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Museum Collection

M.A.Sholokhov. 1964

The picture of Sholokhov standing against the background of a sunflower field was made in 1964 by Nikolay Kozlovsky.

In the memoirs of P.I.Mayatsky, which are stored in the Museum-Reserve, there is an episode described more likely referring to this snapshot. In those years Mayatsky was the First Secrerary of the Vyoshensky District Communist Party Committee and often travelled with the writer to the farms of the district. He remembers:

“In the afternoon, on one of the farms, near a wheat harvesting combine, we were met by a press photographer for the magazine “Ogonyok”, who was certainly glad with the meeting, but M.A.Sholokhov wasn’t, as he did not like posing. However the press photographer was persistent and persuaded M.A.Sholokhov to pose for the “Ogonyok”. Nearby there was a field of sunflowers… We came to the field. M.A.Sholokhov stood near a sunflower, which petals were wide open, gaining harvest richness. It was powerful and strong. Mikhail Alexandrovich smoothed out his moustache and said to the press photographer smiling:

– I suppose, you’ve put me next to the sunflower not accidentally to say later: such a flourishing sunflower and next to it Sholokhov fading and aging. I know you, you are capable of it, –Sholokhov joked.”

         And this is how this episode was described in the article of P.I.Mayatsky “Together with Sholokhov” (V.Petelin “Mikhail Sholokhov in Memoirs, Diaries, Letters and Articles of His Contemporaries. Book 2, 1941–1984”):

“…I observed, admired him, a staid, peasantly deliberate and gesture restrained, man of few words. Now he bent his head listening. Then he looked up with a smile warming up his face when talking to the combine operators. Now he grew sharp and biting talking to the head of the farm. Now, standing next to the sunflower he said looking doomed:

– Here, isn’t it?

It was the moment when the press photographer for the “Ogonyok” caught us and entreated Mikhail Alexandrovich to pose for “a single frame”. Sholokhov looked at the sunflower, smoothed up his moustache and joked:

–You want to take a picture on the contrast: what an efflorescent sunflower and Sholokhov, fading and aging, next to it. I know you.

On the same days we travelled to the collective farm named after him. Seeing Mikhail Alexandrovich the people greeted him. He did not want to tear them from their teamwork…”

 

Nataliya Blagodarova