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Vladimir Mayakovsky

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Russian and soviet poet, playwright, artist and stage and film actor

Vladimir Mayakovsky did not immediately begin to write poetry - at first he was going to become an artist and even studied painting. The fame of the poet came to him after meeting the avant-garde artists, when the first works of the young author were enthusiastically greeted by David Burliuk. Futuristic group, "Today's Lubok", "Left Front of Arts", advertising "ROSTA Windows" - Vladimir Mayakovsky worked in many creative associations. He also wrote for newspapers, published a magazine, made films, created plays and staged performances based on them.

Russian futurism was born

Vladimir Mayakovsky was born in Georgia in 1893. His father served as a forester in the village of Baghdadi, later the family moved to Kutaisi. Here, the future poet studied at the gymnasium and took drawing lessons: the only Kutaisi artist Sergei Krasnukha worked with him for free. When the wave of the first Russian revolution reached Georgia, Mayakovsky, as a child, took part in rallies for the first time. His sister Lyudmila Mayakovskaya recalled: “The revolutionary struggle of the masses also influenced Volodya and Olya. The Caucasus experienced the revolution especially acutely. There, everyone was involved in the struggle, and everyone was divided into those who participated in the revolution, who definitely sympathized with it and who were hostile .

In 1906, when Vladimir Mayakovsky was 13 years old, his father died from blood poisoning: he injured his finger with a needle while stitching papers. Until the end of his life, the poet was afraid of bacteria: he always carried soap with him, took a folding basin on his travels, carried cologne for rubbing with him, and carefully monitored hygiene.

After the death of his father, the family was in a difficult situation. Mayakovsky recalled: “After the funeral of my father, we have 3 rubles. Instinctively, feverishly, we sold out tables and chairs. Moved to Moscow. What for? There weren’t even any acquaintances . ” In a Moscow gymnasium, the young poet wrote his first "incredibly revolutionary and equally ugly" poem and published it in an illegal school magazine. In 1909-1910, Mayakovsky was arrested several times: he joined the Bolshevik Party, worked in an underground printing house. At first, the young revolutionary was given "on bail" to his mother, and for the third time he was sent to prison. Mayakovsky later called the conclusion in solitary confinement "11 Butyr months." He wrote poetry, but the notebook with lyrical experiments - "stilted and tearful", as their author assessed - was taken away by the guards.

In conclusion, Mayakovsky read many books. He dreamed of a new art, a new aesthetic that would be fundamentally different from the classical one. Mayakovsky decided to study painting - he changed several teachers and a year later entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here the young artist met David Burliuk, and later with Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Kruchenykh. Mayakovsky again wrote poetry, from which his new comrades were delighted. Avant-garde authors decided to unite against the "old aesthetics", and soon a manifesto of a new creative group appeared - "Slap in the Face of Public Taste".

David has the wrath of a master who has outstripped his contemporaries, while I have the pathos of a socialist who knows the inevitability of the collapse of junk. Russian futurism was born. Vladimir Mayakovsky, excerpt from the autobiography "I myself"

Futurists spoke at meetings - read poems and lectures on new poetry. For public speaking, Vladimir Mayakovsky was expelled from the school. In 1913–1914, the well-known tour of the Futurists took place: a creative group with performances toured Russian cities.

Burliuk rode and promoted futurism. But he loved Mayakovsky, stood at the cradle of his verse, knew his biography to the smallest detail, knew how to read his things - and therefore, through the butads of David Davidovich, the appearance of Mayakovsky arose so material that he wanted to touch him with his hands. <...> Upon arrival in the city, Burliuk first of all arranged an exhibition of futuristic paintings and manuscripts, and in the evening he made a report. Futurist poet Pyotr Neznamov
Actor, artist and author of "folk performances"

Vladimir Mayakovsky was interested not only in poetry and painting. In 1913, he made his debut in the theater: he himself wrote the tragedy "Vladimir Mayakovsky", he staged it on stage and played the main role. In the same year, the poet became interested in cinema - he began to write scripts, and a year later he starred in the film “Drama at the Futurist Cabaret No. 13” for the first time (the picture has not been preserved). During the First World War, Vladimir Mayakovsky was a member of the avant-garde association "Today's Lubok". Its participants - Kazimir Malevich , David Burliuk, Ilya Mashkov and others - drew patriotic postcards for the front, inspired by the traditional popular popular print. They created simple colorful pictures for them and wrote short poems in which they ridiculed the enemy.

In 1915, Mayakovsky met Osip and Lilya Brik . This event in his autobiography , the poet later noted the subtitle "the most joyful date." Lilya Brik for many years became Mayakovsky's lover and muse, he dedicated poems and poems to her, and even after parting continued to declare his love. In 1918, they starred together in Chained by Film, both in the lead roles.

In November of the same year, the premiere of Mayakovsky's play Mystery Buff took place. It was staged at the Musical Drama Theater by Vsevolod Meyerhold , and designed in the best traditions of the avant-garde by Kazimir Malevich. Meyerhold recalled working with the poet: “Mayakovsky was well versed in very subtle theatrical, technological things that we know, directors who usually study for a very long time in different schools, practically at the theater, etc. Mayakovsky always guessed every right and wrong stage decision, just as a director" . The “revolutionary folk spectacle,” as the translator Rita Wright called it, was staged several more times.

A year later, the tense era of "Windows of GROWTH" began: artists and poets collected hot topics and produced propaganda posters - they are often called the first Soviet social advertising. The work was intense: both Mayakovsky and his colleagues more than once had to stay late or work at night in order to release the batch on time.

