ICON OF THE HOLY TRINITY
The ancient period of Russian art is represented at the Gallery with works of Russian icon painters. The most celebrated icon in the collection is the Icon of the Holy Trinity – a work of genius Russian painter Andrey Rublyov of early 15th century. It depicts the Holy Trinity described in the Old Testament. Here the icon painter depicted God with the image of three Angels – representing three personalities of the Universe Creator. To emphasize unity, love and harmony that embody the Three Angels, Andrey Rublyov painted them in a way that their figures form a circle in the center of the composition. Circle is the symbol of the perfection and eternity. Discover, for which church this icon was created?
GALA PORTRAYS OF RUSSIAN RULERS
Portrait was the first genre that appeared in Russia in early 18th century after Peter the Great started to send Russian artists to study in Italy. Before that, Russian artists painted icons and “parsunas” – a form of painting that lies somewhere between icons and realistic portrays. After graduating from art schools in Italy, Russian painters started to embody their mastery by painting portrays of the members of the Royal family. Our guide will show you portrays of Russian rulers painted by Ivan Nikitin, Ivan Vishnyakov and Alexei Antropov.
PORTRAY OF PUSHKIN
Orest Kiprensky – the creator of this portrait of Alexander Pushkin – is the first Russian romantic artist of the 19th century. He graduated from the Imperial Academy of Arts where he specialized in the historical painting subject. After studying in Italy, he devoted himself completely to the genre of portraiture. The “Portrait of Pushkin” is a true masterpiece of the artist and perfectly sublimes the image of the world-famous Russian poet. Everything in the image including composition, rhythm and colors serve the main idea of Kiprensky, which create a pictorial monument that glorify the genius of Alexander Pushkin. Discover, blood of which nations ran in the veins of the poet?
A work of another Russian painter Karl Bryullov – one of the brightest Russian painters of the 19th century – shows a young lady on the horse. The artist masterfully combines the traditional form of a ceremonial portrait with grandeur and ornamentation inherent to this genre. Karl Bryullov was rightfully honored with the greatest glory already during his lifetime. Tretyakov Gallery has more than 50 works painted by him, giving visitors a wonderful opportunity to view his entire genre and style diversity. Discover by whose order this painting was created and what role this person played in the life of Bryullov?
APPEARANCE OF CHRIST TO PEOPLE
The Tretyakov Gallery has the largest and most significant collection of works painted by a great Russian painter Alexander Ivanov which includes his main creation “The Appearance of Christ to the People.” This grandiose painting – 540 x 750cms – was the main and most important work of his life to which the master devoted 20 years. Through this painting he wanted to awake loft feeling and noble aspirations in the people. Ivanov was interested in spiritual rebirth of people at the appearance of Jesus Christ. So the structure of the composition is devoted to this task. In the foreground you can see the figure of John the Baptist surrounded by people. Behind the John the Baptist, there are figures of future apostles – John, Peter, Andrew and Nathanael and scribers with Pharisees in the right corner while Christ is appearing at the background. If a viewer comes nearer to the painting and stand in front of it, he will feel himself among these people on the canvas. Discover, why the painter did not finish the painting?
A WET MEADOW
Among the most prominent Russian lyric landscape painters of the 19th century Fyodor Vasilyev is one of the best known. His works have impulsive and sometimes even dramatic character. The live of this tenuous artist was very short – he died at the age of 23, but nevertheless he created several innovative masterpieces. Intense spiritual life and bright emotional background were the main factors that formed his unique early-found painting style. His great work “A Wet Meadow” written from memory in Crimea where Vasilyev spent the last years of his life – is full of poesy. Grass wet from rain, play of light and shadow, movement of clouds – makes a breathtaking impression on the viewer.
Viktor Vasnetsov is known in the history of Russian art as a “storyteller, illustrator of Russian epic stories and scenic psaltery player” – creator of numerous paintings and church murals, architect and stage designer. He exerted a great influence in the formation of the so-called neo-Russian style and enriched the art by the traditions of national folklore. National traditions and motives of folk fairy-tales found its reflection in his canvas Bogatyrs (Russian legendary warriors) depicting three main characters of Russian epic tales – Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets and Alyosha Popovitch. Three Bogatyrs embody moral ideals and the best features of the national character. In one of the Bogatyrs Vasnetsov depicted himself – discover the name of this warrior!
APOTHEOSIS OF WAR
“Apotheosis of War” – is a work of Vasily Vereshchagin – a painter of battle scenes, traveler, and a journalist who had received a worldwide recognition during his life time. In Russia, Vereshchagin is known as a reformer of the battle genre. Other painters depicted war as a triumph of military power, as a victory of the Emperor and his army. Vereshchagin showed the dark side of the war – terrible, cruel and mundane. He participated in several wars as he believed that only the one, who experienced war himself, saw real fights, experienced the danger of being injured or killed can create a true picture of war. The “Apotheosis of War” contains active protest against violence, suffering and the absurd of killing one man by another. In the center of the composition there is a pyramid made out of skulls that were previously perished in the battle. Discover, what text did the artist place on the frame of this painting?
A YOUNG LADY WITH UNFASTENED HAIR
Ivan Kramskoy – the master of this painting – was an outstanding Russian painter of the 19th century. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts and later after leaving it, he founded the Artists Workshop in St Petersburg together with other talented artists. Later on, this Workshop was transferred into the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions. Kramskoy was the head of the Association that united the best artistic forces and was independent from the Imperial Academy. The Association travelled around the country making exhibitions. The small canvas “A Young Lady with Unfastened Hair” has an unusual diagonal composition, showing a half face turn of a girl’s head. The broad painting style adds a tone of internal movement to the calm and meditative image of a young woman. Here Kramskoy pays his adoration to the young people who live on happy hopes.
MORNING OF THE EXECUTION OF THE STRETSY
Vasiliy Surikov is the greatest Russian master of historical painting of the 19th century. The artist had a talent to foretell the historical events with psychological depth enhanced by the beauty of the pictorial interpretation, typical to all his works. The canvas “Morning of the Execution of the Streltsy” was his first large historical canvas. In the painting, Surikov depicts the last moments of the Streltsy before their execution – soldiers from elite Russian troops revolted against Peter’s reforms under the guidance of Peter’s elder sister tsarevna Sofya. Painter focuses on the state of mind of the soldiers sentenced to execution. Dark colors emphasize the depth and tragedy of the moment. Surikov intentionally puts different grounds of the canvas together. The distance among Forehead place, St Basil Cathedral and Kremlin Walls was shortened to give an effect of a large vivid and moving crowd, although there are just several dozens of people in reality.
Mikhail Vrubel tops the list of the most significant masters of Russian art at the turn of the 20th century. His works are considered to be the typical examples of Symbolist painting. The artist managed to reach a great depth in his artistic endeavor, so that his works are tantamount to literature and philosophy of his time. His decorative style with sophisticated colors and focus on the planar quality is close to the Modern style that was in trend at that time. The canvas “Princes Reverie” is an illustration to the work of French writer Edmond Rostand of the same name. The canvas “Princess Reverie” has a frieze-like composition with the horizontal format and the rejection of the perspective. Discover, façade of what central Hotel in Moscow was decorated with a majolica panel with the same picture?