all about the sins and secrets of Lily Brick

Already 43 years have passed since the death of Lily Brick. Who is she: the magic inspirer or the torturer of the great poet? What is the formula for her attractiveness, how she loved two men, made Mayakovsky suffer locked up, and how did Vladimir predict death in her dream?

Childhood and unusual talent of the girl: “She could walk naked – every part of her body was worthy of admiration”

Lilya Brik is known to all as “the muse of the Russian avant-garde”, and also as the author of memoirs, the owner of a literary and art salon and one of the most charming women of the late 20th century.

Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lily Brik

Kagan Lili Yurievna was born into a Jewish family. Her father was a lawyer, and her mother put all her efforts into raising her two daughters. She gave her heirs what she could not provide for herself – a good education.

Lily graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics of the Higher Courses for Women, studied at the Moscow Architectural Institute, and then comprehended all the subtleties of sculptural work in Munich. And throughout her life, the girl fascinated any man, and once and for all – her unusual gift!

At the same time, it was difficult to call her a beauty: she certainly did not meet the standards, and she did not particularly strive for this. It was enough for her to be herself, and her expressive eyes and sincere smile did everything for her. Here is how her sister Elsa described the girl’s appearance:

“Lily had auburn hair and round brown eyes. She had nothing to hide, she could walk naked – every part of her body was worthy of admiration. “

And the ex-wife of the girl’s third husband wrote the following about her rival:

“The first impression of Lily – why, she is ugly: a big head, stooped … But she smiled at me, her whole face flushed and lit up, and I saw a beauty in front of me – huge hazel eyes, a wonderful mouth, almond teeth … She had charm that attracts at first sight ”.

Lily Brick
Lily Brick

Already from childhood, Brick could not leave indifferent to herself not a single person of the opposite sex. Even as a child, she messed up her teacher of literature: he began to compose talented poems for his young passion, allowing them to be passed off as his own.

When the parents found out about this, they decided to send the heiress to her grandmother in Poland, but even there the baby did not calm down and turned her uncle’s head. He came to seek permission from her father for the wedding, and desperate parents immediately took their daughter to Moscow.

“Mom didn’t know a minute of peace with me and didn’t take her eyes off me,” wrote Lily.

Injuries of adolescence: illegal abortion, attempted suicide and nervous tics due to falling in love

But my mother still could not save her daughter from mistakes, and at the age of 17, Brick became pregnant from her music teacher Grigory Kerin. The pregnant woman’s parents insisted on an abortion, and since this procedure was prohibited in Russia, the operation was carried out secretly, in a railway hospital not far from Armavir.

The event left an irreparable mark on the girl – for more than a year she woke up and fell asleep with depressing thoughts. I even bought a bottle of cyanide and once drank its contents. Fortunately, earlier the mother managed to find the bottle and filled it with ordinary soda powder, thereby saving her daughter’s life.

Lily Brick 2
Lily Brick

But time passed, and Lily gradually began to recover from what had happened and again returned to romances with numerous fans. Then she even developed her own formula for attractiveness:

“We need to convince a man that he is wonderful or even brilliant, but that others do not understand this. And allow him what is not allowed at home. For example, smoking or driving wherever you want. Well, good shoes and silk underwear will do the rest. “

The love affairs did not end even after the girl was married to Osip Brik, her friend’s brother. Their story began several years before the wedding, when the girl was only 13 years old, and he was already waiting to come of age. In the life of a beauty, Osip was the first man who did not immediately reciprocate! She was so worried about this that she began to have a nervous tic and her hair began to fall out in tufts.

But when Lily Yuryevna nevertheless charmed the man, she began to cool down to him. Two years after the wedding, the girl wrote in her diary: “We physically crawled with him somehow.”

But for many more years she remained in psychological dependence on her husband. Even when I loved another, I still thought about Osip:

“I loved, love and will love him more than my brother, more than my husband, more than my son. I have not read about such love in any poetry, anywhere. I love him since childhood, he is inseparable from me. This love did not interfere with my love for Mayakovsky. “

Or did it interfere?

Marriage for three: “I took it, took my heart and just went to play – like a girl with a ball”

In July 1915 – this date is known from Mayakovsky’s autobiography, where he described all his feelings for his beloved – Vladimir met the Brik spouses. If he only knew how much pain this acquaintance would bring him!

Mayakovsky 2
Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lily Brik

At first glance, the poet fell in love, began to devote all his poems to Lily and admire her every breath. Love was mutual, but the girl was not going to divorce Osip. And there was no need – her husband was not particularly jealous of her husband, considering jealousy and possessiveness a sign of philistinism.

