The Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund was founded in 1996 in order to enable Russian writers, composers, architects, and visual artists to travel to Rome for periods of study and work.

In the fall of 1995 the Nobel-Prize-winning poet Joseph Brodsky approached the mayor of Rome to urge the creation of a Russian Academy. Such an academy would bring Russian artists, writers, and scholars to join their colleagues from other countries who had, for centuries, sought inspiration in that ancient city. Brodsky reminded the mayor of the strong links between pre-Revolutionary Russia and Italy: "Italian culture is indeed the mother of Russian aesthetics," he wrote, "and for seventy of this century's years this connection between the mother and her child was artificially severed." Brodsky modeled his Russian Academy on the American Academy in Rome, where on several occasions he had been fortunate to have been a resident writer and had composed some of his most important work. Like the American Academy, his Russian Academy would harbor writers, composers, architects, and visual artists for extended periods of work and study, providing them with a stimulating intellectual environment and the freedom to pursue their work, as well as access to the unparalleled cultural riches of Rome. His Academy would function independently of support from the Russian government, and would be dedicated to artistic excellence, free expression, and the open exchange of ideas.

The Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund was founded in the days after Brodsky's death by a group of his friends in order to give his vision continuing life. The creators of the Fund agreed that the first step should be to establish residency fellowships for Russian artists at sympathetic institutions. Ultimately, the Fund, in collaboration with L'Associazione Joseph Brodsky, intends to acquire its own facility in Rome in order to fully realize Brodsky's wishes.


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