The History of the Poltoratskiys' mansion
Mark Poltoratskiy, the founder and first director of the Imperial Capella Society, was the owner of land property located on the Fontanka River embankment. During Catherine the Great’s rule, specifically between 1790-1793, Poltoratskiy oversaw the construction of three mansions on his property.
Elizaveta Olenina, the daughter of Poltoratskiy, inherited her father’s real estate as part of her dowry, when she married A.N. Olenin, an archaeologist, director of the National Russian Library, and the President of the Russian Academy of the Arts.
Mansion 97, one of the mansions on the Fontanka River embankment, simultaneously served as Olenins' residence and property, in the years between 1813 and 1819. The mansion was known as the evening gathering place for the esteemed artists and intellectuals of Saint-Petersburg. Among its frequent visitors was Alexander Pushkin, who had just graduated from the prestigious Imperial Lyceum.
Mrs. Olenina had a niece by the name of Anna Kern. It was precisely during one of the intellectual gatherings that Pushkin first met Anna.
...Early spring of 1819. Olenins were hosting yet another gathering of artists and intellectuals .... Pushkin was sitting in the corner, bored by Krylov’s monotonous reciting of fables to the youth... At once, a lady entered the room, accompanied by Pushkin's acquaintance, Alexander Poltoratskiy. Pushkin noticed "a dreamy, moving languor" in her smile and eyes. "Who is that?'' - Pushkin asked. ''That is Annette Kern, my cousin,'' - Poltoratskiy replied...
The poet expressed his emotional reaction to their encounter in these famous lines:
"A wondrous moment I remember..."
The mansion that is associated with the distinguished Russian art connoisseurs and intellectuals evokes the past and conjures up images of those who were once at its heart and soul. To this day, the building is located on the Fontanka River embankment, exactly where we are standing right now.