Patronage is Well-known patrons. Modern patrons

Patronage is Well-known patrons. Modern patrons
Patronage is Well-known patrons. Modern patrons

Patronage… The word is not quite familiar to us. Everyone has heard it at least once in their life, but not everyone can correctly explain the essence of this term. And this is sad, because Russia has always been famous for the fact that charity and patronage were an integral part of its long-standing traditions.

What is patronage?

If you ask anyone you meet what patronage is, few people will be able to give an intelligible answer like this, right off the bat. Yes, everyone has heard of we althy people providing financial assistance to museums, orphanages, hospitals, children's sports organizations, emerging artists, musicians and poets. But is all the assistance provided philanthropy? There is also charity and sponsorship. How to distinguish these concepts from each other? This article will help to understand these difficult issues.

Patronage is a material or other gratuitous support of individuals provided to organizations, as well as representatives of culture and art.

patronage is

History of the term

The word owes its origin to a real historical person. Gaius Tsilny Maecenas - that's whose name has become a household name. A noble Roman nobleman, an ally of Emperor Octavian, became famous for helping talented poets and writers persecuted by the authorities. He saved from death the author of the immortal "Aeneid" Virgil and many other cultural figures whose lives were threatened for political reasons.

There were other patrons of art in Rome, except for Gaius Maecenas. Why exactly did his name become a household name and turned into a modern term? The fact is that all other we althy benefactors would refuse to intercede for a disgraced poet or artist because of fear of the emperor. But Guy Maecenas had a very strong influence on Octavian Augustus, and was not afraid to go against his will and desire. He saved Virgil. The poet supported the emperor's political opponents and fell out of favor because of this. And the only one who came to his aid was the Maecenas. Therefore, the name of the rest of the benefactors was lost in the centuries, and he forever remained in the memory of those whom he selflessly helped all his life.

well-known patrons

History of patronage

It is impossible to name the exact date of the appearance of patronage. The only undeniable fact is that there has always been a need for assistance to representatives of art from people endowed with power and we alth. The reasons for providing such assistance varied. Someone really loved art and sincerely tried to help poets, artists and musicians. For other rich people it was ora tribute to fashion, or a desire to show oneself as a generous giver and patron in the eyes of the rest of society. The authorities tried to provide patronage to representatives of art in order to keep them in subjection.

Thus, philanthropy appeared in the period after the emergence of the state. Both in the era of antiquity and in the Middle Ages, poets and artists were in a dependent position from representatives of the authorities. It was practically domestic slavery. This situation continued until the collapse of the feudal system.

During the period of absolute monarchy, patronage takes the form of pensions, awards, honorary titles, court positions.

Charity and patronage - is there a difference?

There is some confusion with the terminology and concepts of patronage, charity and sponsorship. All of them involve the provision of assistance, but the difference between them is still quite significant, and it would be a mistake to draw an equal sign. It is worth considering the issue of terminology in more detail. Of all three concepts, sponsorship and patronage are the most different from each other. The first term means providing assistance on certain conditions, or investing in a cause. For example, support for an artist may be subject to the creation of a portrait of the sponsor or the mention of his name in the media. Simply put, sponsorship involves receiving some kind of benefit. Patronage is a disinterested and gratuitous aid to art and culture. The philanthropist does not prioritize obtaining additional benefits for himself.

The next topic is charity. She isvery close to the concept of patronage, and the difference between them is barely noticeable. This is helping those in need, and the main motive here is compassion. The concept of charity is very broad, and philanthropy acts as its specific type.

Why do people philanthropy?

Russian philanthropists and patrons have always differed from Western ones in their approach to the issue of helping artists. If we talk about Russia, then patronage here is material support, which is provided out of a sense of compassion, a desire to help without deriving any benefit for oneself. In the West, there was a moment of benefiting from charity in the form of tax cuts or exemptions. Therefore, it is impossible to speak of complete disinterestedness here.

Why, since the 18th century, Russian philanthropists have been increasingly patronizing art and science, building libraries, museums and theaters?

The main driving force here was the following reasons - high morality, morality and religiosity of patrons. Public opinion actively supported the ideas of compassion and mercy. Proper traditions and religious education led to such a striking phenomenon in the history of Russia as the flourishing of patronage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

charity theme

Patronage in Russia. The history of the emergence and attitude of the state to this kind of activity

Charity and patronage in Russia have long and deep traditions. They are associated primarily with the time of appearance in the KyivRussia of Christianity. At that time, charity existed as a personal aid to those in need. First of all, the church was engaged in such activities, opening hospices for the elderly, the disabled and the infirm, and hospitals. The beginning of charity was laid by Prince Vladimir, who officially obliged the church and monasteries to engage in public charity.