In total, up to fifty posters were made, up to a hundred signs, packaging, wrappers, illuminated advertisements, advertising poles, illustrations in magazines and newspapers ... He did not like to draw and measure, but did everything by hand. He draws immediately with a pencil, without a blot, then circles with ink and paints. It was evident that this was easy for him and that he was pleased to wield a brush. Drawing was a rest for him, and in those moments he became especially affectionate and gentle. Often he called me to help write letters or draw something. The hours spent together with Volodya for the preparation of advertising posters are vividly resurrected in memory. Here is one of the notes of that time: “Rodchenko. Come to me now with a drafting tool. Immediately. V. Mayakovsky. Alexander Rodchenko , excerpt from "Working with a Poet"

In 1922, Vladimir Mayakovsky headed the literary group "Left Front of the Arts" (later "left" in the title changed to "revolutionary"), and soon the eponymous magazine of the creative association. On its pages published prose and poetry, pictures of avant-garde photographers, bold architectural projects and news of the "left" art.

In 1925, the poet finally broke up with Lilya Brik. He went on tour to France, then went to Spain, Cuba and the USA. There, Mayakovsky met the translator Ellie Jones, a short but stormy romance broke out between them. In autumn, the poet returned to the USSR, and in America his daughter, Helen-Patricia, was soon born. After returning from the United States, Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote the cycle "Poems about America", worked on scripts for Soviet films.

"The best poet of the Soviet era"

In 1928–1929, Mayakovsky wrote the satirical plays Bedbug and Bathhouse. Both premieres were held at the Meyerhold Theatre. The poet was the second director, he followed the design of the performance and worked with the actors: he recited fragments of the play, creating the necessary intonations and placing semantic accents.

Vladimir Vladimirovich was very fond of any kind of work. He went to work with his head. Before the premiere of "The Bath" he was completely exhausted. He spent all his time in the theatre. He wrote poems, inscriptions for the auditorium for the production of "Baths". He himself supervised their hanging. Then he joked that he was hired at the Meyerhold Theater not only as an author and director (he worked a lot with actors on the text), but also as a painter and carpenter, since he himself painted and nailed something. As a very rare author, he was so burned and sick of the performance that he participated in the smallest details of the production, which, of course, was not at all part of his authorial functions. Actress Veronika Polonskaya

Both plays caused a stir. Some viewers and critics saw in the works a satire on bureaucracy, while others saw criticism of the Soviet system. "Banya" was staged only a few times, and then banned - until 1953.

The loyal attitude of the authorities to the "main Soviet poet" was replaced by coolness. In 1930, for the first time, he was not approved to travel abroad. Official criticism began to fiercely attack the poet. He was reproached for satire in relation to phenomena allegedly defeated, for example, the same bureaucracy, and bureaucratic delays. Mayakovsky decided to hold the exhibition "20 Years of Work" and present the results of his many years of work. He himself selected newspaper articles and drawings, arranged books, hung posters on the walls. The poet was assisted by Lilya Brik, his new beloved actress Veronika Polonskaya and an employee of the State Literary Museum Artemy Bromberg.

On the day of the opening, the hall for guests was packed. However, as Bromberg recalled, none of the representatives of literary organizations came to the opening. And there were no official congratulations of the poet on the twentieth anniversary of his work either.

I will never forget how in the House of Press at the exhibition of Vladimir Vladimirovich "Twenty Years of Work", which for some reason was almost boycotted by "big" writers, we, several Smenovites, were literally on duty for days near the stands, physically suffering from how sad and strict A large, tall man, with his hands behind his back, walked up and down the empty halls with his face, as if waiting for someone very dear and becoming more and more convinced that this dear person would not come. Poet Olga Bergholz

Non-recognition was exacerbated by personal drama. Vladimir Mayakovsky, in love with Polonskaya, demanded that she leave her husband, leave the theater and live with him in a new apartment. As the actress recalled, the poet either made scenes, then calmed down, then again began to be jealous and demand an immediate solution. One of these explanations became fatal. After Polonskaya left, Mayakovsky committed suicide. In his suicide letter, he asked the “comrade government” not to leave his family: “My family is Lilya Brik, my mother, sisters and Veronika Vitoldovna Polonskaya. If you give them a tolerable life, thank you . ”

After the death of Mayakovsky, the entire archive of the poet went to the Briks. Lilya Brik tried to preserve the memory of his work, wanted to create a memorial room, but constantly ran into bureaucratic obstacles. The poet was almost never published. Then Brik wrote a letter to Joseph Stalin. In his resolution, Stalin called Mayakovsky "the best and most talented poet of the Soviet era." The resolution was published in Pravda, Mayakovsky's works began to be published in huge editions, and the streets and squares of the Soviet Union were named after him.

Vulgarity, not contesting it in life, challenged it in death. But lively, agitated Moscow, alien to petty literary disputes, stood in line at his coffin, not organized by anyone in this line, spontaneously, by itself recognizing the unusualness of this life and this death. And lively, excited Moscow filled the streets on the way to the crematorium. And lively, agitated Moscow did not believe his death. Still does not believe. Poet Nikolai Aseev


July 7, 1893
Vladimir Mayakovsky was born in Bagdat’i.


Further Resources


Vladimir Mayakovsky


October 15, 2015

Vladimir Mayakovsky on newsreels, 1918-1925, The living voice of a Russian poet. России


November 16, 2014

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