Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities. Moscow is the major political, economic and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city on the European continent. By broader definitions, Moscow is among the world's largest cities, being the 14th largest metro area, the 18th largest agglomeration, the 14th largest urban area, the 11th largest by population within city limits worldwide. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the coldest megacity on Earth.
It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometers, resulting in Moscow becoming the largest city on the European continent by area. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it Europe's most populated inland city; the city is well known for its architecture its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its colorful architectural style. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012; the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation.
Moscow is a seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress, today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament sit in the city. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums and political institutions and theatres; the city is served by a transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground rapid transit systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, the fourth-largest in the world and largest outside Asia in terms of passenger numbers, the busiest in Europe. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations. Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome, the Whitestone One, the First Throne, the Forty Soroks.
Moscow is one of the twelve Hero Cities. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" for male or "москвичка" for female, rendered in English as Muscovite; the name "Moscow" is abbreviated "MSK". The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. There have been proposed several theories of the origin of the name of the river. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who were among the several Early Eastern Slavic tribes which inhabited the area, called the river Mustajoki, it has been suggested. The most linguistically well grounded and accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg- from the Proto-Indo-European *meu- "wet", so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh, its cognates include Russian: музга, muzga "pool, puddle", Lithuanian: mazgoti and Latvian: mazgāt "to wash", Sanskrit: májjati "to drown", Latin: mergō "to dip, immerse". In many Slavic countries Moskov is a surname, most common in Bulgaria, Russia and North Macedonia. There exist as well similar place names in Poland like Mozgawa.
The original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. As with other nouns of that declension, it had been undergoing a morphological transformation at the early stage of the development of the language, as a result the first written mentions in the 12th century were Московь, Moskovĭ, Москви, Moskvi, Москвe/Москвѣ, Moskve/Moskvě. From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, a result of morphological generalisation with the numerous Slavic ā-stem nouns. However, the form Moskovĭ has left some traces in many other languages, such as English: Moscow, German: Moskau, French: Moscou, Georgian: მოსკოვი, Latvian: Maskava, Ottoman Turkish: Moskov, Tatar: Мәскәү, Mäskäw, Kazakh: Мәскеу, Mäskew, Chuvash: Мускав, etc. In a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed it became a collo
Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy
Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy referred to as A. K. Tolstoy, was a Russian poet and playwright, considered to be the most important nineteenth-century Russian historical dramatist on the strength of his dramatic trilogy The Death of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich, Tsar Boris, he gained fame for his satirical works, published under his own name and under the collaborational pen name of Kozma Prutkov. His fictional works include the novella The Family of the Vourdalak, The Vampire, the historical novel Prince Serebrenni. Aleksey was a member of the Tolstoy family, a second cousin of Leo Tolstoy. Due to his mother's closeness with the court of the Tsar, Aleksey was admitted to the future Alexander II's childhood entourage and became "a comrade in games" for the young Crown Prince; as a young man Tolstoy traveled including trips to Italy and Germany, where he met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Tolstoy began his education at home under the tutelage of his uncle the writer Antony Pogorelsky, under whose influence he first became interested in writing poetry, a number of other teachers.
In 1834 Tolstoy enrolled in the Moscow Foreign Ministry State Archive as a student. In December 1835 he completed exams at the University of Moscow. Throughout the 1840s Tolstoy led a busy high society life, full of pleasure trips, salon parties and balls, hunting sprees and fleeting romances, he spent many years in state service as a bureaucrat and diplomat. In 1856, on the day of his Coronation, Alexander II appointed Tolstoy one of his personal aide-de-adjutants. Tolstoy served as an infantry major in the Crimean War, he left state service in the early 1860s to pursue his literary career. He died in 1875 of a self-administered lethal dose of morphine at his Krasny Rog estate in the Chernigov Governorate. Alexey Konstantinovich Tolstoy was born in Saint Petersburg to the famed family of Tolstoy, his father, Count Konstantin Petrovich Tolstoy, a son of the army general, was a Russian state assignation bank councilor. His mother, Anna Alekseyevna Perovskaya, was an illegitimate daughter of Count Aleksey Kirillovich Razumovsky, an heir of the legendary Ukrainian hetman Alexey Razumovsky.
