Traditionally, on the eve of Christmas, special attention is paid to charity, and we decided to cover this topic in the December issue of Russian Mind.
The common word “Maecenas” is associated with the name of a wealthy Roman patrician, patron of fine arts and science, Gaius Cilnius Maecenas. Being close to the emperor Octavian Augustus, he more than once stood up for disgraced poets and artists. Thus, the Maecenas helped Virgil, who fell into disgrace, to avoid death.
Patronage has existed in Russia since the adoption of Christianity: it was at the monasteries that the first hospitals and shelters for the poor and orphans were built, but it began to develop most actively in the 18th century. Many entrepreneurs considered it their duty to do charity work, and often entire dynasties became patrons of the arts.
“My idea came at a very young age to make money so that what was acquired from society would return to society through some useful institutions…” These words belong to businessman and philanthropist Pavel Mikhaylovich Tretyakov, who gave the world his unique art gallery.
The traditions of charity, interrupted by the revolution of 1917, revived again in Russia and today they continue to develop, bringing goodness and enlightenment to people.