Vladimir Mayakovsky – Soviet poet
Vladimir Mayakovsky was one of the greatest poets of the XX century. His artistic innovations strongly influenced the development of Soviet poetry. He also was a playwright, screenwriter, film director, film actor, an artist, an editor of LEF (Left Front) and New LEF magazines.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was born on July 119, 1893 in Baghdati, Georgia (later renamed Mayakovsky in his honor). His father died in 1906 and the family moved to Moscow.
As a student, Mayakovsky became an ardent revolutionary.
In 1911 he was accepted into the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. There he joined the Hylaean group of artists and poets, which was associated in the popular press with social disruption, hooliganism, and anarchist politics. During this period he published his first book of poetry, I! (1913), and became the leading figure in the avant-garde futurist movement in Russian poetry.
In 1915 his most successful book, A Cloud in Trousers was published.
Mayakovsky was an enthusiastic supporter of the Bolshevik revolution. He wrote agitational poems.
His most political poems, 150,000,000 (1919) and Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1924), became required reading for every Soviet schoolchild.
Mayakovsky traveled widely in the 1920s. He went several times to western Europe and in 1925 to America.
Vladimir Mayakovsky committed suicide on April 14, 1930 in Moscow. He was only 37 years old.
Lilya Brik and Vladimir Mayakovsky
Lilya Brik, the muse and lover of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, was the great happiness in his life, and the greatest tragedy. She became his “lady of the heart” and “queen”, had great influence on his work. It is still believed that Lilya lifted well-known poet to the top of fame.
Brik was not beautiful. Small, thin, with huge eyes, she looked like teenager. However, there was something special. She attracted men and they admired this amazing woman.
“She knew how to be sad, whimsical, feminine, proud, empty, unstable, smart and whatever” – recalled one of her contemporaries. “She is the most charming woman who knows a lot about human love and sensual love.”
By the time of the meeting with Mayakovsky, she was already married. Lilya became the wife of Osip Brik in 1912, perhaps because he was the only one who seemed indifferent to her charms. Their married life at first seemed happy. Lily, who was able to decorate any, even more than a modest way of life, was responsive and easy to talk to. Artists, poets and politicians gathered in their house.
In 1915 Lilya’s sister, Elsa, came to their house with her close friend, poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. Elsa was in love and wanted to connect her future life with Vladimir. However, Lilya ignored this fact and was very nice and cordial with the new guest. Mayakovsky liked her and on his knees asked permission to dedicate his poems to Lilechka. She celebrated the victory, and Elsa, burning with jealousy, could not find a place for herself.
A few days later Mayakovsky begged the Briks to take him “forever”, explaining his desire that he fell in love with Lilya Yurievna. She agreed and Osip had to put up with the whims of his wife. Mayakovsky moved to their house in 1918. Thus began one of the most celebrated affairs of the past century, their love triangle.
Many years later, Lilya said, “I fell in love with Volodya, as soon as he started reading his poem – A Cloud in Trousers. I fell in love with him at once and forever.”
In 1919, the Briks and Mayakovsky moved to Moscow. On the door of their apartment, they hung a sign: “The Briks. Mayakovsky.” But Lilya did not think to be faithful to the young poet. She had numerous affairs and her boyfriend more often went abroad. He spent several months in London, Berlin, and especially in Paris. Her sister Elsa lived in Paris and reported about his love affairs.
Mayakovsky always returned home with gifts for his beloved Lilya. He tried to get over the humiliation, just to be next to his beloved muse. Sometimes she acted too harshly. Many years later, she confessed: “I loved to make love with Osya. We locked Volodya in the kitchen. He was eager, wanted to join us, and cried.”
In the summer of 1922 Mayakovsky and the Briks rested at dacha near Moscow. Lilya had short-lived affair with Alexander Krasnoshchekov, who lived next to them. In the autumn of the same year Mayakovsky began to demand her breaking up with a new lover. She was offended and said that she didn’t want to see him for three months. Mayakovsky put himself “under house arrest” and as Lilechka told, they had not seen each other for three months.
In 1926, after returning from America, Vladimir said Lilya that he had affair with the Russian emigrant Ellie Jones and she became pregnant. Lilya demonstrated only indifference and composure.
The poet went mad and tried to forget Lilya, meeting with other women. Once, when he was vacationing in Yalta with another girlfriend Natalia Bryuhanenko, Lilya seriously feared for “Volodya’s love” to her. She sent a telegram to her beloved and asked him to return “to the family.” A few days later, Mayakovsky arrived in Moscow.
In the fall of 1928, he went to France, ostensibly for medical treatment. However, Lilya’s friends told her that Mayakovsky went abroad to meet with Ellie Jones and his little daughter. Lilya was worried and asked her sister, “not to lose sight of Volodya”. Elsa to pull Mayakovsky from his American lover introduced him to a young model, Russian emigrant Tatyana Yakovleva. The sisters were not mistaken. Shortly after meeting with Tatiana Mayakovsky forgot about Ellie. However, he fell in love with Yakovleva, decided to marry her and returned to Russian together. He even dedicated a poem to Yakovleva. For Lilya Brik this meant only one thing: she wasn’t Mayakovsky’s muse any longer.
In October 1929 she arranged a lavish party and invited a lot of friends. In the middle of the party Lilya allegedly accidentally spoke about her sister, from whom she recently received a letter. She decided to read the letter aloud. At the end of the message Elsa wrote that Tatiana Yakovleva was going to marry a noble and very wealthy viscount. When Mayakovsky heard the news he turned pale, stood up and left the apartment. He never realized that Tatiana was not going to marry anyone. The sisters wanted Volodya to stay with Lilya.
Six months later the Briks went to Berlin. Mayakovsky said them good bye at the train station, and a few days later Lilya and Osip got a telegram from Russia: “This morning, Vladimir committed suicide.” It was on April 14, 1930. He left a note where among other phrases were the words: “Lilya, love me.”
In the year of the poet’s death she was thirty-nine years. She lived a long and interesting life. Immediately after Mayakovsky’s death, she divorced Osip Brik and married Vitaly Primakov. When Vitaly was executed, Lilya married Vasily Katanyan, literary scholar, who studied the life and work of Vladimir Mayakovsky. Lilya and Katanyan lived together for nearly forty years.
Lilya Brik died in 1978. She died after drinking a large dose of sleeping pills.
Until the last days she didn’t take off the ring, presented by Vladimir Mayakovsky.