Our Notes & References
One of the most celebrated novels in Russian, here in an attractive example of a beautiful illustrated edition, in its original illustrated binding. This lavish edition of Gogol’s most famous work is widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of Russian illustrated literature, thanks to the quality of its illustrations as well as the engaging layout of the pages.
One of most prominent (and enterprising) publishers of the late 19th century, Adolf Marks had purchased the rights to all of Gogol’s works for the substantial sum of 150,000 rubles in 1893, eight years before the end of the term of copyright protection. The preparation of this particular edition took five years, during which Marks commissioned the photography and sketching of details of peasant dwellings and provincial towns from the time of Chichikov (1820s-30s). This precious material was then given to a group of 12 artists, who created more than 350 illustrations within the text, as well as 10 heliographs with the softest tones and produced abroad. These artists included some of the great names of book illustrations, in particular Solomko, and the Samokish couple, Elena and Nikolai, who both were acclaimed artists and took part in the grandest publications of the time (such as Nikolai II’s Coronation Album just a few years earlier). The publisher paid 7,000 rubles for the rights to use the original illustrations, which finely adorn the most scholarly text then, due to N. Tikhonravov.
The collection of these illustrations was republished in 2010.