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#3 2016 (52)
One of the luminaries of the Russian visual arts, “the last of the Mohicans” as he was referred to by his contemporaries in the late 1960s, Nikolai Chernyshev lived a long life filled with great events and rich in artistic impressions. The beginning of the 20th century saw him move, with his family, from a remote region of the Russian Empire to Moscow. He displayed considerable enthusiasm for drawing, submitting his sketches for the entry examinations to the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. When, to general surprise, he was accepted, he immersed himself passionately in his studies there.
THE STORY BEHIND A PAINTING
#3 2016 (52)
March 16 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alexei Mikhailovich Korin (1865-1923), the academician and professor of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA). He was destined to be an artist from early childhood: born into an old and venerable family of Palekh icon-painters, he devoted his whole life to art and left a remarkable artistic legacy.
ENGLISH POTTERY IN RUSSIA. In the 18th and 19th Centuries
#2 2016 (51)
The reign of Catherine the Great saw English faience in all its diversity take the Russian market by storm. Its attractive price, compared to porcelain, and superior artistic design made English faience extremely popular with the Russian nobility: indeed, as the natural scientist and diarist Andrei Bolotov wrote, by 1796 many had started “buying, and filling their homes with English faience crockery”. It was accepted as perfect for everyday purposes, combining quality, practicality and elegance, and by the 1830s faience was commonly found in many households. Unlike porcelain, which was reserved for special occasions, “Faience dinnerware is not a luxury: it is used every day,” the writer Yevdokim Ziablovsky wrote in his work “Russian Statistics”.
“POETS OF THE HUMAN VISAGE”: FYODOR ROKOTOV AND THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH
#2 2016 (51)
We owe this characterization, “Poets of the Human Visage”, of these two portrait-painters to the art historian Alexei Lebedev: it dates from 1945, when the Soviet researcher’s enthusiasm was encouraged by the rapid progress in building ties with the UK. His comparison of the Russian and English painters caught on, although Rokotov was never called “the Russian Gainsborough” in his lifetime. Nor had the fame that each artist enjoyed in his own land spread to the other country. At the 1862 International Exhibition in London Russian portraiture was represented by Levitsky and Borovikovsky: Rokotov was then simply forgotten in his homeland. Nor did Russians have any knowledge of the British artist: the remarkable “Portrait of a Lady in Blue” now at the Hermitage - Gainsborough’s only masterpiece in a Russian collection - was acquired as late as 1912. So what do the great Russian and British artists, so apparently different from one another, have in common?
#1 2016 (50)
In the years preceding the revolution, Alexei Shchusev worked predominantly on church architecture and made a name for himself as a professional in that field. In 1901, he was assigned, "as an addition to the existing staff", to the office of the Holy Synod's Attorney General. However, by 1910 Shchusev had already become a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts "in recognition of his artistic reputation". After the 1917 revolution, the artist accepted the new government and wrote his own chapter in the history of Russian architecture, creating many outstanding monuments.
Valentin Serov: experimenting with sculpture
#3 2015 (48)
Serov’s contribution to the art of sculpture should not be seen as the result of any serious professional application, being instead a kind of “intermission” in his hard work as a painter. Most of his “non-painterly” works seem to have appeared spontaneously: they had nothing to do with the general direction that his artistic career was taking at any point, were confined to separate periods of his career, and may be characterized as “trying his hand at sculpting”.
Valentin Serov, the teacher
#3 2015 (48)
Any discussion of Serov as a teacher ought to focus mainly on his work at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA), since it afforded the exceptional artist an opportunity to interact with talented youth and unlocked his outstanding teaching talents. Teaching at private schools from time to time, Serov understood, however, that a consistent approach to the training of the young generation could only be achieved using the solid foundations that had been formed at MSPSA over decades. Perhaps this explains why he accepted the offer of the position as a life-drawing instructor in 1897, after the school’s inspector, and then director, Alexei Lvov had spent several years trying to persuade him to take the job. That was the beginning of Serov’s nearly 12-year-long service, which left an indelible mark in the school’s history.
