"But a shadow of our past..."

Kanashovo, an estate near Vitebsk, Belarus, was a place frequented by renowned Russian men and women of letters, who were part of what today is known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. Poet Georgii Ivanov and his wife, dancer Gabrielle Ternisien; literary critic and poet Adelaida Gertsyk and her sister, translator Eugenia Gertsyk; Marina Tsveraeva and her sisters-in-law, and many others.

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Alexander and Valeria Zhukovsky, owners of the Kanashovo Estate. Photo by A. Lorens, St. Petersburg. Late 1880s. [Канашово]

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Old house of the Kanashovo Estate built in 1840. Kanashovo, Russia. Early 20th c. [Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Жуковские, Георгий Иванов]

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Valeria Zhukovskaya, owner of the Kanashovo Estate, with children Lubov (1890-1943), Alexei (1895-1975), and Vasilisa (Asya) (1892-1959). Late 1890s. [Канашово, Валерия Дмитриевна Жуковская, Любовь Жуковская, Алексей Жуковский, Василиса Жуковская, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов].

DV094-021

Valeria Zhukovsky, owner of the Kanashovo Estate, with daughters Lubov and Vasilisa. Kanashovo, Russia. c 1890. [Валерия Дмитриевна Жуковская, Герцык, Gertsyk, Канашово]

DV094-031

Vasilisa Zhukovskaya, daughter of the estate owners, at the barn. Kanashovo, Russia. 1890s. [Василиса Жуковская, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Vasilisa and Lubov Zhukovsky. Kanashovo, Russia. 1890s. [Василиса Жуковская, Любовь Жуковская-Герцык, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

DV094-106

Christina (housekeeper), Alexei Zhukovsky (right), and an unknown child at the Old House. Kanashovo, Russia. 1906. [Алексей Жуковский, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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After a hunt. On the right: Dmitry Zhukovsky, brother of the estate owner. Kanashovo, Russia, 1890s. [Канашово, Дмитрий Евгеньевич Жуковский, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Alexei and Lubov Zhukovsky (right) with uncle Dmitry Zhukovsky and cousins Alex and Eugene Tsytovich. Kanashovo, Russia. 1899. [Дмитрий Евгеньевич Жуковский, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Valeria Zhukovsky, owner of the Kanashevo Estate, with daughters, Lubov and Vasilisa, and two friends skating on a lake. Kanashovo, Russia. 1900s. [Валерия Дмитриевна Жуковская, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык]

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Alexander and Valeria Zhukovsky and their three children skiing. Kanashevo, Russia. Early 1900s. [Канашево, Александр Евгеньевич Жуковский, Валерия Дмитриевна Жуковская, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Winter horse ride. Kanashevo, Russia. 1900s. [Канашево, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов, Жуковские]

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16-year old Vasilisa Zhukovsky under her portrait by A. Vakhrameev. Kanashevo, Russia. 1908 [Василиса Жуковская, А.И.Вахрамеев, Канашево, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Vasilisa Zhukovskaya (right), daughter of the Kanashovo Estate owners, with friends dressed in traditional Russian costumes. Kanashevo, Russia. 1910s. [Василиса Жуковская, Канашево]

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Lubov Zhukovsky in the park. Kanashevo, Russia. 1900s. [Любовь Александровна Жуковская, Канашево, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Wedding of Lubov Zhukovsky and Vladimir Gertsyk. May 1912. Kanashevo, Russia. [Любовь Александровна Жуковская, Владимир Казимирович Герцык, Канашово, Gertsyk, Канашево]

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The house decorated for the wedding of Lubov Zhukovsky and Vladimir Gertsyk. May 1912. Kanashevo, Russia. [Любовь Александровна Жуковская, Владимир Казимирович Герцык, Канашево, Gertsyk]

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A guest in the Old House. Kanashevo, Russia. Early 20th c. [Gertsyk, Герцык, Канашево]

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Picnicking: Vasilisa (Asya) Zhukovsky (third from left, in a polka-dot dress); physician Yekaterina Ditmar (third from right); poet Georgii Ivanov (second from right); Tatiana Adamovich (?) (forth from right); dancer and wife of Georgii Ivanov, Gabrielle Ternisien (far right) [Василиса Жуковская, Георгий Иванов, Татьяна Адамович, Габриэль Тернизьен, Канашово]

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Vera Efron on the porch of the Old House. Kanashevo, Russia. 1910s. [Вера Яковлевна Эфрон, Канашево, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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The Zhukovsky family at a public horse changing station. In the mid-19th century, during the construction of the railroad between St. Petersburg and Kiev (today Kyiv, Ukraine), public horse changing stations were built every 30 miles. Town of Nevel, Russia. c. 1900. [Невель, Канашово, Жуковский, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

DV094-074

Getting wild berries ready for making jam. Maria Tsytovich (left), dancer Gabrielle Ternisien (middle), and housekeeper Christina. Gabrielle taught French to Kanashevo children. Kanashevo, 1910. [Мария Цытович, Габриэль Тернизьен, Канашово, Gertsyk, Герцык, Георгий Иванов]

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Lubov Zhukovskaya-Tsytovich with children Eugene, Alexei, and Maria in the linden alley. Kanashevo, Russia. 1899. [Gertsyk, Герцык, Любовь Евгеньевна Цытович, Канашево]

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The Pillar Hall in the Old House. Kanashevo, Russia. August, 1916. [Канашево]

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Carriages leaving the front entrance of the New House. Kanashevo, Russia. 1900s. [Канашево]

The exhibition shows the daily life of the estate, its owners, and famous guests taking boat rides, picnicking, and ice-skating on a frozen pond. These photos, "but a shadow of our past," as Adelaida Gertsyk poetically once said, are all we have left. The Kanashovo estate was looted and burned down by the local peasants during the 1917 revolutionary events and never restored. Most of its owners and guests emigrated and lived in Berlin or Paris. Some reached their literary fame while in emigration, others, in contrast, lost their inspiration away from home. Those who stayed died of hunger, were executed, or committed suicide. Their poems and essays live on, and so do the beautiful images of life they left behind.

Photos: Provided by Tatiana N. Zhukovsky. The archive of the Gertsyk-Zhukovsky family.

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