A “Collective Farm Woman” from Paris and Apples in Memory of Michurin: a Selection of Interesting Facts for the VDNKh Birthday

August 6
Parks and pedestrian areas

VDNKh is already 82! Despite its considerable age, the things are humming at the exhibition, new pavilions are being opened and landmark buildings are being restored. By the way, 49 cultural heritage sites are located on an area of over 325 hectares. Over the years, everything that is possible has been told about VDNKh, but for mos.ru we tried to find some facts that may surprise.

Cubic Meters of Art

At the end of the 1930s, over two thousand art workers - sculptors, painters and graphic artists - were involved in decoration of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (as VDNKh was called until 1959). They were a wide variety of people - from little-known local artists to key figures in the art of that time. For the exhibition pavilions over 7,800 square meters of art panels and paintings were created, as well as 400 sculptural works.

At different times, classics of Soviet art worked at the exhibition. Alexander Deineka, famous for his paintings in the style of socialist realism, made sketches of monumental panels for the 25th pavilion. An outstanding graphic artist Vladimir Favorsky designed pavilion No. 27 “Physical Culture and Sports”. One of the authors of the Volgograd sculpture “The Motherland Calls!”, sculptor-monumentalist Yevgeny Vuchetich, created a high relief for the Pavilion No. 1 “Tsentralny”. And the first president of the USSR Academy of Arts, Alexander Gerasimov, participated in writing of several monumental works for the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, including the “Stalin's Speech at the 2nd Congress of Collective Farm-Shock Workers” and “Portrait of Michurin in the Garden.”

Alexander Gerasimov. Portrait of Michurin in the Garden

From Paris to Moscow

At the VDNKh northern entrance stands one of the most famous Soviet monuments — the “Worker and Collective Farm Woman”. However, the public saw the legendary statue for the first time not in Moscow - it was made for the Soviet pavilion of the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. When the exhibition ended, the sculpture was installed next to the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Since 1948 it has become an official symbol of the Mosfilm studio.

The “Worker and Collective Farm Woman” was created by the monumental sculptor Vera Mukhina. Initially, her heroes were naked (in imitation of the ancient “Tyrant-fighters”), but the state commission demanded to “dress” them. The composition was linked with a decorative scarf, which was also not subject to approval, as real collective farm women hardly ever wore this accessory. Vera Mukhina insisted on getting own way, explaining that it is necessary for the balance of the structure.


A Salutary Movie

The alleys of the exhibition can be seen in many feature films. The 1939 movie “Foundling” captured it in its first year of operation. One of the director's tasks was to show the renewed Moscow, and the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition was perfect to this end. The "Worker and Collective Farm Woman", the arch of the northern entrance and other architectural symbols appear in the frame.

But the movie “They Met in Moscow” became a landmark movie about the exhibition. The main character, the pig-tender Glasha, arrives at the opening of an agricultural exhibition and meets her love - the Dagestan shepherd Musaib.

The film director Ivan Pyriev began working on the movie in peacetime, but with the outbreak of war the filming was stopped. The leading actor Vladimir Zeldin even received a call to the front, but soon, by order of Joseph Stalin, filming was resumed. The actors worked on this cheerful comedy under the most difficult conditions. For example, often during filming, air raids began, and the group had to hide in a bomb shelter.

A shot from the movie ‘The Foundling’. Directed by Lukashevich. 1939

Fountain from the Past

The legendary Friendship of Peoples fountain was built in the middle of the 20th century, but its composition is more typical of the 18th century. It is an oval bowl with a golden sheaf of wheat in the center, surrounded by sculptures. Such a composition was no longer typical of the last century. In the 1950s, fountains were practically not erected at all — the world was busy with the reconstruction after the war. And in Moscow at this time, a new symbol of VDNKh, sparkling with gold leaf, appears.

The shapes of its sprays rotated, changing the overall pattern. At the same time, they were so powerful that with the blasts of wind, visitors were always doused with water. The engineers had to deliberately reduce their power. And even then, the Friendship of Peoples had night illumination, the colors of which could be changed.

Astronauts’ Chestnuts

Chestnuts have been growing on both sides of the Central Alley for half a century. The first tree was planted here by an astronaut Pavel Belyaev in memory of the victims Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov. From then until 1989, the astronauts who returned to Earth landed a chestnut tree here. Today, 76 trees grow on the alley; the chestnut grove is recognized as a cultural heritage site of federal significance.

VDNKh Press Service

First Rocket

One of the main VDNKh landmarks is the Vostok launch vehicle next to the Cosmos (Space) pavilion. This is a copy of the very rocket on which Yuri Gagarin made the legendary flight. For the first time, the model of his ship was exhibited under the dome of the pavilion in 1965. The astronaut himself visited that exposition. And in 1967, on the tenth anniversary of the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, a full-scale pattern of the rocket was installed in front of the pavilion above the circular pool.

The rocket for the exhibition was assembled at the Samara Rocket and Space Center. It repeats all the main parameters of the original: it weighs 4.7 tons and rises by 38.4 meters.

Roman Dome in Moscow

The Cosmos (Space) pavilion, located behind the Vostok rocket, is also interesting. A huge hangar was built at the exhibition in 1939, and then it was called “Mechanization”. The pavilion got its now recognizable appearance in 1954, when a dome was erected over it. It rested on four powerful arches. This is a unique engineering structure of 60 meters in height: the inner diameter of the domed hall is 40 meters, which exactly corresponds to the size of the dome of St. Peter's in the Vatican.

Apples and Pears

Almost immediately behind the Cosmos pavilion, there is a garden named after the biologist and breeder Ivan Michurin. A monument to him stands in the center of the landscape complex, and the best varieties of apple trees, pears, plums, cherries and grapes, bred by Michurin himself, grow around. They had begun to be planted back in 1939, and by 1954 the garden was already a collection of fruit and berry trees.

The plants were also exhibits of the exhibition — at VDNKh all kinds of crops not typical of the Moscow climate, were gathered. Many of them have survived to this day, although in the 1990s and 2000s no one handled them. Recently, the garden was restored and in addition to the existing ones, another 1,700 trees and shrubs were planted: 800 of them are 14 varieties of apple trees.

VDNKh Press Service

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Source: mos.ru

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