The State Tretyakov GalleryRussian: Gosudarstvennaya Tretyakovskaya galereya or Государственная Третьяковская галерея is one of Russia’s largest art galleries. In contrast to the Pushkin Museum of Fine ArtsRussian: Gosudarstvennyi muzey izobrazitelnykh iskusstv imeni Pushkina or Государственный музей изобразительных искусств имени Пушкина, with its extensive collection of foreign art, the Tretyakov Gallery mainly exhibits classical Russian art – paintings, sculptures, icons, and works of decorative arts and crafts dating from the 11th to the early 20th century. The Tretyakov Gallery actually consists of two separate buildings. The first, and main building, is situated in Lavrushinsky side streetRussian: Lavrushinskiy pereulok or Лаврушинский переулок, while Russian paintings dating back to the 20th century (including works by K. Malevich, M. Larionov, N. Goncharova, and others) are exhibited in a separate building, located in Krymsky ValRussian: Крымский вал (10, Krymsky Val). The Engineering BuildingRussian: Inzhenernyi korpus or Инженерный корпус of the Tretyakov Gallery located at 12, Lavrushinsky side street, also hosts interesting short-term exhibitions.
The exhibition space in the main building of the gallery is over 12,000 square metres and is divided into 62 themed halls. The collection amounts to 170,000 artworks. Masterpieces of medieval Russian icon painting as well as paintings by I. Aivazovsky, M. Vrubel, K. Bryullov, V. Vasnetsov, and dozens of works by other Russian artists are displayed here. The museum contains many world-class masterpieces such as “The TrinityRussian: Troitsa or Троица” by A. Rublev, “Appearance of Christ to the PeopleRussian: Yavlenie Khrista narodu or Явление Христа народу” by A. Ivanov, “Boyarynya MorozovaRussian: Boyarynya Morozova or Боярыня Морозова” by V. Surikov and amazing landscapes by I. Levitan and A. Kuindzhi. There are book shops and souvenir shops, cafes, and a restaurant called The Tratyakov BrothersRussian: Brat'ya Tretyakovy or Братья Третьяковы which is affiliated with the gallery.
The building in Lavrushinsky side street is located in ZamoskvorechyeRussian: Замоскворечье, one of the most beautiful historical areas of Moscow. This is one of the few areas where 18-19th century buildings are largely preserved. A short walk away from the Tretyakov Gallery is the Marfo-Mariinsky ConventRussian: Marfo-Mariinskaya obitel' or Марфо-Мариинская обитель, St. Clement the Pope ChurchRussian: Tserkov' sv.Klimenta Papy Rimskogo or Церковь св.Климента Папы Римского, and the Church of the Resurrection in Kadashevskaya SlobodaRussian: Tserkov' Voskreseniya Khristova v Kadashevskoy slobode or Церковь Воскресения Христова в Кадашевской слободе. The area around the beautiful PyatnitskayaRussian: Пятницкая street has a good selection of cafes and restaurants to cater to every taste.
The opening of the museum in the second half of the 19th century was a truly significant event in the cultural life of Russia. Thanks to the initiative of one person, Pavel Tretyakov, a museum of national art was founded. Pavel Tretyakov was not only a successful entrepreneur but also a collector with exquisite artistic taste. He was particularly interested in the work of contemporary young realist artists and provided support to them during their career. Tretyakov wrote: “I do not need glorious nature or a perfect composition, no miracles. Give me a dirty puddle, only the one that is true poetry. Poetry can be everywhere; it is the artist’s business”. Having close contact with artists, Pavel Tretyakov acquired many works by members of the Association of Itinerant Art ExhibitionsRussian: Tovarischestvo peredvizhnykh vystavok or Товарищество передвижных выставок (I. Repin, V. Surikov, A. Savrasov), some of which have become symbolic of the museum. Together with the Russian MuseumRussian: Russkiy muzey or Русский музей in Saint-Petersburg, the Tretyakov Gallery has one of the world’s two best collections of Russian art.
1904 marked an important milestone in the history of the Tretyakov Gallery, when the new facade designed by V. Vasnetsov was built in the neo-Russian style. With time, the facade has become the gallery’s icon. After the socialist revolution of 1917, the museum collections grew significantly due to the nationalization of private collections and the centralization of various museum and gallery collections. These collections have consistently been updated since that time. In 1995, the main building in Lavrushinsky side street underwent large-scale reconstruction.
