Stars and time

Stars and time

October 28, 2020

The Stars and Time exhibition was dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the brilliant astrophysicist’s birth.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The work of the sculptor Anatoly Grigoriev was the only genuine exhibit of the anniversary exhibition, which worked in the museum for almost two years (it was dismantled during the spring quarantine due to coronavirus). The portrait has a double bond with Norilsk: both the author and the model were prisoners of the northernmost forced labor camp.

Arrested in 1936, the ‘heavenly intellectual’, as the poet Andrey Voznesensky called Nikolay Kozyrev, was convoyed to the Norillag, to the Dudinka branch, in 1939. Nikolay Kozyrev, a senior researcher at the Pulkovo Observatory, was arrested at the beginning of his star path, but he managed to prepare his doctoral dissertation in the camp, and brilliantly defended it three months after his discharge in March 1947. In the Theory of the Internal Structure of Stars as the Basis for Studying the Nature of Stellar Energy, the scientist put forward his famous hypothesis that the source of stellar energy is the current time.

The sculptor Anatoly Grigoriev, a student of Vera Mukhina, who worked a lot and actively exhibited, was repressed in 1948. He was sentenced to eight years in the camps for participating in the ‘anti-Soviet theosophical underground’. Convict Grigoriev did not stay in Norilsk for long: a year later, through the efforts of his wife and colleagues, he was transferred to a workshop near Moscow, where he sculpted portraits of scientists before his discharge in 1954.

The astronomer and the sculptor met in the Crimea, where the Kozyrev’s observatory and Grigoriev’s workshop were located a portrait of Nikolay Kozyrev was sculpted from life. Many famous people visited Grigoriev’s Koktebel workshop, but the sculptor treated Kozyrev with special reverence.

The sculpture appeared in the Norilsk Museum in 2001 together with two Girls by Grigoriev. The plaster Portrait of Kozyrev, Girl in a Scarf made of limestone and marble Girl in a Sunhat were purchased from Yury Arendt, Grigoriev’s stepson, thanks to the Moscow artist Avet Tavrizov. The author of the Territory exposition project, which opened the museum at 14 Leninsky prospekt after the move at the beginning of the 21st century, placed the sculptures of Girls in the museum lobby. And Kozyrev sculpture had been waiting for almost 20 years.

The Norilsk museum workers are sure that this time the portrait of the legendary astrophysicist will not stay in the storerooms for so long. They will definitely return to both the topic and the work of Grigoriev. There are a great many reasons for this. In addition to the theory of time, lunar volcanism and other discoveries, the ‘heavenly intellectual’ scientist left many legends and followers to the mankind. At the funeral in Leningrad in 1983, in the farewell speeches of scientists, it sounded that a genius had left, whose work meaning would be understood only in the the 21st century.

Text: Varvara Sosnovskaya, Photo: Museum of Norilsk

October 28, 2020

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