Scene Between the Lines: Anna Karenina

Emotional White Rose

“All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

I might say that my favorite genre of novels are those of Russian breed.  They are detailed, dark and sensual yet full of simple, joyous truths.  Well…sometimes.  While Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky) insists on  Gods Truth and Justice throughout the carousing and caressing, Anna Karenina by  Leo Tolstoy comes up for far fewer breaths out of the deep wells of worldly pursuits.

book cover

Instead of taking inspiration from a movie or television show,  I’m going to arrange a scene that might have come straight out of this classic brazen work.  The old aristocratic style of Russia suggests an atmosphere of stately antiquarian stout-ness.  Even the poor parts of town read as strong, proud, and alluring in their bare luxury.  All seems shrouded in mystery and religion.

Just as their novels are filled with a clutter of descriptive words so are their rooms detailed with rich and elaborate decorations that “speak” words of their own.

Russian Sitting Roomstudyroom

After meeting Pushkin’s daughter, Maria Gartung, Tolstoy daydreamed of  “a bare exquisite aristocratic elbow”.  She is said to be the inspiration for the character of Anna Karenina

Antique Chairold-world-buffet-fruitwood-96_small

Iron Bed frameDesk Lamp

Busy and Distinct Prints, Orthodox Icons, Ornate Trinkets: Nesting Dolls, Eggs

Porcelain Flower Vaseimage_id15649w350h300_Old_USSR_active_player_Concert

Mary Magdalene PortraitWedding Towel

St. Virgin EggLandscape Painting

Russian ShawlModern Icon

Russian Nesting Doll

Modern Portrait

Leo’s own…

Arbat Street (where Maria Gartung lived)

Old Arbat Street

Tolstoy’s Home

tolstoy's house mainalley



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1 Monkey Said Bear — The Russian Type { 03.10.11 at 9:54 am }

[…] made no secret of my fascination with Russia (exhibit A, B…).  By happenstance (or was it?) I recently came across the Eurasian taste in typography and […]