha’s 1927 sketches…–and, and, many more inspirational works will be passed on.
  Akhmatova and Italian artist Modigliani are more like a previous life. Not only did the collision of inspiration make them both emit brilliant sparks of creation, but even Modigliani’s life experience seems to be due to her fate. appear special.
  Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) was born to a Jewish family in Legvornos, central Italy, the fourth child of the money changer Flaminio and his French wife Eugenie ‘Gassan. The failure of the father’s business has plunged the family into poverty. Amedeo was born “magically” at this time, because it was a magical moment, he saved the bankrupt family: according to a law passed down from ancient times, creditors could not force pregnant women or nursing mothers to bed to pay off the debt, and to keep some valuables that he had deliberately placed on his mother’s bed.
  Like Akhmatova, Modigliani seems to have a natural connection to art.
  When Amedeo was 11 years old, his mother Eugenie wrote in her diary: “The character of the child is immature, I can’t tell what it is. He looks like a spoiled child, but he is not Lack of intellect. We’ll have to wait and see what he’ll be in this chrysalis. Maybe an artist.” My mother remembers that from the time he was a child, he didn’t learn how to draw formally, and he just started doing doodles, he thought he was ” Already a painter.” Amedeo’s constitution was not good, that is, from the age of about 11 years old, he suffered from pleurisy, then typhoid and tuberculosis. When he was 14 years old with a high fever of typhoid, he kept saying in delirium that what he wanted to see most was the famous paintings in the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
  Amedeo was homeschooled by his mother until he was 10 years old. Although the mother was worried that he would affect the study of other cultures in the process of studying art, but seeing her son’s artistic talent, she still allowed him to immerse himself in painting. During his illness, Amedeo heard that most of the works of the Italian Renaissance masters were in museums in Florence, while there was only one museum in Livorno, and very few of them were

The works of the masters, which both piqued his interest and disappointed him, said that he probably never had the chance to see these great works with his own eyes. His mother promised him that she would take him to Florence in the future. It is said that after listening to his mother’s assurance, he will be cured immediately. His mother fulfilled her promise, and after Amedeo recovered from his illness, she took him to Naples, Rome in the south, Florence and Venice in the north, and let him observe the architecture, sculpture and painting in those places while recuperating his body. works, and in 1898 enrolled him in the art school of Guglielmo Michel, the master of painting in Livorno, to study painting. After coming out of the Michel Art School in 1900, Modigliani studied in Rome, Venice, Florence and other places, and finally graduated from the “Academy of Fine Arts” called “Free Nude Painting School” in Florence.
  Modigliani moved to Paris, France in 1906. A year later, he joined an art institution called the “Independence Society” and settled in the “Laundry Ship” at 13 Rue Vigan, Montmartre. It was home to romantic artists, notable residents including Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau and Gertrude Stein et al. These artists, whose lives were largely irregular, often turned to alcohol, ether, opium, and marijuana for inspiration. Modigliani rented a studio on Colangu Road, where he worked on sketching, engraving and portraiture. Modigliani is not a professional artist, he usually only paints for friends, people in the art world, such as Picasso, Jacob, Cocteau: or for neighbors, servants and models, so he has been living a poor life.
  In 1910, newly married Gumilev took his wife Akhmatova to Paris and northern Italy for a honeymoon. Parisians are accustomed to openly expressing admiration for beauty, albeit often ceremonially. Akhmatova’s slender figure, graceful demeanor and Greek face shape always attract their attention and make them praise them. Gumilyov loved his wife, although it was a little uncertain, and he fully understood their love for beauty. There was only one person who made him intensely jealous, and even had a conflict with Akhmatova after his relationship began to break down. That is Modigliani.
  How Modigliani and Akhmatova met has always been a clue that researchers have been pursuing, but there is still no definite conclusion. All I know is that they all lived in the same building at the time. The researchers believe that the 21-year-old Akhmatova, with her tall stature, long neck, pale skin and gray-blue eyes, is in line with Modigliani’s aesthetic ideas and pursuits, and naturally caused The 26-year-old noticed and made her his first love.
