These words belong to Pavel Ryabushinsky, one of eight brothers in the family of industrialists and Maecenases. Their ancestors were the peasants in Kaluga Province. Thanks to their private features they were succeeded in enterprise. Nikolay Ryabushinsky was one of the most famous Maecenases. He helped artists and scientists and considered accessibility of education to be an indispensable condition of the progress of society. That’s why he considered financing school building to be his duty.
The Eliseevs were known as Maecenases, too. They helped sick and homeless people, aged and poor people, children and students. Not only in St. Petersburg, but in whole Russia they were the first who responded to any call of help.
Charity was considered to be the sacred responsibility, activities directed to development of science, art, education, health-service and other areas that favoured the prosperity of the country and progress. People, who made charitable donations, didn’t pursue selfish ends and getting a profit in future.
Bureaucratic system prevented charitable activities of Maecenases. For example, Elizaveta Mamontova, the wife of Savva Mamontov, had to collide with bureaucratic system, which strictly regulated giving her the licence for opening a library. She had to get confirmation of her political reliability and expediency of opening such library and give a list of books and periodical editions, which Elizaveta Mamontova was going to offer the readers. In spite of red tape and other difficulties the majority of the Mamontovs’ dreams came true. They founded a hospital and a school. Savva Mamontov financed the publishing of the newspaper called “Россия” and, together with Princess M. Tenishiova, the magazine called “Мир искусства” (it means “The World of Art”). He also financed the private opera-house foundation and the building of studios for artists and a dam on the river called Vorya. He always supported talented people.
Pavel Tret’yakov, the founder of the Tret’yakov Gallery, presented Moscow the unique collection of works of art.
The editor Koz’ma Soldatenkovbequeathed his picture collection, which numbered more than 200 canvases, and his private library consisted of 8000 volumes of books and 15000 magazines to the Rumyantsev Museum. A hospital (The Botkin Hospital today) and a school were built by means of Soldatenkov’s money.
After the Revolution (1917) the destiny of the majority of Maecenases was tragic. P. Ryabushinsky, who had become one of the organizers and the leaders of White Guard Movement, emigrated. D. Shchukin left Moscow in 1918 and died in Paris in 1936. S.Mamontov died in poverty in 1918 and was buried in Abramtsevo, in the chapel, which was situated near the northern fence of the Church built by his friends.
Many people, who live in Russia today, particularly in Moscow, use the results of many years’ work of Maecenases,such as the Tret’yakov Gallery, unique archives of Soldatenkov in the Lenin Library and the Botkin Hospital.