THE COLLECTION AND ITS MASTERPIECES
The Tretyakov Gallery offers its visitors an excellent opportunity to see ancient Russian icon painting. The museum houses one of the best collections of orthodox icons with regard not only to the number of items but also to the quality of those displayed. Here, you can see icons dating as far back as the pre-Mongol period (11-13th centuries). The famous miraculous icon of Vladimir Mother of GodRussian: ikona «Bogomater' Vladimirskaya» or икона «Богоматерь Владимирская» is kept in St. Nicholas Church in TolmachevRussian: khram Svyatitelya Nikolaya v Tolmachakh or храм Святителя Николая в Толмачах (9, Maly Tolmachevsky side streetRussian: Malyi Tolmachyovskiy pereulok or Малый Толмачёвский переулок), which can be reached directly from the Gallery building. “The Trinity” by Andrei Rublev (late 1420s), is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery, as well as some works by Dionysiusa head of the Moscow school of icon painters at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries and Theophanes the Greeka Byzantine Greek artist and one of the greatest icon painters of Muscovite Russia. Special mention should be made of those 17th century icons which are notable for their abundance of elements, elaborate details and overall visual impression. In addition to the icons, the ancient Russian art halls also display the “Demetrius of Thessaloniki (Dmitry Solunsky)Russian: Dmitriy Solunskiy or Дмитрий Солунский” mosaic of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed MonasteryRussian: Mikhailovskiy Zlatoverkhiy monastyr', or Михайловский Златоверхий монастырь in Kiev.
In the 18th century, secular painting began to emerge in Russia. Secular oil paintings on canvas started to appear, with the portrait genre being especially popular. In the halls devoted to 18th century painting, still life and landscape artworks can be seen as well; during that period, the process of artistic genre differentiation and the formation of the hierarchy of those genres was underway. A very interesting collection of portraits from the 19th century is displayed not far from the Tretyakov Gallery in the V.A. Troponin Museum, together with the works of some other Moscow artists of his timeRussian: Muzey V.A. Tropinina i moskovskikh khudozhnikov ego vremeni or Музей В.А. Тропинина и московских художников его времени.
Most of the halls display a collection of paintings dating back to the 19th century, the heyday of the Russian school of art. The first half of the century is associated with names such as O. Kiprensky, A. Ivanov, and K. Bryullov. The Tretyakov Gallery exhibits “Appearance of Christ to the People”, Alexander Ivanov’s monumental work which took him 20 years to complete. The canvas size is 540×750 cm. A new hall was built especially for this picture in 1932 in order to extend the space to display it fully. Ivanov’s work depicts the moment of the Messiah’s arrival. The focal point for the artist is not so much Christ but rather the people who see Him. The artist has developed a story for each character in the picture and models their individual reactions to what they see before them. Another attraction of the hall exhibiting A. Ivanov’s works is a number of his sketches for the “Appearance”. The viewer can compare the sketches with the final version and see the evolution of ideas that the artist undertook in his planning.
The Tretyakov Gallery contains one of the most prominent paintings in Russian art history called ‘Bogatyristock characters in medieval East Slavic legends’. It took Victor Vasnetsov almost twenty years to paint the picture, with epic displays of legendary warriors. Researchers claim that the image of Dobrynyathe invincible bogatyr Dobrynya Nikitich in Russian folklore is the artist’s self-portrait. Ilya of Muroma folk hero of Kievan Rus', a bogatyr and a character of many bylinas In the legends, by contrast, is not a fictional character, but a real warrior from the 12th century. Indeed, he performed many feats of arms still remembered today, and, in his older years, took monastic vows in the Kiev Pechersk MonasteryRussian: Kievo-Pecherskiy monastyr' or Киево-Печерский монастырь.
‘The Apotheosis of WarRussian: Apofeoz voyny or Апофеоз войны’ is a recognized masterpiece by Vasily Vereshchagin. Influenced by a massacre in Turkestan, the artist created the painting with a pile of skulls in 1871. The artist dedicated his work to “all the great conquerors” of the past, present, and future.
