(1821 – 1897)
Maikov Apollon Nikolaevich (1821 – 1897), the poet. He was born on May 23 (June 4, 2001) in Moscow to a noble family. His father was a famous artist. Childhood years have passed in the Moscow house and the estate near Moscow, which artists and writers often visited. Since childhood, art has been fascinated with painting and poetry.
From 1834 the family moved to St. Petersburg, and the further fate of Maykova is connected with the capital.
In 1837 – 41 he studied at the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg University, without leaving literary pursuits. After graduating from the university, he serves in the Ministry of Finance, but soon after receiving Nicholas 1 allowance for traveling abroad, he goes to Italy where he studies painting and poetry, then to Paris, where he listens to lectures on art and literature. He visited both Dresden and Prague.
In 1844, Maikov returned to Russia. First, he works as an assistant to the librarian at the Rumyantsev Museum, then goes to the St. Petersburg Committee of Foreign Censorship.
His first poetic collection was published in 1842 and was highly appreciated by V. Belinsky, who noted “genuine and remarkable talent”. The collection was a great success.
Impressions of the trip through Italy are expressed in Maikov’s second poetic essay “Essays on Rome” (1847).
In these years he approaches Belinsky and his entourage – Turgenev and Nekrasov, visits Fridays of M. Petrashevsky, maintains close acquaintance with F. Dostoyevsky and... A. Pleshcheyev. Although Mikekov fully shared their ideas and did not share them, they had some influence on his work. His works such as the poems “Two Fates” (1845), “Mashenka” and “The Lady” (1846), contain civil motives.
Since the 1850s, Mikey has been consistently turning to conservative positions, as evidenced in the poem “Clermont’s Cathedral” published in 1853 and published in 1858 (after a trip to Greece) cycles “Neo-political album” and “New Greek songs”. The peasant reform of 1861 was greeted with enthusiastic poems “Fields”, “Niva”. Finally opposing his understanding of art to the ideas of revolutionary democrats, he became a supporter of “art for art,” which aroused sharp criticism from M. Saltykov-Shchedrin and satirical parodies of N. Dobrolyubov.
Keen with the era of Ancient Rus and Slavic folklore, Maikov created one of the best translations of “The Lay of Igor’s Campaign.”
Based on the history of Ancient Rome, he wrote the poem Two Worlds, awarded the Pushkin Prize in 1882. If the poet was previously attracted to antiquity, now his interest shifted to Christianity as a new moral doctrine, opposed to the aesthetics of paganism.
Among the best works of Maikov belongs to his landscape lyrics: “Hay mowing”, “Under the rain”, “Swallows”, etc., characterized by sincerity and melodiousness. Many of his poems inspired composers to write romances.
A. Maikov died on March 8 (20th century) in 1897 in St. Petersburg.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.