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2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 02:21
A long-haired country man with a duck nose and huge arms, boots, a blouse and an absurd wide-brimmed hat. But these eyes, overshadowing even the blue of the sky, - what kind of woman can resist here … One glance of Maxim Gorky was enough for the first beauty of Moscow to surrender to his charm.
Maria Feodorovna Andreeva-Zhelyabuzhskaya has been admired since the time of Alexander III. Later, along with Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, her close friends, she became the founder and main actress of the Moscow Art Theater. Andreeva knew Lunacharsky and Lenin.
Konstantin Sergeevich called Maria "a useful actress", since she, in addition to being talented, also skillfully attracted the money of patrons. Her name evoked contradictory emotions - from admiration and admiration to hatred and contempt. But not indifference. On stage, she shone with beauty, noble grace and a unique voice.
In life, she was known as a flirt and a hunter for material wealth. Mary was adored and jealous. They drank wine from her shoe, kissed the hem of her dress. They say that one of her fans of Caucasian nationality ate a crystal glass in front of everyone, to which the actress pressed her lips. This beautiful woman was carried in the arms of prominent personalities of history. But everything in Andreeva's life turned upside down when she met with the famous writer.
Not a single writer knew such world recognition and lifetime fame. Cities, streets, educational institutions were named in his honor. The Russian prose writer and playwright was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. In the Soviet Union, he was the most published writer. An early trip "to people" and an acquaintance with the bottom of life positively influenced his work.
Alexey Peshkov (the real name of the writer) was infected early with the virus of socialism and became one of the ideologues and sponsors of revolutionary ideas. It was the meeting with actress Andreeva that prompted Yehudiel Chlamida (Peshkov's second pseudonym) to join the Leninist party.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov introduced the two celebrities. This was after the play "Hedda Gubler", in which Maria Feodorovna played the main role, caused a real sensation. "You, the devil knows how great you play," Gorky told her then. Either the charming rudeness of the former baker, or his strange clothes made the goddess of the stage turn around. "Suddenly, blue eyes looked up from behind long eyelashes," Andreev remembers afterwards.
Despite the fact that Maria and Maxim were not free at that time, they began to live together. Gorky left his wife with children, but continued to take care of them and maintain friendly relations with their mother. Andreeva also left the children, and then the stage, to always be with her beloved. Stanislavsky, in response to the news of her departure from the theater, later wrote: "I mourn your future in advance." The great director was right in predicting what life is ready for Maria Zhelyabuzhskaya - Andreeva.
The couple lived in a civil marriage. At that time it was considered obscene, but the light did not condemn lovers. And the actress herself was always signed by Maria Peshkova. However, this state of affairs sometimes caused troubles abroad, for example, check-in at hotels. It is known that in America, Gorky, who called Andreeva his wife, as a bigamist (he was not divorced from his first wife Ekaterina Pavlovna Peshkova), had disagreements with the authorities.
But nothing darkened their happiness - they not only had passionate feelings for each other, but were comrades-in-arms, close-minded people whom the coming revolution made them. Andreeva becomes Gorky's secretary, calls the man "my dear angel", he calls her "noble Marusya" and "wonderful friend". The common-law spouses never had children. Probably, the reason for this was the employment of social activities. Although contemporaries said that Andreeva was in a position, but in 1905, during a rehearsal, she fell through a hatch under the stage and lost her child.
The ten-year joint life of the actress and the writer - both in Russia and in Capri - was serene. The only reason for their disagreement was the persona of Lenin, the delight for which Gorky, who called the leader a "nobleman," later changed to a rather critical one, and Andreeva idolized the proletarian leader. Vladimir Ilyich was also not indifferent to the black-eyed beauty. He called her "Comrade Phenomenon" and sometimes entrusted some business to her, and not to "Alexei Maksimovich, who was heavy on his feet."
Carried away by the ideas of Bolshevism, Maria Feodorovna constantly obtained from the patrons and her admirers huge funds for the cause of the revolution. One of the most zealous sponsors of the actress was the millionaire and her former lover Savva Morozov. When he shot himself (or was shot by the Bolsheviks), he left a check for 100 thousand rubles to Andreeva. She took 40 for herself and gave 60 for the needs of the party.
The cooling of marital relations between Andreeva and Gorky happened not only because of political differences. The writer, who idealized dreams of "new people", tried to paint their romantic image in his works. He, in the end, did not accept the revolution, was struck by its merciless cruelty. Despite his personal intercession before Lenin, Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich and poet Nikolai Gumilyov were shot.
The fact that the writer, being a passionate nature, became interested in the wife of his friend, led to a personal break with Andreeva, and she gave birth to a daughter from Gorky, an exact copy of Alexei Maksimovich. For some time, Maria Fedorovna still lived in Gorky's apartment, but their relationship became more and more like embers. She no longer appeared on the stage, although she remained as beautiful as Repin portrayed her. Abandoned, with enormous unspent talent and an ocean of forgiveness. No wonder they say that the great actress served as the prototype for Bulgakov's Margarita.
Speaking with memories of her devoted, but tragic love, Andreeva confessed: “I was wrong to leave him. I acted like a woman, but I had to act differently: it was Gorky after all."
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