The Big House

The Polenov family house was designed and built by Vassily Polenov in 1890.  He inherited many talents to arts, architecture, music and education.
In Russia one can find severals examples of Polenov’s architectural gems: the churches at Abramtsevo estate, in Kologriv town, Kostroma region, and the Holy Trinity Church in Byokhovo village; his own Borok estate; and the House of Theatre Education in Moscow.

However, the true highlight of his architecture endeavours is his own Borok estate, where we see his vision and search for new aesthetics.  Polenov designed both a home for his large family and a museum space for his collections from Europe and Middle East.  We knew that he called the style of Big House as “Scandinavian”, but of course, there are many features of the French and British architecture as well.

Chronologically the Borok estate was created between Morris’s Red House (1859–1860s, architect Philip Webb) and the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony (1899), where Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, no less fascinated with the style developed by the Arts and Crafts movement, granted his architects the opportunity not only to design and build homes but also to decorate their interiors. Polenov was acquainted with the approach of Darmstadt artists at the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World Fair)  in Paris, where the interiors of several rooms were on display, and he knew about the liasons between his own artistic projects and the experiments of the German artists.

Today the Big House is listed as the national historical and architectural heritage of the 19th century. Here one can see the memorial interiors and art collections, arranged by the artist and his descendants.

It is possible to visit it only with guided tours.

View Virtual Tour of the Big House