The History of the Tauride Palace Wall Paintings
#4 2014 (45)
GRIGORY POTEMKIN WAS THE FIRST OWNER OF THE TAURIDE PALACE IN ST. PETERSBURG, WHICH WAS BUILT IN 1783-1789 TO AN ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT BY IVAN STAROV. THE MANSION'S ORIGINAL NAME WAS THE "HORSE GUARDS HOUSE" AND IT WAS INTENDED ONLY FOR CEREMONIAL RECEPTIONS. ON APRIL 28 1791 IT WAS WHERE HIS HIGHNESS THE FIELD MARSHALL GENERAL, NOVOROSSIYSK GOVERNOR GENERAL AND CONQUEROR OF THE CRIMEA THREW A GRAND BALL IN HONOUR OF CATHERINE THE GREAT AND THE TAKLNG OF ISMAIL. IN AUGUST 1792 THE PALACE REVERTED TO THE CROWN IN REPAYMENT OF THE DEBTS OF THE SUDDENLY DECEASED PRINCE. THE FUNDS FOR FURTHER ALTERATIONS INTENDED BY POTEMKLN (FOR WHICH FYODOR VOLKOV HAD BEEN ENGAGED) AND THE PERFECTION OF THE PARK WERE NOW COMING FROM THE EMPRESS. SHE TOOK SO MUCH OF A FANCY TO THE PALACE THAT SHE MOVED INTO IT AS HER NEW RESIDENCE AS EARLY AS SEPTEMBER 1792 WITHOUT WAITING FOR CONSTRUCTION WORK TO BE COMPLETED.
#4 2014 (45)
OCTOBER 2014 WILL SEE CELEBRATIONS MARKING THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF MIKHAIL SCOTTI'S BIRTH. TODAY, THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS HARDLY AWARE OF THE ARTIST'S NAME; IN HIS LIFETIME, HOWEVER, AS A MEMBER OF THE ACADEMY OF ARTS AND PROFESSOR, SCOTTI WAS WIDELY KNOWN AND HIS WORK WAS MUCH SOUGHT AFTER. SCOTTI'S CONTEMPORARIES, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL FAMILY, ADMIRED HIS MASTERFUL WATERCOLOURS, HIS "ITALIAN-STYLE" PAINTINGS, AND HIS PORTRAITS. SCOTTI RECEIVED WELL-DESERVED RECOGNITION FOR HIS HISTORICAL PAINTINGS, TOO: RECENTLY HIS PAINTING "MININ AND POZHARSKY" (NIZHNY NOVGOROD ART MUSEUM) HAS BECOME PARTICULARLY FAMOUS.
Golovin and Diaghilev. Pro et contra
#3 2014 (44)
ON OCTOBER 2 1921 IN PETROGRAD, STRAVINSKY'S BALLET "THE FIREBIRD", DESIGNED BY ALEXANDER GOLOVIN, PREMIERED AT THE ACADEMIC THEATRE OF OpERA AND Ballet (Formerly The MARIINSKY Theatre). IT WAS The Finale OF A CONFUCT, BETWEEN The IMPERIAL THEATRES AND SERGEI DIAGHILEV'S COMPANY, WHICH HAD BEEN RUNNING THROUGH THE 1910S - A CONFRONTATION IN WHICH GOLOVIN PLAYED AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLICATED ROLE, ACTING AS DIAGHILEV'S ASSOCIATE AND, AT THE SAME TIME, CHALLENGER.
Meyerhold and Golovin
#3 2014 (44)
THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN MEYERHOLD AND GOLOVIN BEGAN IN 1908, WHEN THE DIRECTOR STARTED WORKING AT THE IMPERIAL THEATRES IN ST. PETERSBURG, AND LASTED UNTIL 1918, AND BROUGHT 20 PRODUCTIONS IN ALL TO THE STAGE. THEIR UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP BECAME POSSIBLE BECAUSE THEY HAD COMMON GOALS AND WORKED JOINTLY TO DEVELOP THEATRICAL METHODS TO ACHIEVE THEM.
