Prominent Russian painter Vasily Polenov designed all the buildings on his estate on the Oka River, and it’s the only Russian museum to be continuously directed by the artist’s descendants. The estate has a lovely house and museum, with acres of forests and fields for wandering. There are several hotels and guest houses nearby. This winter you can see the Prologue exhibition – about life at the estate between 1917 and 1937, when Polenov’s son and the museum’s first director were arrested during Stalin’s purges.
Polenovo, Tula region.+7 (48734) 33838. polenovo.ru
Nikola-Lenivets is located in the Kaluga region and is only accessible by car, but it’s worth the trip. Part of a natural reserve, the forests and fi elds here are dotted with site-specific land art installations, including works by Russia’s best land artist, Nikolai Polissky. Special programs are organized for New Year’s Eve and Christmas with skiing, skating, and games for adults and kids, and holiday meals made from local organic produce.
Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga region.+7 (499) 504 4333. nikola-lenivets.ru
Art getaway.Russia’s northern capital is perfect for an art getaway weekend. Start with the obvious — the Hermitage Museum, arguably the best museum in Russia, now showing a large exhibition devoted to the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. Check out the exhibition at the Faberge museum devoted to Soutine, Modigliani and other “legends of Montparnasse.” Pay a visit to the Russian Museum, which has a collection to rival the Tretyakov Gallery, as well as the Rosphoto museum, which hosts unusual exhibitions about art and photography.
The capital of Estonia is a delightful respite from Moscow’s hustle and bustle. You can easily spend a day or two exploring the well preserved medieval city center and some great examples of turn of 19th-century wooden architecture. Tallinn has a beautiful city park called Kadriorg with the Catherine I palace and Peter the Great’s house, as well as KUMU – a contemporary art museum with a great collection of Estonian art and international-level exhibitions. Stunning harbor views and island trips might make you decide to stretch your weekend into a very, very long weekend.
Yasnaya Polyana is the ancestral estate of legendary writer and thinker, Leo Tolstoy. It’s now a museum devoted to keeping everything exactly how it was in 1910, the year of the writer’s death. Tolstoy’s house is still in pristine condition, full of books and paintings. Walk through the forest to pay your respects at Tolstoy’s resting place or wander around one of the many ponds. Check the site for special conferences and events.
Yasnaya Polyana, Tula region.+7 (48751) 76125. ypmuseum.ru