Anthroposophy in Art
An exploration of the anthroposophical movement and its existence in various Russian art forms of the 20th century.
(4) Andrei Bely

Andrei Bely, born Boris Nikolayevich Bugaev, was a Russian symbolist poet and theorist, memoirist, essayist and novelist. His father, an outstanding scientist, worked on physics and mathematics. Bely’s mother, however, was devoted to music, poetry, and the theater. Bely shared her interests. “Boris Bugaev felt he was the only link between these two different people, ” says Yekaterina Shyolokova. “This tormented him.” It could be argued that his later interest in Symbolism and Anthroposophy can be interpreted as a way of trying to link the interests of his parents: the scientific aspect of Anthroposophy for his father, and the artistic elements of Anthroposophy for his mother.

The notorious complexity of his character, for which he was often criticized in his lifetime, stems from his early years.”

Andrei Bely

In his work The Theatre and Contemporary Drama, Bely stated his belief that theater was the highest form of poetic art (symphonic music being the highest form of all art, because as pure movement it is the furthest removed from reality and the closest to the ultimate secret of being), as drama holds a transcendent, atmospheric quality. He saw the stage as an incarnation of a dream.

In the pursuit of greater knowledge of the occult, Bely traveled to Switzerland and joined Steiner’s anthroposophical society in 1914.