"Uncork a bottle of champagne, or Read again 'The Marriage of Figaro'!" The Creative Alliance of Golovin and Stanislavsky
#3 2014 (44)
"WE'RE DELIGHTED, EXCITED, PROUD - ALL OUR THEATRE LOVES YOU, WE LOVINGLY EMBRACE YOU."2 SO READ THE TELEGRAM SENT ТО ALEXANDER GOLOVIN IN DETSKOE SELO BY KONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKY, DIRECTOR OF THE MOSCOW ART THEATRE. GOLOVIN RECEIVED SUCH TELEGRAMS AND LETTERS, FULL OF ADMIRATION AND ADORATION FOR HIS ARTISTIC TALENT, AFTER EVERY REVIEW OF HIS SKETCHES OF SETS AND COSTUMES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF BEAUMARCHAIS' COMEDY "THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, OR THE DAY OF MADNESS". AMAZINGLY, FROM 1925 TO 1930, THE PERIOD WHEN GOLOVIN WORKED FOR THE MOSCOW ART THEATRE, HE NEVER ONCE TRAVELLED TO MOSCOW, NOR DID THE THEATRE'S CHIEF DIRECTOR VISIT THE ARTIST IN HIS LENINGRAD SECLUSION.
Anastasia Dmitrieva, Maria Lipatova
Alexander Golovin's Work for the Theatre and Alexei Bakhrushin
#3 2014 (44)
ALEXANDER GOLOVIN'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE EVOLUTION OF THEATRE DESIGN WAS AS GROUND-BREAKING AS THAT OF THE IMPRESSIONISTS ТО PAINTING. IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT, EVEN DURING HIS LIFETIME, HIS WORKS WERE PROMPTLY ACQUIRED BY PRIVATE COLLECTORS AND MUSEUMS. STRICTLY SPEAKING, AN ARTIST'S WORK FOR THE THEATRE COMPRISES HIS OR HER SET AND COSTUME DESIGNS, STAGE PROPS, AS WELL PORTRAITS OF ACTORS, THEATRE COLLEAGUES, AND OTHER DETAILS. AS FOR GOLOVIN'S OEUVRE, PRACTICALLY ALL HIS WORK IS, IN FACT, THEATRE-RELATED TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, INCLUDING HIS STILL-LIFES, "IMAGINED" LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS OF FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES, AND HIS IMAGES OF "SPANISH WOMEN", OFTEN DEPICTING WOMEN WHO ACTUALLY WORKED FOR THE MARIINSKY THEATRE.
A Lady "in Disguise". Gurly Telyakovskaya and Alexander Golovin
#3 2014 (44)
IN 1898 ALEXANDER GOLOVIN MADE THE ACQUAINTANCE OF VLADIMIR ARKADIEVICH TELYAKOVSKY, WHO HAD BEEN APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF THE MOSCOW BOARD OF THE IMPERIAL THEATRES THAT YEAR. HE OFFERED GOLOVIN THE POSITION OF STAGE DESIGNER AT THE BOLSHOI THEATRE AND LATER, IN 1900, OF CHIEF CONSULTANT AT THE MARIINSKY THEATRE. THUS THE ARTIST WAS COMMISSIONED WITH A HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK DESIGNING STAGE SETS FOR BOTH MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC PRODUCTIONS IN THE CAPITAL, AND IN THE COURSE OF THIS WORK HE ACQUIRED HIS NOTION OF WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A THEATRE ARTIST.
