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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

First Person

Tatyana Gorbachyova, 73, custodian at the Tretyakov Gallery:

"I've already worked here 11 years. You spend a whole month in one room. You can't get bored; you can look at Vrubel endlessly.

"We have to keep the hall in order. Visitors should look at the pictures carefully, not touching them, not eating or drinking.

"Once two young girls and a boy were looking at a picture, and one of the girls touched it very gently with her hand. I told her that her finger should be farther away. And then they went to look in a different hall, and the boy did the same. I said to them, 'What, do I have to tell you off in every hall?' He said I should mind my own business, and I said this was my job. I reminded him he was in the Tretyakov Gallery.

"[Konstantin] Korovin and [Valentin] Serov are my favorite artists. When we look at their paintings, we forget about unpleasantness. We understand that life is wonderful, if truly there are such places, if there are such artists.

"There's a belief that if a pregnant woman looks at something beautiful, the child will be beautiful. Especially in spring, we get a lot of pregnant women with their other halves looking at paintings.

"When you look at beauty, like art, you become involuntarily better. You can't be mean, you can't cheat, you can't swear. I think that the more beautiful the surroundings are, the better people are.

"I work 15 or 16 days a month, and earn 4,000 to 5,000 rubles. With my pension, I get about 9,500 rubles a month. I never married.

"I was born in Zhizdra, in the Kaluga region. During the war, it was occupied and destroyed. My home doesn't exist anymore, but I go back at least once a year to visit my father's grave. He died of tuberculosis before the war. I had two brothers who also died of tuberculosis.

"I'm a chemist by education -- I worked in a lightbulb factory near Elektrozavodskaya metro station. I was in a lab with a microscope that could magnify 140 times. They gave us defective products. For example, the coil in a bulb should work 1,000 hours, but after 100 hours it burns out. We would look at it under the microscope -- our job was to find the reason. I worked there all the years except those I've worked here.

"There was one time, when the factory fell into decline and my pension was small, that I feared the future. But when they took me here, I became younger. It's a guarantee I won't disappear."