Реферат: The Tretyakov Gallery

A Report

“The Tretyakov Gallery”

The introduction

The TretyakovGallery in Moscow is a major world-famous collection of Russian graphic arts. Thequiet Lavrushinsky Pereulok, a by-street across the Moscow River from theKremlin, with the familiar building of the Tretyakov Gallery behind awrought-iron fence, is frequented by both Muscovites and visitors to thecapital. The Tretyakov Gallery firmly imbeds itself in the Russian’sintellectual life from their very early teens. Here, exposed to canvases byRussia’s foremost painters, people first awakened to an appreciation of art, toits message and emotional impact. The Tretyakov Gallery has become what can bedescribed as a “popular” museum, with long lines of people queuing to get in.russiansare ardent devotees of art, and Russian museums attract the world’s largestcrowds. The distinction of the Tretyakov Gallery is well known outside theRussia — foreign visitors from many countries of the world make it a point toinclude the Tretyakov Gallery into their Moscow schedule.

The basic part

The TretyakovGallery is in many ways a unique museum. Its paintings reflect the variedlife-styles and intellectual spectrum of the Russian people throughout the manycenturies of their history.

The Gallery wasfounded by Pavel Tretyakov (1839-1889), a Russian merchant and industrialist. Apatriot and patron of the arts, he conceived of Russia’s first museum ofnational Russian art back in the 1850’s. Tretyakov wrote in 1860: “Being a mansincerely and faithfully fond of the art of painting I have a lifelong wish tostart a public and easily accessible treasury of fine arts, one that will beuseful to many and enjoyable to all”. For more than thirty years Tretyakovpersistently worked to make his ambition come true. His earliest acquisition ofRussian paintings dates back to 1856, the year when the Gallery was formallyfounded, and included two paintings — a small socio-moralistic canvas in thestyle of P. Fedotov — Temptation by N. Shilder, and V. Khudyakov’s romanticizedbattle-scene Clash with Finnish Contraband Smugglers. Subsequently bothpaintings were recognized as the best accomplishments by the two mid-19th-centurypainters, who are hardly known today, but who in their own time, were the youngcollector’s peers and contemporaries. In 1892, when Pavel Tretyakov formallydonated his collection to the city of Moscow, it included about two thousandpaintings by all the noteworthy Russian artists of the 19th centuryand some of the 18th century. It was a genuine museum of nationalart, its best specimens reflecting in faithful detail both its past and itspresent.

The Museum waslaid out in a gallery specifically constructed for the purpose — a U-likestructure around the Tretyakov’s living quarters in Lavrushinsky Pereulok. Sincethe early 1870’s the museum, even then known as the Tretyakov Gallery, has beenopen to visitors, irrespective of their origin or social standing. With everypassing decade the Gallery’s fame and popularity constantly grew. UntilTretyakov’s decision in 1892 to donate his gallery to the city of Moscow wasenthusiastically welcomed by the Russian public. At the same time it wasuniversally recognized that the decision had not come as any big surprise. Tretyakov,who remained a lifetime trustee of the Gallery, indefatigably sought newadditions.

The Gallerycontinued to grow under Tretyakov’s successors. Between 1892 and 1917, when theOctober Revolution took place, the Gallery almost doubled its stock.

An importanthighlight in the pre-revolutionary history of the Gallery was the addition ofnew halls and the partial remodeling of the old ones. In 1902-04 the originalhalls built in Tretyakov’s time were complemented by his rebuilt livingquarters, while the entire set of structures received a common facade in the OldRussian style which exists even now and was designed by the artist VictorVasnetsov, a great friend and admirer of Tretyakov.

Following theOctober Revolution of 1917 the stock of the Gallery and its formal status waschanged. On June 3, 1918, Lenin signed a “Decree of the Council of People’sCommissars to Nationalize the Tretyakov Gallery" making its nationalrather than municipal property. Under Lenin’s Decree the Gallery was to bearthe name of Tretyakov, its founder.

The Galleryrapidly began to build up its stock. It was replenished by number of privatecollections and paintings from the deserted mansions and country estates. As aresult of the centralization and restructuring of museum collections of themid-20’s the Gallery came into the possession of many important works ofRussian art from the reorganized small museums such as the Rumyantsev Museum,the Ostroukhov Museum of Icons and Painting, and the Tsvetkov Gallery. Forexample, A. Ivanov’s famous painting The Appearance of Christ to the People camefrom the Rumyantsev Museum, a first rate collection of old Russian icons camefrom the Ostroukhov Museum. A large collection of Russian drawings andwatercolours came from the Tsvetkov Gallery. At the same time the TretyakovGallery parted with West-European painters’ works that had come to the Gallery fromthe collections of Tretyakov and Morozov: these paintings were made availableto the specialized museums.