A. K. Tolstoy's uncle was Fyodor Tolstoy, his uncle on his mother's side was Aleksey Perovsky, an author known under the pen name of Antony Pogorelsky. Aleksey Konstantinovich was a second cousin of Leo Tolstoy. Konstantin Tolstoy and Anna Perovskaya's marriage was short-lived. With her six weeks old son, Anna moved first to her own Blistava estate in Chernigov Governorate to Krasny Rog, an estate belonging to her brother Aleksey Perovsky, who became Aleksey Konstantinovich's tutor and a long-time companion. Common knowledge has it that Pogorelsky's famous fantasy fairytale The Black Chicken or The People of the Underground was premiered at home, his young nephew being the only member of Pogorelsky's audience, it was under the latter's influence that Aleksey started to write poetry, as early as 1823, inspired by some old books he found at home. Aleksey had good teachers and at the age of six he fluently spoke French and English, he learned Italian as well. As for the Tolstoys, Anna Perovskaya stopped seeing them altogether, only sending them postcards on major dates and holidays.
Remembering those happy years, Aleksey wrote: I was brought up by Aleksey Perovsky… I spent the first years of my life at his estate and, why I regard Malorossia as my true homeland. My childhood, happy, left me the most cloudless memories. My mother's only child, without any friends to play with but endowed with a lively imagination, from an early age I was a dreamer, a quality which soon transformed into distinct poetic inclinations. In many ways the local surroundings were conducive to that: the air itself, the huge forests I fell passionately in love with, all this impressed me so much as to form my present character. In early 1826 Anna Perovskaya returned to Saint Petersburg with her son. Here, due to his mother's closeness with the court of the Tsar, Aleksey was admitted to the future Tsar Alexander II's childhood entourage and in August became what was termed "a comrade in games" for the young Crown Prince. Aleksey's duties were not many: he had to visit the Crown Prince in Saint Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo, take walks with him on Yelagin Island and participate in games, many of which were, in effect, small scale military exercises.
They became this friendship lasted for several decades, ending in the mid-1860s. In autumn of 1826 Aleksey met Aleksander Pushkin for the first time. In summer 1827 the family visited Germany; the great man greeted the boy warmly and left him a fragment of a mammoth tusk with his own drawing on it, for a present. Aleksey, having been awe-stricken, remembered little: "Only his magnificent features and the way he took me upon his lap," according to his autobiography; the family spent the next ten years in continuous travel, both in Russia and abroad. An 1831 trip to Italy impressed the 13-year-old. "Back in Russia I fell into a deep nostalgic depression, longing for Italy which felt like a real motherland.
Ivan Aleksandrovich Fomin was a Russian architect and educator. He began his career in 1899 in Moscow. After relocating to Saint Petersburg in 1905, he became an established master of the Neoclassical Revival movement. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 Fomin developed a Soviet adaptation of Neoclassicism and became one of the key contributors to an early phase of Stalinist architecture known as postconstructivism. Born in Oryol, Fomin received a classical education at a high school in Riga, studied mathematics at the Moscow University. In 1894, he joined the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg but was expelled in 1896 for political activities. After a year of studies in France, Fomin settled in Moscow and passed the tests for a contractor’s license, he worked for two leading masters of Art Nouveau. Schechtel assigned him to Moscow Art Theatre project, which exposed Fomin to the public and brought him his first own commissions; this section is based on "Architecture of Moscow Moderne" by M. V. NaschokinaFomin's early style was related to Schekhtel's and Austrian Jugendstil.
His first and most notable work was the Wilhelmina Reck mansion in Skatertny Lane. The building is loosely modeled after the Elvira Studio by August Endell; the same floral motifs were used in the iron gates. The building still stands, albeit rebuilt beyond recognition. Fomin continued working for the Reck family. In 1902-1903, he organized the "Exhibition of Art and Architecture of New Style", showcasing his works in interior design. Fomin contracted top-level furniture makers and ceramic plants for his own designs, but displayed works by guests like Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Koloman Moser and Russian artists. Fomin established himself as a promoter of Art Nouveau. However, his attempts to forge the new Architectural Society failed. In 1902, he set up the Construction College in Moscow, with a separate class for women. Fomin did not have an architect's license yet, he returned to St. Petersburg in 1905 and completed Leon Benois' course at the Academy of Arts in 1909, winning a one-year study tour to Greece and Italy.
At this time, Neoclassical Revival became the leading style in St. Petersburg, the most technologically advanced. Banks and department stores, who favored the style, could afford a steel frame and concrete slab floors. A combination of money and technology allowed the mix of classical columns and arches with large glass surfaces. Fomin's turn to Neoclassicism is traced to 1903, when he applied to the contest for Count Volkonsky estate with a neoclassical draft. In 1904, Fomin published his Revival Manifesto in Mir Iskusstva magazine, pledging to architectural legacy of Catherine and Alexander I. "These days, everyone wants to be individual, to invent his own, in the end we cannot see neither a dominant style, nor a trace of those who can create it". Fomin believed in a universal idea uniting everyone, in an architectural style that could serve it, he promoted the Academy's exhibitions in "History of Russian Art" and "History of Architecture", as vigorously as he did his Art Nouveau shows. Fomin was an outspoken advocate for building preservation, leading a campaign against the conversion of historical mansions into rental apartment buildings.
