#3 2004 (04)
RUSSIA’S GOLDEN MAP
TYUMEN REGIONAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS MAY BE COMPARATIVELY YOUNG – IT HAS YET TO MARK ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY – BUT OFFERS VISITORS A VERSATILE AND EXCITING COLLECTION ENCOMPASSING CLASSICAL RUSSIAN AND WESTERN EUROPEAN ART, AS WELL AS WORKS BY LOCAL PAINTERS OF THE 19TH–20TH CENTURIES; TOBOLSK BONE-CARVERS AND FAMOUS TYUMEN CARPETS; THREEDIMENSIONAL CARVING WITH VEGETATION ORNAMENTS WHICH WAS SO WIDELY USED IN WOODEN BUILDINGS IN TYUMEN; AND, FINALLY, THE ART OF THE PEOPLES OF THE OB RIVER REGION IN THE FAR NORTH. ONE OF ITS MOST INTERESTING PARTS IS THE SIBERIAN ICONS SECTION.
TO THIS DAY, NINETEENTH-CENTURY RUSSIAN ART IS KNOWN TO THE WESTERN PUBLIC THROUGH SPECIFIC ARTISTS RATHER THAN CERTAIN SCHOOLS OR MAJOR EVENTS. THE SUCCESS OF THE ‘ILYA REPIN: RUSSIA’S SECRET’ EXHIBITION HELD IN THE NETHERLANDS IN 2001 ENCOURAGED ITS ORGANISERS TO CONTINUE SHOWING RUSSIAN CLASSICAL ART IN THE WEST AND TO ‘BRING VIEWERS SOMETHING IMPORTANT AND TYPICALLY RUSSIAN, YET LITTLE KNOWN TO THE WESTERN PUBLIC.’ HENCE, THE IDEA OF HOLDING AN EXHIBITION OF RUSSIAN LANDSCAPE ART. THE ORGANISERS OF THIS EXHIBITION ARE THE GRONINGEN GRONINGER MUSEUM IN THE NETHERLANDS AND THE NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON. VISITORS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADMIRE PAINTINGS FROM THE STATE TRETYAKOV GALLERY, RUSSIAN MUSEUM, NIZHNY NOVGOROD ART MUSEUM AND THE KIEV MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ART.
IN NOVEMBER 2004 THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY WILL MARK THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF FEDOR ALEXEYEV – A RENOWNED RUSSIAN LANDSCAPE PAINTER – BY HOLDING A GRAND EXHIBITION OF HIS PAINTINGS AND GRAPHIC WORKS FROM ALMOST A DOZEN MUSEUMS OF MOSCOW AND ST. PETERSBURG (INCLUDING THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY, THE STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM, THE HERMITAGE, THE STATE RUSSIAN MUSEUM), AND ALSO FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF THE VOLGOGRAD MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, AND THE NATIONAL FINE ARTS MUSEUM OF THE BELARUS REPUBLIC.
THE REIGN OF CATHERINE THE GREAT WAS BOTH GLORIOUS AND IGNOBLE: "SOME SPOKE OF THAT TIME WITH ENTHUSIASTIC ADMIRATION AND UNCRITICAL SENTIMENTALISM: A SPLENDID AGE THAT IMMORTALIZED RUSSIA’S ACHIEVEMENTS BY THE GLORY OF ITS EMPRESS, A TIME OF HEROES AND HEROIC DEEDS, AN EPOCH OF SWEEPING, UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH OF RUSSIAN CAPACITIES THAT AMAZED AND ALARMED THE WORLD", SO WROTE HISTORIAN VASILY KLYUCHEVSKY. HE IS ECHOED BY POET AND AUTHOR ALEXANDER RADISHCHEV: "OH, MEMORABLE IS THAT CENTURY! YOUR ELATED MORTALS ARE GRANTED TRUTH, FREEDOM AND LIGHT, YOUR ASCENDANT STAR BRIGHTLY BURNING FOREVER…" IRONICALLY, THE ROMANTIC RADISHCHEV WAS LATER TO SUFFER A PAINFUL DISILLUSIONMENT; MORE REALISTIC OBSERVERS WERE AWARE OF THE DETERIORATION IN PUBLIC MORALITY, WITH A RISE IN SECULARITY AND GREED.