The following rulers of Russia, eradicating professional begging, at the same time continued to take care of the truly needy. Hospitals, almshouses, orphanages for the illegitimate and the mentally ill continued to be built.

Charity in Russia has successfully developed thanks to women. Empresses Catherine I, Maria Feodorovna and Elizaveta Alekseevna were especially distinguished in helping those in need.

The history of patronage in Russia begins at the end of the 18th century, when it becomes one of the forms of charity.

The first Russian patrons of art

The first philanthropist in the history of Russia was Count Alexander Sergeevich Stroganov. One of the largest landowners in the country, the count is best known as a generous philanthropist and collector. Traveling a lot, Stroganov became interested in compiling a collection of paintings, stones and coins. The count devoted a lot of time, money and effort to the development of culture and art, provided assistance and support to such famous poets as Gavriil Derzhavin and Ivan Krylov.

charity and patronage

Until the end of his life, Count Stroganov was the permanent president of the Imperial Academy of Arts. At the same time hesupervised the Imperial Public Library and was its director. It was on his initiative that the construction of the Kazan Cathedral began with the involvement of not foreign, but Russian architects.

People like Stroganov paved the way for subsequent patrons who unselfishly and sincerely help the development of culture and art in Russia.

The famous Demidov dynasty, the founders of Russian metallurgical production, is known not only for its huge contribution to the development of the country's industry, but also for its charity. Representatives of the dynasty patronized Moscow University and founded a scholarship for students from low-income families. They opened the first commercial school for merchant children. The Demidovs constantly helped the Orphanage. At the same time they were engaged in the collection of art collections. It has become the largest private collection in the world.

Another famous patron and philanthropist of the 18th century is Count Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev. He was a true connoisseur of art, especially theatrical.

patron of the Tretyakov

At one time he was infamous for marrying his own serf, home theater actress Praskovya Zhemchugova. She died early and bequeathed to her husband not to give up the cause of charity. Count Sheremetev complied with her request. He spent part of the capital to help artisans and dowry brides. On his initiative, the construction of the Hospice House in Moscow began. He also invested in the construction of theaters and temples.

The special contribution of the merchants to the developmentpatronage

Many now have a completely wrong opinion about the Russian merchants of the XIX-XX centuries. It was formed under the influence of Soviet films and literary works, in which the aforementioned layer of society was exposed in the most unattractive way. All merchants without exception look poorly educated, focused solely on making a profit in any way by people, while completely devoid of compassion and mercy for their neighbors. This is a fundamental misconception. Of course, there are always and will be exceptions, but for the most part merchants were the most educated and informative part of the population, not counting, of course, the nobility.

But among the representatives of noble families, benefactors and patrons could be counted on the fingers. Charity in Russia is entirely the merit of the merchant class.

history of patronage in Russia

It has already been briefly mentioned above, for what reason people began to engage in patronage. For most merchants and manufacturers, charity has become almost a way of life, has become an integral character trait. The fact that many we althy merchants and bankers were descendants of the Old Believers, who were characterized by a special attitude towards money and we alth, played a role here. And the attitude of Russian entrepreneurs to their activities was somewhat different than, for example, in the West. For them, we alth is not a fetish, trade is not a source of profit, but rather a duty imposed by God.

Brought up on deep religious traditions, Russian entrepreneurs-patrons believed that we alth is given by God, which means that you need to be responsible for it. In fact, they believed that they were obliged to engage in the provision of assistance. But it wasn't coercion. Everything was done at the call of the soul.

Famous Russian patrons of the 19th century

This period is considered the heyday of charity in Russia. The rapid economic growth that had begun has contributed to the astonishing scope and generosity of the we althy.

charity in Russia

Famous patrons of the XIX-XX centuries - entirely representatives of the merchant class. The brightest representatives are Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov and his lesser-known brother Sergei Mikhailovich.

It must be said that the Tretyakov merchants did not have significant we alth. But this did not prevent them from carefully collecting paintings by famous masters, spending serious sums on them. Sergei Mikhailovich was more interested in Western European painting. After his death, the collection bequeathed to his brother was included in the collection of paintings by Pavel Mikhailovich. The art gallery that appeared in 1893 bore the name of both remarkable Russian patrons. If we talk only about the collection of paintings by Pavel Mikhailovich, then in his entire life the philanthropist Tretyakov spent about a million rubles on it. An incredible amount for those times.

Began to collect his collection of Russian painting Tretyakov in his youth. Even then, he had a well-defined goal - to open a national public gallery so that anyone could visit it for free and join the masterpieces of Russian fine art.