Fomin completed numerous interior renovations, two new buildings. His greatest urban projects of this time, interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, didn’t materialize in full. Novy Peterburg was a huge Palladian fantasy. In 1911, a British investment company launched a development project on a 1 square kilometer lot in the western Goloday Island, awarding general planning to Fomin. Building design was split between Fyodor Lidval. Fomin wanted to recreate the monumental imperial classics in a middle class community. Only a fraction of his plan materialized before World War I. One building, a school on Kakhovsky Street, stands today. In 1918, Fyodor Lidval left for Sweden. Fomin stayed in St. Petersburg; the Russian Civil War stopped all new construction. Fomin managed to secure the chair of Petrograd Zoning commission, designed the Field of Mars landscape. Fomin trained a new generation of architects at VKhUTEMAS/VKhuTEIN, at the same time developing his own concept of proletarian classicism, he asserted that a universal architecture must borrow essential principles from classicism, but the details of classicism are not important.
As a result, the new architectural order can be simplified to a laconic set of basic elements, not bound by strict proportions. In practice, like all theories, it could not help mediocre imitators. In 1929, Fomin relocated to Moscow. There, he completed the Dynamo building, an experiment halfway between modern art and his own neoclassicism; the building, using steel frame and concrete slab floors, looks like an industrial object, but the paired columns, Fomin's trademark, give away its classical origin. In 1933, when all Moscow architects were assigned to 20 Mossovet workshops, Fomin is appointed to lead Design Workshop No.3. Here, he designed his three last projects. According to Selim Khan-Magomedov, Fomin was one of the two forerunners of so-called postconstructivism, an early stage of Stalinist architecture (the other was Ily
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking; the play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded public performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the year's calendar; the play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio. Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria and she comes ashore with the help of a Captain, she has lost contact with her twin brother, whom she believes to be drowned, with the aid of the Captain, she disguises herself as a young man under the name Cesario, enters the service of Duke Orsino.
Duke Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with Olivia, mourning the recent deaths of her father and brother. She refuses to see entertainments, be in the company of men, or accept love or marriage proposals from anyone, the Duke included, until seven years have passed. Duke Orsino uses'Cesario' as an intermediary to profess his passionate love before Olivia. Olivia, falls in love with'Cesario', setting her at odds with her professed duty. In the meantime, Viola has fallen in love with the Duke Orsino, creating a love triangle: Viola loves Duke Orsino, Duke Orsino loves Olivia, Olivia loves Viola disguised as Cesario. In the comic subplot, several characters conspire to make Olivia's pompous steward, believe that Olivia has fallen for him; this involves Sir Toby Belch. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage themselves in drinking and revelry, thus disturbing the peace of Olivia's household until late into the night, prompting Malvolio to chastise them. Sir Toby famously retorts, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?".
Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria plan revenge on Malvolio. They convince Malvolio that Olivia is secretly in love with him by planting a love letter, written by Maria in Olivia's handwriting, it asks Malvolio to wear yellow stockings cross-gartered, to be rude to the rest of the servants, to smile in the presence of Olivia. Malvolio reacts in surprised delight, he starts acting out the contents of the letter to show Olivia his positive response. Olivia is shocked by the changes in Malvolio and agreeing that he seems mad, leaves him to be cared for by his tormentors. Pretending that Malvolio is insane, they lock him up in a dark chamber. Feste visits him to mock his insanity, both disguised as himself. Meanwhile, Viola's twin, has been rescued by Antonio, a sea captain who fought against Orsino, yet who accompanies Sebastian to Illyria, despite the danger, because of his affection for Sebastian. Sebastian's appearance adds the confusion of mistaken identities to the comedy. Taking Sebastian for'Cesario', Olivia asks him to marry her, they are secretly married in a church.
When'Cesario' and Sebastian appear in the presence of both Olivia and Orsino, there is more wonder and confusion at their physical similarity. At this point, Viola is reunited with her twin brother; the play ends in a declaration of marriage between Duke Orsino and Viola, it is learned that Sir Toby has married Maria. Malvolio swears revenge on his tormentors and stalks off. Illyria, the exotic setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the play's romantic atmosphere. Illyria was an ancient region of the Western Balkans whose coast covered the coasts of modern-day Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Albania, it included the city-state of the Republic of Ragusa, proposed as the setting. Illyria may have been suggested by the Roman comedy Menaechmi, the plot of which involves twins who are mistaken for each other. Illyria is referred to as a site of pirates in Shakespeare's earlier play, Henry VI, Part 2; the names of most of the characters are Italian but some of the comic characters have English names.