From Biography to Hagiography. The Russian Intelligentsia in Mikhail Nesterov's Work
#2 2014 (43)
LATE IN 1901, MIKHAIL NESTEROV, THEN LIVING ALMOST ALL THE TIME IN KIEV, BEGAN WORKING ON HIS "HOLY RUS"' (1901-1905, RUSSIAN MUSEUM), WHILE IN ST. PETERSBURG THE RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL ASSEMBLIES STARTED GATHERING REGULARLY. AT THE ASSEMBLIES, MEMBERS OF THE INTELLIGENTSIA MET WITH THE SENIOR CHURCH HIERARCHS TO DISCUSS RELIGIOUS ISSUES OF PUBLIC CONCERN. THE ASSEMBLIES GATHERED IN THE SPACIOUS "SMALLER" HALL OF THE GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, LOCATED ON FONTANKA STREET, FREQUENTLY FILLING THE VENUE TO OVERFLOWING. THE ASSEMBLIES WERE INITIATED BY PROMINENT PERSONALITIES OF THE SILVER AGE, LIKE WRITERS-SYMBOLISTS INCLUDING DMITRY MEREZHKOVSKY, ZINAIDA GIPPIUS, ALEXEI REMIZOV; THE PHILOSOPHER VASILY ROZANOV, THE THEOLOGIAN VALENTIN TERNAVTSEV, AND OTHERS. AS GIPPIUS RECALLED, "THE FIRST REPORT [PREPARED BY TERNAVTSEV - O.A.] INTRODUCED... THE SUBJECT OF ALL FUTURE DISCUSSIONS: THE QUESTION OF CHRISTIANITY; OF ITS EFFECT ON HUMAN LIFEAND ON HUMAN SOCIETY. CONCURRENTLY, ANOTHER QUESTION AROSE, ABOUTTHE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (OR CHURCHES) - OF ITS PERCEPTION OF CHRISTIANITY."
Moscow and the Art of Anna Golubkina
#2 2014 (43)
MOSCOW WAS THE SECOND HOME TOWN OF ANNA GOLUBKINA: SHE WAS BORN IN ZARAISK ON JANUARY 28 1864. GOLUBKINA BECAME A MUSCOVITE IN 1889, WHEN SHE ENROLLED AT THE FINE ARTS WORKSHOP OF THE ARCHITECT ANATOLY GUNST. LATER, IN 1891-1894, SHE STUDIED AT THE MOSCOW SCHOOL OF PAINTING, SCULPTURE AND ARCHITECTURE. GOLUBKINA LIVED IN MOSCOW FOR A LONG TIME: ALTHOUGH SHE RETURNED TO ZARAISK MANY TIMES, AND MOVED TO ST. PETERSBURG TO STUDY, AND LIVED IN EUROPE FOR LONG PERIODS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, SHE ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE HER HOME IN MOSCOW - TO HAVE A STUDIO IN THE CITY, AND TO PARTICIPATE IN ITS CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES.
Anna Golubkina's Reliefs: Between Sculpture and Painting
#2 2014 (43)
THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH ANNA GOLUBKINA'S RELIEFS AS WITH HER SCULPTURES. IN FACT, OUTSIDE SPECIALIST CIRCLES, THEIR EXISTENCE IS HARDLY KNOWN. HOWEVER, IT IS CLEAR THAT GOLUBKINA'S RELIEFS, SO DIVERSE IN TERMS OF THEIR SUBJECT MATTER AND STYLE, AS WELL AS THEIR ARTISTIC GOALS AND INNOVATIVE IMPLEMENTATION, OCCUPY AN IMPORTANT PLACE IN RUSSIAN CULTURE OF THE LATE 19TH-EARLY 20TH CENTURIES. MODERN SCULPTORS HAVE DRAWN ON AND EXPANDED ON GOLUBKINA'S DISCOVERIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN BUILDING RELIEFS WIDELY AND WITHOUT RESTRAINT. ARTISTS ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED TO FOLLOW THE CLASSICAL CANONS OF RELIEF SCULPTURE UNCONDITIONALLY AND PRECISELY. NEVERTHELESS, THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THIS RUSSIAN SCULPTOR, WHO LED THE WAY TOWARDS A NEW ART THAT WOULD BE FREE FROM RIGID ACADEMIC CLICHES, HAVE YET TO BE FULLY ACKNOWLEDGED.