Writing about realism in connection with contemporary Russian art is not an easy task - nor an encouraging one. On the one hand, we still remember our experience of a continuous struggle for realism, on the other, we know that today’s creative thinking is not obviously oriented towards realism. Those who have made a choice in favour of global integration into the "world artistic community", or to be exact, into the Western art-market, feel no need to speculate on the subject. Even those who make the heritage of social realism their business will – sooner or later - acknowledge that money is paid not for realism as such, but for the peculiar aesthetic phantoms involved. Any discussions on realism are based on rather an unstable theoretical background. Thus one question arises: what to discuss – something belonging to the past, museum artifacts, or the so-called "actual"? And what to analyze – traditional or living creative principles?
ART COLLECTORS AND PATRONS
SERGEI TRETYAKOV (1836–1892) WAS LESS FAMOUS AS AN ART COLLECTOR AND PUBLIC FIGURE THAN HIS OLDER BROTHER PAVEL, FOUNDER OF THE RENOWNED TRETYAKOV GALLERY. FAME IS USUALLY DISCRIMINATORY AND IS OFTEN UNJUST, AND THIS IS JUST THE CASE. WHILE PAVEL’S CONTRIBUTION IN MAKING THE TRETYA-KOV BROTHERS’ PROPERTY IN LAVRUSHINSKY LANE A PUBLIC MUSEUM IS WIDELY RECOGNIZED, SERGEI’S PART IN THE DEAL AND THE FACT THAT IN 1892 HE BEQUEATHED HIS ART COLLECTION TO THE CITY OF MOSCOW IS OFTEN OBSCURED. TO GIVE JUSTICE TO MOSCOW, THE CITY FATHERS WISHED TO RECOGNIZE THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF BOTH BROTHERS; THE WHITE-STONE FRIEZE OF THE FRONT FAВADE, RECONSTRUCTED IN 1902, BEARS A CARVED INSCRIPTION THAT READS: "CITY ART GALLERY OF PAVEL MIKHAILOVICH AND SERGEI MIKHAILOVICH TRETYAKOV".
IN RUSSIA THE CONCEPT OF BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AS A SPECIAL KIND OF ARTISTIC ACTIVITY APPEARED AT THE TURN OF THE 19–20TH CENTURIES, INTRODUCED BY THE "MIR ISKUSSTVA" (WORLD OF ART) MOVEMENT ALONGSIDE OTHER ARTISTIC CREATIVE ENTERPRISES OF ITS MEMBERS.
THIS ARTICLE IS TITLED `BACK TO THE FUTURE’ BECAUSE THE PROJECT OF BUILDING TATE MODERN WAS PROPELLED BY A VISION OF RETRIEVING AND REANIMATING THE ART OF THE RECENT PAST FOR AUDIENCES NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.
Modern and contemporary art have become more popular than ever that’s a fact. Audiences have increased so much that museums are now part of a kind of mass tourism, something that twenty years ago would have been unthinkable. It all started with the so called ‘blockbuster shows’. One of the first was the Tutankhamen exhibition in New York many years ago, followed by shows such as the Van Gogh, Picasso and many others. Nowadays exhibitions have to be marketed in a similar way as any other entertainment industry, like cinema or theatre for example. As state funding has generally speaking decreased, new museums depend more and more on outside funding and on revenue from tickets. That means that they have to go out into the world and employ the same tactics used by the commercial advertisement.
THE GELOS AUCTION HOUSE’S COLLECTION OF 16 TSARIST GIFTS WAS FORMED OVER A NUMBER OF YEARS BY A PRIVATE PERSON, AND WAS ENRICHED AT REGULAR INTERVALS BY ITEMS PURCHASED ABROAD.