Oddly, the "Illyrian" lady Olivia has Sir Toby Belch. It has been noted that the play's setting has other English allusions such as Viola's use of "Westward ho!", a typical cry of 16th century London boatmen, Antonio's recommendation to Sebastian of "The Elephant" as where it is best to lodge in Illyria. The play is believed to have drawn extensively on the Italian production Gl'ingannati, collectively written by the Accademia degli Intronati in 1531, it is conjectured that the name of its male lead, was suggested by Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, an Italian nobleman who visited London in the winter of 1600 to 1601. Another source story, "Of Apollonius and Silla", appeared in Barnabe Riche's collection, Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession conteining verie pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme, which in turn is derived from a story by Matteo Bandello."Twelfth Night" is a reference to the twelfth ni
Konstantin Sergeievich Stanislavski was a seminal Russian theatre practitioner. He was recognised as an outstanding character actor and the many productions that he directed garnered him a reputation as one of the leading theatre directors of his generation, his principal fame and influence, rests on his'system' of actor training and rehearsal technique. Stanislavski performed and directed as an amateur until the age of 33, when he co-founded the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre company with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, following a legendary 18-hour discussion, its influential tours of Europe and the US and its landmark productions of The Seagull and Hamlet established his reputation and opened new possibilities for the art of the theatre. By means of the MAT, Stanislavski was instrumental in promoting the new Russian drama of his day—principally the work of Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Mikhail Bulgakov—to audiences in Moscow and around the world, he collaborated with the director and designer Edward Gordon Craig and was formative in the development of several other major practitioners, including Vsevolod Meyerhold, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Michael Chekhov.
At the MAT's 30-year anniversary celebrations in 1928, a massive heart attack on-stage put an end to his acting career. He continued to direct and write about acting until his death a few weeks before the publication of the first volume of his life's great work, the acting manual An Actor's Work, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Lenin and was one of the first to be granted the title of People's Artist of the USSR. Stanislavski wrote that "there is nothing more tedious than an actor's biography" and that "actors should be banned from talking about themselves". At the request of a US publisher, however, he reluctantly agreed to write his autobiography, My Life in Art, though its account of his artistic development is not always accurate. Two English-language biographies have been published: David Magarshack's Stanislavsky: A Life and Jean Benedetti's Stanislavski: His Life and Art. Stanislavski subjected his acting and direction to a rigorous process of artistic self-analysis and reflection.
His'system' of acting developed out of his persistent efforts to remove the blocks that he encountered in his performances, beginning with a major crisis in 1906. He produced his early work using an external, director-centred technique that strove for an organic unity of all its elements—in each production he planned the interpretation of every role and the mise en scène in detail in advance, he introduced into the production process a period of discussion and detailed analysis of the play by the cast. Despite the success that this approach brought with his Naturalistic stagings of the plays of Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky, Stanislavski remained dissatisfied. Both his struggles with Chekhov's drama and his experiments with Symbolism encouraged a greater attention to "inner action" and a more intensive investigation of the actor's process, he began to develop the more actor-centred techniques of "psychological realism" and his focus shifted from his productions to rehearsal process and pedagogy.
He pioneered the use of theatre studios as a laboratory in which to innovate actor training and to experiment with new forms of theatre. Stanislavski organised his techniques into a coherent, systematic methodology, which built on three major strands of influence: the director-centred, unified aesthetic and disciplined, ensemble approach of the Meiningen company. The'system' cultivates what Stanislavski calls the "art of experiencing", it mobilises the actor's conscious thought and will in order to activate other, less-controllable psychological processes—such as emotional experience and subconscious behaviour—sympathetically and indirectly. In rehearsal, the actor searches for inner motives to justify action and the definition of what the character seeks to achieve at any given moment. Stanislavski's earliest reference to his'system' appears in 1909, the same year that he first incorporated it into his rehearsal process; the MAT adopted it as its official rehearsal method in 1911. Stanislavski further elaborated the'system' with a more physically grounded rehearsal process that came to be known as the "Method of Physical Action".
