The Tretyakov Gallery
The State Tretyakov Gallery is the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world. It is located in one of the oldest directs of Moscow – Zamoskvorechye, not far from the Kremlin. The Gallery's collection consists entirely of Russian art and artists who have made à contribution to the history of Russian art or been closely connected with it. This is how it was conceived by its founder, the Moscow merchant and industrialist Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832-1898) and how it has remained to this day.
The date of its foundation is usually taken to be 1856 when the young Tretyakov first acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating à collection, which might later grow into à museum of national art. "For me, à true and ardent lover of painting, there can be no finer wish than to found à universally accessible repository of the fine arts, which will benefit many and give pleasure to all," wrote the collector in 1860, adding "I… should like to leave à national gallery, that is, à gallery with pictures by Russian artists".
The years passed and the young collector's desire was brilliantly put into practice. In 1892 Moscow, and with it the whole of Russia was presented by Tretyakov with à large and already famous gallery containing about 2,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures of genuine works of Russian art.
Nowadays, the Gallery's Collection contains more than 130 000 works of painting, sculpture and graphics, created throughout the centuries by successive generations of Russian artists.
Two separate buildings at different locations – at Lavrushinskiy Pereulok, and at Krymskiy Val, – house the works selected for display.
Russian art works, ranging in date from the 11th to the early 20th century, are on the show in Gallery's historic building on Lavrushinskiy Pereulok. Here one can see the outstanding collection of Russian Medieval icon painting, works by best-known Russian artists of the 18th – first half of the 19th century, masterpieces of national art dating to second half of the 19th century, collection of art works of the turn of the 19th century.
Gallery's complex located at Lavrushinskiy Pereulok incorporates the Engineering Building, which regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, the “Church of St. Nicholas at Tolmachi” museum, a masterpiece of 17th – 19th century architecture. The latter, contains collection of 15th – 19th century icons, and Russian national palladium – the 12th century icon of “The Virgin of Vladimir”.
New building of the Tretyakov Gallery at Krymskiy Val houses a unique museum exhibition of national 20th century art: paintings by world-known Russian avant-garde artists of the 1900s – early 1920s (Malevich, Kandinsky, Shagal, Filonov, Popova), art works featuring “socialist realism” – an official style of totalitarian state in 1930-50s, the art of avant-garde “second wave” of 1960-80s.
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