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02 February 2021
Pushkin in Motion
A sketch by Evgeniya Dvoskina

Welcome to the exhibition: Pushkin and Sports

Traditionally, at the beginning of February, we organize an exhibition commemorating Russia’s number one poet Alexander Pushkin. This year, we will look at the poet from an unexpected viewpoint with a focus on sports in Pushkin’s life as a young man.

Pushkin's life appears to be an interesting hybrid of literary endeavors and athletic exercises. The poet was quite fit and sporty. However, his sister Olga remembered him as a chubby and clumsy child, taciturn and timid – until the age of seven. As he grew up, he became fond of rambling and jogging in the countryside.

As a student at the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo, he developed interest in fencing and was considered the best student of well-known fencing master Alexandre Valville. Valville taught not only fencing, but also martial culture, which he had learned in France, practiced in the Scottish Highlands, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and even acquired basic skills of African fighting with two sticks.

Pushkin was also a good horse-rider and loved horses. On the margins of his manuscripts there are a lot of sketches of horses and an ink drawing of himself on horseback. Swimming was another favourite pastime of his. From early spring to late autumn he would swim enjoying the cold water. It is known that through persistent training he achieved unprecedented skill in shooting: he could hit a card ace at a distance of 10 steps. He also did boxing, played billiards and chess.

The exhibition dedicated to sports in Pushkin’s life will display the poet’s sketches, memoirs of his contemporaries, literary and artistic publications and sports literature from the collection of the National Library, as well as rare book publications and the postcard series "Pushkin in Motion" from the private collection of Ivan Svistelnik.

The exhibition opens on 10 February, at 2 pm in the House of Friendship of the Peoples of the Komi Republic at 74 Lenin St. (2nd floor) and will run until February 19, 2021.

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