Minimising at-the-table discussions, he now encouraged an "active analysis", in which the sequence of dramatic situations are improvised. "The best analysis of a play", Stanislavski argued, "is to take action in the given circumstances."Just as the First Studio, led by his assistant and close friend Leopold Sulerzhitsky, had provided the forum in which he developed his initial ideas for the'system' during the 1910s, he hoped to secure his final legacy by opening another studio in 1935, in which the Method of Physical Action would be taught. The Opera-Dramatic Studio embodied the most complete implementation of the training exercises described in his manuals. Meanwhile, the transmission of his earlier work via the students of the First Studio was revolutionising acting
Henrik Johan Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright, theatre director, poet. As one of the founders of modernism in theatre, Ibsen is referred to as "the father of realism" and one of the most influential playwrights of his time, his major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, The Wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, Pillars of Society, The Lady from the Sea, The Master Builder, John Gabriel Borkman. He is the most performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare, by the early 20th century A Doll's House became the world's most performed play. Several of his dramas were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theatre was expected to model strict morals of family life and propriety. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind the façades, revealing much, disquieting to a number of his contemporaries, he had a critical eye and conducted a free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. His early poetic and cinematic play Peer Gynt, has strong surreal elements.
Ibsen is ranked as one of the most distinguished playwrights in the European tradition. Richard Hornby describes him as "a profound poetic dramatist—the best since Shakespeare", he is regarded as the most important playwright since Shakespeare. He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, James Joyce, Eugene O'Neill, Miroslav Krleža. Ibsen was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902, 1903, 1904. Ibsen wrote his plays in Danish and they were published by the Danish publisher Gyldendal. Although most of his plays are set in Norway—often in places reminiscent of Skien, the port town where he grew up—Ibsen lived for 27 years in Italy and Germany, visited Norway during his most productive years. Born into a merchant family connected to the patriciate of Skien, Ibsen shaped his dramas according to his family background, he was the father of Prime Minister Sigurd Ibsen. Ibsen's dramas have a strong influence upon contemporary culture.
Ibsen was born to Knud Ibsen and Marichen Altenburg, into a well-to-do merchant family, in the small port town of Skien in Telemark county, a city, noted for shipping timber. As he wrote in an 1882 letter to critic and scholar Georg Brandes, "my parents were members on both sides of the most respected families in Skien", explaining that he was related with "just about all the patrician families who dominated the place and its surroundings", mentioning the families Paus, von der Lippe and Blom. Ibsen's grandfather, ship captain Henrich Ibsen, had died at sea in 1797, Knud Ibsen was raised on the estate of ship-owner Ole Paus, after his mother Johanne, née Plesner, remarried. Knud Ibsen's half-brothers included lawyer and politician Christian Cornelius Paus and ship-owner Christopher Blom Paus, lawyer Henrik Johan Paus, who grew up with Ibsen's mother in the Altenburg home and after whom Henrik Ibsen was named. Knud Ibsen's paternal ancestors were ship captains of Danish origin, but he decided to become a merchant, had some initial success.
His marriage to Marichen Altenburg, a daughter of ship-owner Johan Andreas Altenburg and Hedevig Christine Paus, was a successful match. Theodore Jorgenson points out that "Henrik's ancestry reached back into the important Telemark family of Paus both on the father's and on the mother's side. Hedvig Paus must have been well known to the young dramatist, for she lived until 1848." Henrik Ibsen was fascinated by his parents' "strange incestuous marriage," and would treat the subject of incestuous relationships in several plays, notably his masterpiece Rosmersholm. When Henrik Ibsen was around seven years old, his father's fortunes took a significant turn for the worse, the family was forced to sell the major Altenburg building in central Skien and move permanently to their small summer house, Venstøp, outside of the city. Henrik's sister Hedvig would write about their mother: "She was a quiet, lovable woman, the soul of the house, everything to her husband and children, she sacrificed herself time again.
There was no bitterness or reproach in her." The Ibsen family moved to a city house, owned by Knud Ibsen's half-brother, wealthy banker and ship-owner Christopher Blom Paus. His father's financial ruin would have a strong influence on Ibsen's work. Ibsen would both name characters in his plays after his own family. A central theme in Ibsen's plays is the portrayal of suffering women, echoing his mother Marichen Altenburg. At fifteen, Ibsen was forced to leave school, he began writing plays. In 1846, when Ibsen was 18, he had a liaison with Else Sophie Jensdatter Birkedalen which produced a son, Hans Jacob Hendrichsen Birkdalen, whose upbringing Ibsen paid for until the boy was fourteen, though Ibsen never saw Hans Jacob. Ibsen went to Christiania intending to matriculate at the university, he soon rejected the idea (his earlier attempts at entering university were blocked as he did not pass all