Keywords: Afanasy Fet, Madonna, Raphael, sonnet, childhood experiences, cycle of poems.
For citation:

Generalova N.  P. What Raphael’s painting Afanasy Fet prayed in his childhood with (From commentary on “The Early Years of My Life”)  // Two centuries of the Russian classics, 2020, vol.  2, №  2, pp.  184–191. (In Russ.) DOI 10.22455/2686-7494-2020-2-2-184-191

Author: Generalova N.  P.
Information about the author:

Natalya P. Generalova, DSc in Philology, Leading Researcher, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nab. Makarova st. 4, 199034, St. Petersburg, Russia

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: April 11, 2020
Published: June 17, 2020
Issue: 2020 Volume 2 No. 2
Department: Russian literature XVIII and XIX centuries
Pages: 184-191
DOI: 10.22455/2686-7494-2020-2-2-184-191
UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"

Abstract: Based on the analysis of the details of the description from the childhood memoirs of Afanasy Fet whom his mother taught to pray with the image of Virgin Mary, depicted in Raphael’s paintings, the article concludes that the Shenshins had a copy of Raphael’s painting “Holy Family under an Oak Tree”. The author notes that Raphael’s art inspired Afanasy Fet throughout his life, examines the poet’s lyrical masterpieces dedicated to Virgin Mary, and comes to the conclusion that Afanasy Fet’s childhood impressions had a huge impact on his oeuvre. The article emphasises that in his early works, Afanasy Fet addresses Saint Mary intimately and confidentially, as if to a protectress close to him. The author of the article believes that Afanasy Fet’s early poems, inspired by the image of the Mother of God and written at about the same time, could have been addressed to a governess whose name remains unknown (she was expelled from the house), and the tragic outcome of the poet’s love affair could have spurred him to create a short cycle and reminded of childhood impressions from Raphael’s painting.


Bukhshtab B. Ia. A. A. Fet: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva [A. A. Fet: Essay on life and creativity]. Leningrad: Nauka Publ., 1990, 137 p. (In Russ.)

Fet A. A. Polnoe sobranie stikhotvorenii / vstupit. st., redaktsiia i primech. B. Ia. Bukhshtaba [Complete collection of poems]. Leningrad.: Sovetskii pisatel' Publ., 1937, 817 p. (In Russ.)

Fet A. A. Polnoe sobranie stikhotvorenii / vstupit. st., podgotovka teksta i primech. B. Ia. Bukhshtaba [Complete collection of poems]. Leningrad.: Sovetskii pisatel' Publ., 1959, 897 p. (In Russ.)

Fet A. А. Rannie gody moei zhizni [Early years of my life]. Moscow, t-vo tip. A. I. Mamontova Publ., 1893, 548 p. (In Russ.)

Fet A. A. Sobr. soch.: v 20 t. [Collected works in 20 vols.]. St. Petersburg, Akademicheskii proekt Publ., 2002–... (In Russ.)