by Olga DROBNICH, landscape architect, Traditional Russian Culture Center "Preobrazhenskoye", Moscow
About 140 km west of Moscow, on one of the banks of the river Inoch, there lies a scenic place, Porechye, the country estate of Count S. Uvarov, President of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and Russia's Minister of Public Education. In the 1840s it became a cultural mecca for scholars, writers and literati. Its wonderful library, art museum and rich archeological collection, its giant park and conservatory with exotic plants - aside from their esthetic value - were of significant scientific interest, too.
Sergei Uvarov was born in St. Petersburg in 1786. His father, Semyon Uvarov, had a lieutenant-colonel's rank and served for a time as Catherine Il's aide - decamp; and his mother, Daria Ivanovna, was an alumna of the Smolny Convent Institute in St. Petersburg. Upon receiving excellent private tuition at home, Sergei went to France and Germany for further education. The capable young man had a perfect command of French and German, and could even write verses and prose in these languages. In addition, he was conversant with classical Greeks and Romans. As undergraduate of Gottingen University, Sergei Uvarov got acquainted with many European scholars and corresponded with them in later years. An ardent admirer of the great Goethe, the young man had the good luck to meet him now and then.
Uvarov junior began his career in 1801 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served at Russian embassies in Vienna and in Versailles. But soon, for family reasons, Uvarov had to leave his diplomatic career and return home. In 1811 he resumed public career at the Ministry of Public Education and was appointed warden (administrator) of the St. Petersburg School District. At that time he wrote and published works on classical antiquity, and took an active part in public life. Uvarov became member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences honoris causa. In 1815 he w ... Читать далее