As mentioned above, Pavel Tretyakov took a great interest in the Association of Itinerant Art Exhibitions, an artistic association which was set up in 1870. One of the Peredvizhniki’s teachers was Vasily Perov, whose works are exhibited in a separate hall. In the following halls, works by V. Surikov, I. Repin, I. Kramskoy and N. Ge are on display. The second half of the 19th century was a period when landscape painting became popular in Russia. The gallery contains many works in the landscape genre, particularly those by A. Savrasov, A. Kuindzhi, I. Aivazovsky, I. Levitan and others.
One of the most significant exhibits of this section is “Boyarynya Morozova” by V. Surikov. A giant painting depicts the period of religious dissentthe event of splitting of the Russian Orthodox Church into an official church and the Old Believers movement in the 17th century. It is dedicated to a famous proponent of the old beliefs – Feodosia Morozova. In 1671, boyarynyawife of a boyar, a member of the highest rank of the feudal society in Russia was arrested and sent to exile to the remote Pafnutiev-Borovsky ConventRussian: Pafnut'ev-Borovskiy monastyr' or Пафнутьев-Боровский монастырь, where she died of hunger. The painting depicts the scene of Morozova’s transportation to her place of incarceration.
Vrubel hall is both interesting and unique. Vrubel is considered to be one of the most prominent of Russian artists. The large size of the hall is immediately eye-catching; it was built specifically to accommodate the huge panel picture, “The Princess of the DreamRussian: Printsessa Greza or Принцесса Греза”. The same hall displays the artist’s other paintings, including the famous ‘Daemon SeatedRussian: Demon (sidyaschiy) or Демон (сидящий)’, his drawings, and majolica. The painting ‘The Swan PrincessRussian: Tsarevna-Lebed' or Царевна-Лебедь’ was created in 1900 and based on A. Pushkin’s ‘Tale of Tsar SaltanRussian: Skazka o tsare Saltane or Сказка о царе Салтане’ and N. Rimsky-Korsakov’s eponymous opera. Mikhail Vrubel was also the set designer for the opera. His wife, Nadezhda, sang the part of the Swan Princess in the performance. Vrubel said the following about her voice: ‘All other female singers sing like birds, Nadya sings like a human being’.
Next to the Vrubel hall is the staircase which leads you back to the ground floor where early 20th century paintings and sculptures are exhibited. The artworks are characterized by a desire to search for new forms and new solutions. Peredvizhniki’s socially-targeted art, which demanded critical consideration of social issues, was superseded by the spontaneity and ease of expression of a new generation of artists. Their love for light, life, and beauty can be clearly seen, for example, in the famous “Girl with PeachesRussian: Portret devushki s persikami or Портрет девушки с персиками” by V. Serov.
Finally, halls 49 to 54 deserve special attention, as graphics and decorative arts and crafts are exhibited here. Temporary displays change regularly in these halls, so you can discover something new each time you visit. Hall 54 contains the TreasuryRussian: Sokrovischnitsa or Сокровищница, which is a collection of articles made of precious metals and gem stones, such as icons, books, embroidery, small statues, and 12-20th century jewellery.
PAVEL TRETYAKOV (1832-1898)
The Tretyakov Gallery is closely related to Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov – one can’t be discussed without referring to the other. Tretyakov was born into a famous Moscow merchant family and was educated at home. Together with his younger brother Sergey, Tretyakov was involved in the family business, founded a linen-weaving factory and a shop. However, he considered another issue as his life’s work, namely, the creation of a museum of national art.
Tretyakov began acquiring works of art in 1856 and for this reason, 1856 is often considered the founding year of the gallery. Soon after that, the collection comprised several dozen paintings. Since 1867, Sergey and Pavel Tretyakov’s gallery in their house in Lavrushinsky side street has been open to the public. They repeatedly built extensions to house their ever-growing collection. In 1874, the paintings were transferred to a specially constructed building.
Finally, in 1892, Pavel Tretyakov offered the Moscow City DumaRussian: Moskovskaya gorodskaya duma or Московская городская дума his art collection as a gift. At that time, Tretyakov owned over 1,300 paintings and 500 graphic works as well as a collection of sculptures and icons. The collection also incorporated works by Western artists collected by Pavel’s brother Sergey, who was deceased by that time. Thus, Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov’s gallery was given to the benefit of the public. The Tretyakov brothers’ intuition and taste enabled their private collection of fine art to transform into an unfading treasury of Russian art.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com