In Tula region, on the high bank of the Oka, there is an estate of a famous Russian painter, Vasily Polenov, which is called Polenovo. The estate is surrounded by a very picturesque park.
Vasily Polenov was born in a noble family in St. Petersburg in 1844. Since childhood he studied painting under the teachers of the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1881-82, being already a famous painter, he made his first trip over the biblical places of the Middle East and brought back the sketches of his largest canvas, «Christ and the Sinner».
In 1887 Polenov first saw the Oka from the train window on the way to the Crimea. He liked the beauty of these places very much and in 1891 he acquired 80 acres of land on Borok hill near the village of Brekhovo where he laid down his house he had long dreamed of.
Polenov got money for the estate from the sale of his main work, «Christ and the Sinner». In 1887 he finished the picture and showed it at an exhibition in Petersburg. Emperor Alexander III bought this picture and gave it to the collection of the Winter Palace. Now you can see the picture at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and in Polenovo you can see a full-scale rough sketch of it.
Today at Polenovo estate you can see several expositions devoted to the painter. You should visit the Big House. The Abbey where Polenov worked is near it. A small exhibition is a half-timbered house. The boats of the home fleet were kept in the house of the Admiralty at Polenovo, and now exhibitions are also held there. All these buildings are surrounded by a large park on the high bank of the Oka.
Having been to Polenovo you should go to the village of Brekhovo, which is 5 kilometers from the estate. Polenov had a church built in the village and it is there that you can enjoy the most beautiful views of the Oka from its high bank.