Symbolism and Russian Art
#2 2013 (39)
FLOURISHING IN THE LATE 19TH-EARLY 20TH CENTURIES, SYMBOLISM ASPIRED TO CONVEY IN ART INTUITIVE INSIGHTS INTO DIFFERENT REALITIES - THE REALITY OF DREAM, REVERIE, MEMORY, FAIRY TALE, LEGEND, OR THAT OF A DIFFERENT, HIGHER WORLD. THIS NEW WORLDVIEW, REPLACING POSITIVISM, BECAME ONE OF THE FEATURES OF THE CULTURAL SILVER AGE IN RUSSIA, AND EMBRACED ALL AREAS OF CREATIVE ENDEAVOUR, INCLUDING LITERATURE, RAINTING AND MUSIC RUSSIAN WRITERS AND POETS SUCH AS ALEXANDER BLOK, ANDREI BELY AND VY-ACHESLAV IVANOV, AND THE RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHERS VLADIMIR SOLOVIEV, PAVEL FLORENSKY AND SERGEI BULGAKOV BECAME EVANGELISTS AND INTERPRETERS OF THE NEW MOVEMENT: THEY PREACHED ABOUT THE MYSTICAL AND EVEN DIVINE ESSENCE OF ART WHICH WAS BOUND TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD.
“An artist with wonderful talent and comfortable means…”
#4 2012 (37)
On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fyodor Moller
Thus the engraver Fyodor Iordan described his friend Fyodor Moller (born Otto Friedrich Theodor von Möller, 1812-1874). Born into a family of Baltic German nobility and later in life a professor of St. Petersburg’s Academy of Arts, Moller lived a happy family and artistic life, gaining recognition in his lifetime, most notably for his portraits of Nikolai Gogol. Moller’s name, however, was soon almost forgotten, and today he remains little more than a link between Russian and Estonian culture. A conference devoted to the bicentenary of the artist’s birth took place in Kuressaare castle on the Estonian Island of Saaremaa in September 2012: it was there, in this small resort town, that Moller spent his summers from 1856 onwards.
Moller lived a happy life with his young wife and children on his estate, by a lake not far from the unique Kaali field of meteorite craters, creating a number of well-known paintings and giving art lessons to enthusiasts. He is buried in the Lutheran cemetery nearby.
№4 2004 (05)
LAST YEAR, THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL EXHIBITION ILJA REPIN. AUF DER SUCHE NACH RUSSLAND (ILYA REPIN. IN SEARCH OF RUSSIA) GAVE THE GERMAN PUBLIC A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY A NUMBER OF REPIN’S WORKS FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF RUSSIAN NATIONAL MUSEUMS. THE EXHIBITION INCLUDED FIVE PAINTINGS FROM THE CENTRAL STATE MUSEUM OF MODERN RUSSIAN HISTORY. AMONG THEM WAS REPIN’S UNIQUE PORTRAIT OF THE FAMOUS RUSSIAN POLITICIAN AND LAWYER ALEXANDER KERENSKY (1881–1970), LISTED IN THE MUSEUM’S MAIN INVENTORY UNDER NO. 12489/4.
№2 2004 (03)
MOSCOW, LIKE ANY OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CAPITALS, IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING ITS APPEARANCE. THE UNIQUE CHARM OF EACH AREA CHANGES AND, THE MORE TIME PASSES, THE MORE WE APPRECIATE THE EFFORTS OF PAST MASTERS TO RECORD THE MOSCOW THAT THEY SAW. GURI ZAKHAROV WAS SUCH MASTER, AND THE ARTIST LIVED A LARGE PART OF HIS LIFE IN THE CITY THAT HE SO GRACEFULLY DEPICTED. BORN IN THE SMALL AND ANCIENT RUSSIAN TOWN OF KIMRY, HE TOOK MOSCOW CLOSE TO HIS HEART, TRYING TO PORTRAY EVERY DETAIL OF THE CITY’S ENVIRONMENT, AS IF IN A HURRY TO CATCH THE ATMOSPHERE THAT PREVAILED IN THE CITY IN THE 1960s.