  Most people think that they met through a friend among the Russian poets, writers, and artists whom they both knew well. Half a century later, Akhmatova only stated in her memoirs that she met Amedeo Modigliani in the spring of 1910, without going into specifics. She mentioned, however, that after she returned to St. Petersburg, in the winter of 1910 and the spring of 1911, he had been writing to her, but met very rarely. According to the study, the two of them communicated with each other for almost a year. There are quite a few sentences in the letter that she still remembers after all these years, especially one of them: Vous etes en moi comme une hantise (you fascinate me).
  The 26-year-old Modigliani is a standard Italian handsome man. He was pale and slightly brutish, with a clean-shaven face, tender and affectionate eyes, and a gentle manner, and women were always staring at him. Akhmatova specifically mentions that he has a prostitution child of the ancient Roman emperor Hadrian “with the head of Antinous and the eyes with golden sparks – nothing like the world.” The French philosopher Denis Diderot believed that the sparkling eyes also radiate the light of genius. Although Modigliani was living in poverty and starvation, Akhmatova “believed that such a man would shine,” and no doubt fascinated her with him as much as she had fascinated him. At that time, the poetess recalled later, “a very important event had taken place” between the two of them, although he did not realize it at the time; she saw it as “a prehistory of our lifetime” (apre- history of our lives)—Isn’t that the meaning of past life marriage!—Although for him, the time is “very short, but for me it is very long”, making her unforgettable forever.
  Love is a main theme in Akhmatova’s poetry. Researchers believe that Akhmatova’s poems express her own emotional experiences to a large extent. She wrote “For you, I am in the window of two small windows / Watching the lights all night thinking”; “For you, I endured a bleak life, / Endured the fate of suffering. / It was you who fell in love with the pale yellow woman. ?/ Or does the girl with red hair make you happy?” (translated by Wang Shouren, etc.) but dedicated to him? It’s a pity that the poetess said, “Modigliani is sorry that he can’t read my poems”, he doesn’t understand Some of her lyric poems in Russian show how she fascinates him and what shows he fascinates her.
  Love grows in silence. In May 1911, Akhmatova visited Paris again. Although Gumilev had already returned from Africa, she left him and intended to come to Paris alone. She went to see Modigliani. At that time, Modigliani was only immersed in his stone sculptures and was fascinated by Egypt. He took Akhmatova on a tour of the ancient Egyptian collections in the Louvre, and he convinced the poetess that nothing else mattered, causing Akhmatova to feel, “In the presence of the majestic and magnificent Egyptian art, he seems to have A sense of awe”. Only when the aesthetic pursuit in his heart is realized in realistic works of art can he feel such a sense of awe.
  During this trip to Paris, Akhmatova and Modigliani spent two weeks together. They had lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens; it was raining, and because they were poor, they did not sit on the paid chairs, but had to sit on stools and hide from the rain under black umbrellas. Modigliani was educated by his mother’s grandfather Isoko Garson as a child and was exposed to some philosophical literature; later he read Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Verland, Lafargue in artistic creation and art research , Mallarmé, Baudelaire and Nobel Prize winner Carducci, the French poet Count Lautreamont and others. These poets, writers, as well as D’Annunzio and the works of surrealism are all familiar to him, and he can recite many poems. Now, a shared passion for poetry and literature led him and the poetess to talk and recite their poems with great interest. Modigliani also wrote poetry himself, though not with Akhmatova. The two also enjoyed wandering the old quarters of Paris on moonlit nights, and sometimes he was alone. “Modigliani likes to wander in Paris at night,” Akhmatova said. “Often, whenever I hear his footsteps on a dreamlike and quiet street, I go to the windowsill and look through the soft The shutters followed his figure and walked slowly under my window.” The highest enthusiasm of the two was naturally Modigliani’s 16 pencil sketches for Akhmatova.
  Some art historians date the creation of these nudes to the spring of 1911, although it has been questioned that although she was willing to open her nudes to him, it was during this time that she felt separated from her loving husband and embraced another man. , with a sense of guilt that seems unlikely. But the following lines in “Dusk” (1912) express her unease on the one hand, and at the same time can be regarded as a return for Modigliani’s love.
  Akhmatova also visited Modigliani with a bouquet of red roses. Just because he was not there and the door was locked again, after waiting for a while, she threw the flowers into the room through the open window. She must have put it in with great affection and great care, making the painter unbelievably believe that she entered the room and placed one by one in order to “place the bouquets so beautifully”. Her affection for him even made her jealous of those who treated him rough. Gumilev said that he was an “alcoholic” who had misunderstood him greatly, and Beatrice X’s false accusation, as a rival in love, was absolutely intolerable to her.