As a resultbetween 1917 and the early 30’s the Tretyakov Gallery’s collection grew 4 to 5times. 50 years later, by thelate 1970’s it had tripled and amounted to 60 thousand exhibits. Now the collectionreflects the history of ethnic Russian art in all its forms — painting,sculpture and drawing. This work is about the paintings section of the collection,which traditionally remains the most comprehensive and attractive.

Let’s startwith a few samples of what can truly be regarded as a unique collection of 11th-17thcentury Russian painting. At present the collection includes over 4 thousandexhibits. It is the largest and best collection of Old Russian painting of allthe museum collections. Some of the most illustrious masterpieces include thelegendary Our Lady of Vladimir, brought to Russia from Byzantium earlyin the 12th century by Kiev princes. There is also the OldTestament Trinity by Andrei Rublev, an icon painting genius of the 15thcentury, and many other famous monuments of Old Russia, which embodied inpeculiar medieval form the notions about the world, nature, good and evil,national heroism, human wisdom and motherly love.

The collectionof Old Russian painting was started by Pavel Tretyakov himself, who owned sixtytwo icons of the 15th-17th centuries.

A no lesssignificant portion of the Gallery’s collection is represented by a repositoryof paintings of the late 18th and early 19th century,during which period Russia’s secular art emerged and blossomed. The portraitsof this period are well represented by the famous portraits — Nikitin,Antropov, Rokotov, Levitsky, Borovikovsky, Kiprensky, Tropinin, and Briullov. Broughtto us across the years, are the living faces of people of that time, with theirlife-styles, moral values, ideals and hopes. At that period the portrait hadbecome one of the leading forms in Russian art — a feature which was in fullagreement with the humanitarian principles of Russian painters, whose alwaysreflected their choice of man as the focus of their prime interest.

The Galleryalso possesses an equally comprehensive collection of Russians landscapes ofthat period, more particularly paintings by landscape masters like SemyonShchedrin, Matveyev, Alekseyev, Silvestr Shchedrin, and Lebedev. Being both Classicistand Romanticist, they were always guided by the typically Russian poeticlyricism in their interpretations of landscape imagery, where they painted thenatural beauty of their native land — exemplified by Alekseyev’s town scenes,or beautiful Italian landscapes — a requirement of the time — by SilvestrShchedrin.

The Galleryalso has a collection of 18th and early 19th-centuryhistory painting executed in the classical tradition, the leading artistictrend of the time. The works of Anton Losenko, the representative of the 18thcentury classical tradition, which revolved around historical themes, exaltlove for one’s motherland, heroism and self-sacrifice in the name of patriotism.

The TretyakovGallery brilliantly exhibits the creations of Alexander Ivanov. A few earlycanvases, a large number of sketches, and the pinnacle of the painter’screativity — the enormous painting The Appearance of Christ to the People — make up the backbone of the artist’s Gallery collection, which embraces allfacets, all hues of the creative heritage of the great master, who was able toenrich Russian painting with his incisive mentality and his noble creativespirit.

Another supremepainter of early 19th-century Russia, Karl Briullov, is representedin the Tretyakov Gallery by a large number of superlative portraits. Theyinclude Self-portrait, portraits of Strugovshchikov, and The Amazon,paintings that can unquestionably be considered as genuine masterpieces of theworld’s art of portrait painting.

The TretyakovGallery has a fairly comprehensive and admirably executed collection of thedemocratic trend in Russian painting of the early 19th centuryrepresented predominantly by Vasily Tropinin, Alexei Venetsianov and PavelFedotov. Tropinin may have been one of the first Russian painters to depict thepeople of the so-called ‘third estate’ — peasants and artisans, invariablyinfusing their images with human dignity and beauty. Venetsianov’s paintingsare tremendously attractive in their quiet poeticism. He was the first Russianartist who lovingly and competently portrayed the charm of Russian nature andthe inherent beauty of the Russian peasant woman. Fedotov showing the life ofmerchants, government officials, impoverished gentry and the military uses hisart to purify public morality and eliminate social injustice. The creativeworks by Venetsianov and Fedotov marked a decisive turn in Russian paintingtowards contemporary realism.