Three years after they met, Lilya (Mayakovsky did not perceive the foreign form of his muse’s name and called her only that way) and Volodya exchanged symbolic rings. They were engraved with the initials of lovers and the letters “L.Yu.B.”, creating an endless “LOVE”. Lilya told her sister Elsa about her betrothal:

“I told Ose that my feeling for Volodya was tested, firmly, and that I was now his wife. And Osya agrees. “

Now Kagan had two husbands. And everything would be fine, because some people are satisfied with an open relationship, and even Mayakovsky, for the sake of his beloved, would be ready, with her position, not to choose between two men, but to be close to both. But that’s just not the end of their scandalous story. As they would say now, their relationship was truly “toxic” and “abusive.”

“I came – busily, for a growl, for growth, looking, I saw just a boy. She took it, took her heart away and just went to play – like a girl with a ball, ”- this is how Vladimir Mayakovsky saw Lilya Brik.

“I loved making love to Osya. We then locked Volodya in the kitchen, and he was torn and cried “

Lilya tortured the playwright in every possible way. As she herself admitted in old age to Andrei Voznesensky, she sometimes, in spite of Mayakovsky, made love with her husband especially loudly:

“I loved making love to Osya. We then locked Volodya in the kitchen. He was eager, wanted to join us, scratched at the door and cried. “

Spouses Brik and Vladimir Mayakovsky
Spouses Brik and Vladimir Mayakovsky

At the same time, the unfortunate poet could not afford such behavior because of the boundless love for the girl. Despite an open relationship, Lilya still set boundaries for her lover, but he did not.

So, when Mayakovsky decided to marry student Natalya Bryukhanenko, Lilya immediately wrote him a tearful letter:

“Volodechka, I hear rumors that you have seriously decided to marry. Don’t do this, please! “

Vladimir Mayakovsky did not show his jealousy, and Brick, although she could not completely protect her “husband” from women, was angry at any of his relationships. For example, when in 1926 a daughter was born to a Russian émigré from Volodya, Lilya experienced this extremely difficult. And, although the skater himself did not express a special desire to participate in the life of his daughter and saw her only once, and then almost three years after birth, even this the author of the memoirs was outraged.

Mayakovsky’s daughter Patricia Thompson

Kagan decided to casually stand between father and daughter, and, overpowering jealousy in order to distract the poet from the American family, introduced him to another Russian emigrant – Tatyana Yakovleva.

Mayakovsky 3
Vladimir Mayakovsky and Tatiana Yakovleva

And Mayakovsky really fell in love with a spectacular lady and finally stopped communicating with the mother of his child and the heiress herself. True, some historians believe that he did it on purpose – ostensibly to divert the attention of the NKVD from his beloved family.

But when he had already cooled down to the family, and feelings for Tanya became more and more passionate (the man even dared to publicly read his poems dedicated to Yakovleva!), Lilya again decided to act radically. She persuaded her sister to write her a letter with the news that Tatiana was preparing for a wedding with a rich duke. Sly Lily allegedly accidentally read the letter out loud in front of her lover, crossing out the lie of Mayakovsky’s feelings for Yakovleva.

The poet called his “wife” Kisya, and she called him Puppy. Brik calmly, as if mocking, walked as and where she wanted, and Mayakovsky, with dog loyalty, walked with her until his death, not daring to have serious affairs with anyone else.

For a long time a man could not stand such a life. At the age of 36, he committed suicide. We will never know Lily’s real feelings, but judging by the diaries, she took his death quite calmly. Yes, sometimes she blamed herself for not being there on the fateful evening, but in general – life went on, there was fun, and the mourning quickly disappeared. Best of all, the situation is conveyed by Lily’s quote, said after the death of Osip, with whom she was no longer married:

“When Mayakovsky was gone, Mayakovsky was gone, and when Brik died, I died.”

Mayakovsky appeared to Lily in a dream: “You will do the same”

Already in old age, Lilya said that immediately after the suicide, Mayakovsky appeared to her in a dream.

“Volodya came, I scold him for what he did. And he puts a gun in my hand and says: “You will do the same.”

The vision turned out to be prophetic.

Mayakovsky 4
Vladimir Mayakovsky

In 1978, when Lilya was already 87 years old, she inadvertently lay down on the bed and fell off her, breaking her hip and losing the ability to move on her own. With her husband Vasily Katanyan, with whom she lived for 40 years, until her death, she moved to a dacha.

But Lily was unhappy all her life. And now she was only able to lie down and think about her misdeeds, about what is a burden. She couldn’t do that anymore. And when her husband left on business, on August 4 of the same year, for the second time in her life she attempted suicide – this time successful.

There was no funeral, there was no grave left for Lily Yuryevna – she was cremated, and her ashes were scattered. All that remains of the main thief of men’s hearts is a gravestone with the inscription “L.Yu.B.” and a suicide note.


Lily Brick’s suicide note. Text: “Vasik! I idolize you. Forgive me. And friends, I’m sorry. Lilya “.

Perhaps you will be interested in research material: “She could have had a daughter”: Lilya Brik – natural magnetism, a fatal mistake and a fatal outcome. The revelation of a numerologist “

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