The small village Flenovo is 20 kilometers to the south from Smolensk. The estate of Princess M. K. Tenisheva - one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the environs of Smolensk - is in this village.
Princess Tenisheva lived there at the end of 19 century – at the beginning of 20 century. She was a well-known sponsor and patron of arts of that time. A great number of art people of various schools came to her in the Flenovo estate. And it was not only the masters of folk crafts but also such great people as a composer Igor Stravinsky who wrote the music for his famous ballet «The Rite of Spring» just in the estate.
Princess Tenisheva collected a lot of items of Russian folk art. But the main thing it that in the estate she managed to create the bright examples of the New Russian style embodied in the famous Teremok and the Church of the Holy Spirit.
Teremok is a two-floor log house in the Flenovo estate. The facades of the house are decorated by the ornamental carving based on the Russian folk tales. It was built by the project of S. V. Milyutin in 1901. Now the Teremok is occupied by the museum where one can see the articles of Talashkino masters, the watercolours of a famous painter Vrubel and the sketches of Nicholas Roerich who painted the Church of the Holy Spirit.
The Church of the Holy Spirit is on the hill in the immediate vicinity of the Teremok. It was built in 1902. The authors of the project were S. Milyutin, an antiquity expert I. Barschevskiy and Princess М. Tenisheva herself. Some think that Nicholas Roerich was the mastermind of the project of the church-pyramid, the temple of future religions. But it is known that he had visited the Flenovo estate only since 1903.
After the church was finished in 1905 Roerich began to paint the inner walls of the temple and create a large panel of smalt mosaic «The Christ not Made by Hands» above the entrance to the church. He worked there from 1908 and finished to paint the altar, as well as one of the arches above the entrance. In 1914 the painting works were stopped because of World War I. His composition «The Holy Mother on the Bank of the River of Life» didn’t correspond to the Orthodox canons so the church wasn’t consecrated and no religious services were held there.
Unfortunately, the inner paintings by Roerich didn’t survive to our days. One can see their sketches at the Teremok museum. As for the big mosaic panel «The Christ not Made by Hands», it remained intact and is considered the most prominent work of this painter.
The manorial house of the Flenovo estate didn’t survive to our time but there remained a big wooden building with columns – it is a village school built by Princess Tenisheva to teach peasant children. Today it is occupied by a museum.