The TretyakovGallery’s collection of works from the second half of the 19thcentury is put mainly by Tretyakov himself. This collection includes all thefairly important masters of Russian art. However, Tretyakov himself emphasizedin his appreciation of art the newly emerging realistic trend. It was on thistrend that he counted for a hopeful future for the Russian painting school. TheGallery features a diverse collection of paintings by one of the foundingfathers of Russian critical realism, Vasily Perov. An outstanding characterpainter and portraitist, he very faithfully depicted the humiliation of theRussian peasantry in the period following the reform of 1861, when the peasantwas no longer formally a serf, but in fact did not have any land or means tobuy it. The painter portrayed the horrifying poverty and oppression of thecitizenry at the bottom of the social ladder. This trend was exemplified bysuch paintings as Lying in State, and The Last Inn at the City’s Edge.The Gallery features a well compiled collection of paintings by what were knownas “peredvizhniki", a group of painters who arranged traveling exhibitionsof their own and other’s works.

An associationfor mobile art exhibitions emerged in 1870 and for more than two and a halfdecades shaped the conceptuality of the entire Russian art. In the 1870’s andearly 1880’s the traveling painters received ideological guidance from IvanKramskoy, a renowned portrait painter, who was Tretyakov’s adviser and one ofthe topmost authorities on selecting and buying paintings for the Gallery. Kramskoy’sbest portraits, those of Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Nekrasov, MikhailSaltykov-Schedrin and others were commissioned by Tretyakov.

The painting byNikolai Gay — Peter the Great Interrogating Prince Alexei Petrovich inPeterhof — became an important landmark in the process of mastering theprinciples of realism and historical authenticity in Russian history-orientedpainting.

The outstandingbattle artist Vasily Vereshchagin depicted war as the “worst kind of atrocity",a source of barbarism, death and destruction (Apotheosis of War).

In the work ofthe traveling painters, portrait painting progressed toward a more decisiveanalysis of the model’s psychology, toward describing the many facets of hisoften controversial personality.

The second halfof the 19th century was marked by considerable successes inlandscape painting. The national motif became a dominant feature in thecreativity of all landscape painters of the time, of whom the most outstandingwere Savrasov, Vasilyev, Shishkin, Kuinji, Polenov, and Levitan, who not onlycommitted themselves to depicting natural beauty, but also to showing nature asbeing an integral part of the life of the Russian people.

The most outstandingpainters in late 19th-century Russia were Repin, Surikov, andVasnetsov. Ilya Repin is considered a sage of the large “congregation" picturedescribing everyday life (They Did Not Expect Him) as well as anoutstanding master of the psychological portrait. Vasily Surikov was aprominent painter of historic pictures — he interpreted Russian history as asequence of events in which the Russian people played an important role. VictorVasnetsov selected motifs from the treasure trove of national folklore — the charactersfrom Russian folk tales, myths and legends (Russian Legendary Heroes, Alyonushka).

The next stagein the history of Russian art is the period of the late 19th andearly 20th century (up to the year 1917) marked by the work ofoutstanding masters such as Serov, Vrubel, Korovin, Borisov-Musatov and many others,who, in their own specific way took over and developed the realistic traditionof Russian culture.

The Gallery hasa rich collection of works by the “World of Art" artists — a large groupformed in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s around the journal “World of Art"- Benois, Somov, Bakst, Grabar, Kustodiev, Malyavin. Exquisite canvases in theGallery represent the work of young “new wave” painters of the late 1900’s — 1910’s: Kuznetsov, Konchalovsky, Mashkov, and Kuprin.

The most recentand largest section of the Tretyakov Gallery’s collection of paintings isSoviet artists: Petrov-Vodkin, Grekov, Nesterov, Gerasimov, Deineka, Pimenov. TheGallery has an excellent collection of the best paintings devoted to the heroicstruggle of the Soviet people on the front lines and in the rear during the GreatPatriotic War of 1941-45. These include The Outskirts of Moscow. November,1941 by Deineka, A Letter from the Front by Laktionov, and TheEnd by Kukryniksy.

The Conclusion

The time runswith a huge velocity. One hundred and fifty years passed over for the TretyakovGallery. It has absorbed the calm of 18th, the refinement of 19th,and the unrest of 20th century after this time. Nowadays the spiritof all these events gives us the Gallery. We are grown up and educated on this;it is our property and pride.


1. Буганов В.И. История России: Учеб. Для 10 кл / Часть 1. — М.: Просвещение,2002.

2. Буганов В.И. История России: Учеб. Для 10 кл / Часть 2. — М.: Просвещение,2002.

3. Шканов Л.В. Государственная Третьяковская галерея. — М.: Изобразительноеискусство, 1987. — 216 с.

4.  Beth Ivory. The Russian museums. Painting. Aurora Art Publishers. Leningrad,1979.

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