Natalia Pushkina

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Nataliya Nikolaevna Goncharova
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Наталья Гончарова, Пушкина, Ланская, Natālija Gončarova Puškina Lanskaja, Наталья Николаевна Гончарова,Nataliya Nikolaevna Pushkina-Lanskaya
Aristocrat, Nobleman, landlord
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Nataliya Nikolaevna Pushkina-Lanskaya (Russian: Наталья Николаевна Пушкина-Ланская, 8 September 1812 - 26 November 1863), (née Nataliya Nikolaevna Goncharova) (Гончарова), was the wife of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin from 1831 until his death in 1837 in a duel with Georges d'Anthès. Natalya was married to Major-General Petr Petrovich Lanskoy from 1844 until her death in 1863.


Prior to marriage

Natalya Goncharova was born on 8 September 1812 (27 August 1812 Old Style) in the Karian village in the present-day Tambov Oblast, where her family lived during the occupation of Moscow by the forces of Napoleon. Her father, Nikolay Afanasievich Goncharov, a scion of the family of paper manufacturers from Kaluga, was pronounced demented in 1815; the household was managed by his wife, Natalia Ivanovna Zagriajskaya, an imperious lady with connections within Muscovite nobility. Her ancestors included Petro Doroshenko, Hetman of Ukrainian Cossacks.

Natalie (as she was familiarly known) met Alexander Pushkin at the age of 16, when she was one of the most talked-about beauties of Moscow.

Marriage to Pushkin


Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova, 1849.


After many hesitations, Natalya eventually accepted Pushkin's proposal in April 1830, but not before she received assurances that the tsarist government had no intentions to persecute the libertine poet. They were officially engaged on 6 May 1830, and sent out wedding invitations. Due to the outbreak of cholera and other circumstances, the wedding was delayed for a year. The ceremony took place on 18 February 1831 (Old Style) in the Great Ascension Church on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street in Moscow.


Natalia Alexandrovna Pushkina, Pushkin's daughter, 1849


During the six years of their marriage, Natalya Pushkina gave birth to four children: Maria (b. 1832, suggested as a prototype of Anna Karenina), Alexander (b. 1833), Grigory (b. 1835), and Natalya (b. 1836) (who would marry into the royal House of Nassau-Weilburg to Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau and become Countess of Merenberg). As the family resided for prolonged periods in the country, while Pushkin frequented the capitals, such a lifestyle could not but occasion a sizable correspondence between the spouses. Seventy-eight letters from Pushkin to his wife are extant, frequently written in a light-hearted tone with touches of ribaldry, yet there are none of what may be called love letters among these. It is believed that the poet dedicated several poems to her, including "Madonna" (1830). As for her own correspondence with Pushkin, it was lost with the exception of one letter, written together with her mother Natalya Ivanovna.

Affair with d'Anthès

In 1835 she met a French immigrant Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès and was involved in a society intrigue, which provoked rumors of her alleged affair with d'Anthès and resulted in a duel between her husband and d'Anthès on January 27, 1837, in which Pushkin was mortally wounded. The propriety of her behaviour in this situation was disputed by commentators; some, including Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetayeva, covertly or overtly blamed Pushkin's death on her, feeling that she could not understand his greatness and failed to take an appropriate interest in his art. That she preferred worldly pleasures to his society is hard to argue with; although even while pregnant, she often had to chaperon her sisters, who otherwise had no protection, in the court to settle them. Her constant exhortations of money for costly dresses and jewellery forced the poet to write increasingly for money rather than for pleasure. However, modern research over archival materials and memoirs of that era, including those of family members who always mentioned Natalya Nikolaevna with great warmth and respect, allows for a much more sympathetic legacy. It can be said to her credit that she preserved Pushkin's letters to her (which witnesses that she indeed had a notion about the significance of Pushkin's written heritage) and later let these be published.

Second marriage and death

Much was made of her relationship with Nicholas I after the poet's death; it was even rumoured that she became his mistress. In 1843, Pushkin's widow met Petr Petrovich Lanskoy (1799-1877), who served at the same regiment as her brother. After having been blessed by the tsar, their wedding was held in Strelna on 16 July 1844. Lanskoy enjoyed the sovereign's favor and made a remarkable career before his marriage, while his wife gave birth to three daughters: Alexandra (b. 1845), Elizaveta (b. 1846) and Sophia (b. 1848). Natalya died on 26 November 1863 and her ashes were put to rest in the cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.


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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Григорий ПушкинГригорий ПушкинSon14.05.183505.07.1905
        2Aleksandrs PuškinsAleksandrs PuškinsSon18.07.183301.08.1914
        3Natalia  PouchkinaNatalia PouchkinaDaughter23.05.183614.05.1913
        4Мария ГартунгМария ГартунгDaughter19.05.183207.03.1919
        5Александра  АраповаАлександра АраповаDaughter15.05.184520.02.1919
        6Alexander PushkinAlexander PushkinHusband06.06.179910.02.1837
        7Сергей  ПушкинСергей ПушкинFather in-law03.06.177010.07.1848
        8Надежда ПушкинаНадежда ПушкинаMother in-law02.07.177529.03.1836
        9Prince Nikolaus  Wilhelm of NassauPrince Nikolaus Wilhelm of NassauSon in-law20.09.183217.09.1905
        Софья ПушкинаSister in-law06.01.180912.09.1809
        11Olga  PavlichtchevaOlga PavlichtchevaSister in-law01.12.179714.05.1868
        12Lew  PuschkinLew PuschkinBrother in-law29.04.180531.07.1852
        Николай ПушкинBrother in-law26.03.180130.07.1807
        Павел ПушкинBrother in-law16.07.181027.12.1810
        Платон ПушкинBrother in-law14.11.181718.10.1819
        Михаил ПушкинBrother in-law28.10.1811
        17Georg Nikolaus von MerenbergGeorg Nikolaus von MerenbergGrandson25.02.187131.05.1948
        18Graf Georg Nikolaus von MerenbergGraf Georg Nikolaus von MerenbergGrandson25.02.187131.05.1948
        19Sophie of MerenbergSophie of MerenbergGranddaughter01.06.186814.09.1927
        20Georg von MerenbergGeorg von MerenbergGreat grandson16.10.189711.01.1965
        21Nadejda MountbattenNadejda MountbattenGreat granddaughter28.03.189622.01.1963
        22Anastasia de TorbyAnastasia de TorbyGreat granddaughter09.09.189207.12.1977
        Елизавета ПушкинаDistant relative
        24Žoržs DantessŽoržs DantessDistant relative05.02.181202.11.1895