To the Tretyakov brothers weowe a magnificent monument to Russian patronage - the Tretyakov Gallery.

Russian patrons

Patron Tretyakov was not the only patron of art in Russia. Savva Ivanovich Mamontov, a representative of a famous dynasty, is the founder and builder of the largest railway lines in Russia. He did not strive for fame and was completely indifferent to awards. His only passion was the love of art. Savva Ivanovich himself was a deeply creative person, and entrepreneurship was very burdensome for him. According to contemporaries, he himself could become both a great opera singer (he was even offered to perform on the stage of the Italian opera house) and a sculptor.

He turned his Abramtsevo estate into a hospitable home for Russian artists. Vrubel, Repin, Vasnetsov, Serov, and also Chaliapin were constantly here. Mamontov provided financial assistance and patronage to all of them. But the philanthropist provided the greatest support to theatrical art.

Mamontov's charitable activities were considered by his relatives and business partners to be a stupid whim, but this did not stop him. At the end of his life, Savva Ivanovich was ruined and barely escaped prison. He was fully justified, but he could no longer engage in entrepreneurship. Until the end of his life, he was supported by all those whom he once selflessly helped.


Savva Timofeevich Morozov is an amazingly modest philanthropist who helped the Art Theater on the condition that his name would not bemention it in the newspapers. And other representatives of this dynasty provided invaluable assistance in the development of culture and art. Sergei Timofeevich Morozov was fond of Russian arts and crafts, the collection he collected made up the center of the Handicraft Museum in Moscow. Ivan Abramovich was the patron of the then unknown Marc Chagall.

benefactors and patrons


The revolution and subsequent events interrupted the wonderful traditions of Russian patronage. And after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a lot of time passed before new patrons of modern Russia appeared. For them patronage is a professionally organized part of the activity. Unfortunately, the topic of charity, which is becoming more and more popular in Russia from year to year, is extremely sparingly covered in the media. Only isolated cases become known to the general public, and most of the work of sponsors, patrons and charitable foundations passes by the population. If you now ask anyone you meet: "What modern patrons do you know?", it is unlikely that anyone will answer this question. Meanwhile, you need to know such people.

Among Russian entrepreneurs who are actively involved in charity, first of all, it is worth noting the president of the Interros holding, Vladimir Potanin, who in 2013 announced that he would bequeath his entire fortune to charitable purposes. This was a truly stunning statement. He founded the foundation that bears his name, which is engaged in large projects in the field of education and culture.As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hermitage, he has already donated 5 million rubles to it.

Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, one of the most influential and richest entrepreneurs in Russia, is the founder of the Volnoe Delo charitable foundation, which is financed from the personal funds of a businessman. The Fund has carried out more than 400 programs, the total budget of which amounted to almost 7 billion rubles. Deripaska's charitable organization is engaged in activities in the field of education, science and culture, and sports. The foundation also provides assistance to the Hermitage, many theaters, monasteries and educational centers throughout our country.

The role of patrons in modern Russia can be played not only by big businessmen, but also by officials and commercial structures. Charity is done by OAO Gazprom, AO Lukoil, CB Alfa Bank and many other companies and banks.

I would especially like to mention Dmitry Borisovich Zimin, the founder of Vympel-Communications OJSC. Since 2001, having achieved a steady profitability of the company, he retired and devoted himself entirely to charity. He founded the Enlightener Prize and the Dynasty Foundation. According to Zimin himself, he donated all his capital to charity for free. The foundation he created is supporting the fundamental science of Russia.

contemporary patrons

Of course, modern philanthropy has not reached the level that was observed in the "golden" years of the XIX century. Now it is fragmentary, while philanthropistsof past centuries provided systematic support to culture and science.

Does patronage in Russia have a future?

April 13 marks a wonderful holiday - the Day of the Philanthropist and Patron in Russia. The date is timed to coincide with the birthday of Gaius Maecenas, the Roman patron of poets and artists, whose name has become the common word "philanthropist". The initiator of the holiday was the Hermitage, represented by its director M. Piotrovsky. This day has also received a second name - Thank You Day. It was first noted in 2005, and I hope that it will not lose its relevance in the future.

Now there is an ambiguous attitude towards patronage. One of the main reasons for this is the ambiguous attitude towards we althy people in the current conditions of an increasingly strong stratification of society. No one disputes the fact that we alth is often acquired in ways that are not entirely acceptable to the majority of the population. But among the rich people there are those who donate millions for the development and maintenance of science and culture and other charitable purposes. And it would be great if the state took care that the names of modern Russian patrons of art become known to a wide range of the population.

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