  Beatrice X, or Beatrice Hastings, is the pseudonym of the English poet, writer, and critic Emily Alice Haig Diliani shared an apartment suite and modeled for Modigliani, and the two had a bizarre love affair that lasted almost two years from 1914 to 1916

Affection. As a bisexual, Beatrice is also the lover of Irish writer Catherine Mansfield and British painter Percy Windham Lewis. She even publicly abused Modigliani as “a composite figure. A pig and a pearl (a composite figure).” Akhmatova attacked: “I read in an American article that said There was a man named Beatrice × who had a great influence on Modigliani… I can and think it necessary to state that he (Modigliani) met Beatrice A long time ago, he had received a good education … and I doubt that a woman who calls this great painter a pig can enlighten others.” As for Modigliani’s cultural upbringing, the learned Su Russian writer Ilya Ehrenburg testified: “I am always amazed by how much he reads. I don’t seem to have met a second painter who loved poetry like him. Whether Dante, Villon, Leo Paldi, Baudelaire, or Rimbaud, he had to recite. His oil paintings were not accidental fantasies—it was a world made up of a peculiar combination of innocence and wisdom that the painter saw.” (Feng Nanjiang Etc.)
  Akhmatova’s poem “The Last Encounter” is apparently also dedicated to the great Italian painter:
  Modigliani did not paint like other painters, but painted Akh Matova’s nudes: “When I paint my head,” says Akhmatova, “it’s always decorated with the jewels of Egyptian queens and dancers.”
  No one would be ridiculous to think that Modigliani, who had received formal art education, had no anatomy training, so he didn’t even know how many cervical vertebrae a person had, so he mistakenly painted the model’s neck and body too long. . Ellenburg specifically explained that when he said that he had commented on Modigliani’s “naive”, he did not mean to say that he was “naive” or “innately mediocre”: “I understand innocence as a new ability to feel , a sense of intuition, an inner purity. Modigliani’s portraits are all like models, such as… Modi’s wife Jeanne.”
  It was the aesthetic ideal of a love for tall, slender necks that made Modigliani fall in love with the tall, slender-necked Akhmatova and similar women in ancient Egypt, just as his patron, Dr. Paul Alexander When his collection of Modigliani’s works was published in 1993 under the title “Modigliani Unknown”, editor Noel Alexander said: “Modigliani is Achma He was fascinated by Tova’s extraordinary beauty, her nobility and graceful bearing, which he saw in ancient Egyptian women. So in giving her a poetic and mysterious nature, he perhaps put her Imagine an Egyptian queen.” In turn, Akhmatova’s tall, slender neck also influenced Modigliani’s artistic style. From the photos, his hair-wife Jeanne Abitel (1898-1920) has a round face, and Jeanne in life is also a short, well-built woman. But each of Modigliani’s pictures of her has a long neck and a slender figure, so that the famous writer Charles-Abel Singria described her as a “gentle, shy, quiet and delicate” woman . Moreover, among the 350 oil paintings and countless drawings that Modigliani created, mostly portraits and nudes, not only are there many portraits of Jeanne Abitel, but also the “Portrait of Madame de Pompadour” circa 1914, Cheyenne Sultan and Beatrice Hastings in 1916, Dedi Hayden in 1918, and even The Seated Nude in 1918 and The Nude in 1919. “Gypsy Woman Holding a Child”, all of them have slender necks and elongated bodies.
  Akhmatova cherishes these nude pencil sketches made by Modigliani for her very much. She always takes them with her, and some of them are copied on several of her usual school bags. Unfortunately, most of the original works are in front of her. Destroyed in the Civil War of the Soviet Union. Three copies were made in the book “The Unknown Modigliani”. And the most well-known one, even after Gumilev was executed and her son imprisoned, official critics declared her poems “bourgeois and aristocratic”, calling her “half nun, half prostitute”. Banned from publication, and in the days when life was so difficult that even a job as a handyman was impossible, in the poetess’s small, unadorned, empty room, there was nothing more than this frame of Modiglia on one wall. The pencil sketch that Ni drew for her always accompanied her lonely heart.