Sep 20

Tretyakov Gallery (Galeria de Arta Tretyakov)

Russia is a ‘reservoir’ of culture and art and the multiple galleries and museums that spread throughout its territory are a clear example of this. The State Tretyakov Gallery is an art gallery located in Moscow which is renowned for the exquisite exhibitions found within its walls.

The gallery officially came into being at the beginning of the 20thcentury, but its history goes back half a century. In 1856, Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, a Russian merchant, had begun collecting works of art signed by Russian artists that lived in his time. His goal was to acquire paintings, drawings and sculptures which would in time evolve to encompass a considerable number of works that represent the Russian national art in its different forms. The purpose was to put the basis of a museum.

Between 1856 and 1892, he dedicated his time to finding exquisite works of art, his collection reaching more or less 2.000 pieces at the end of this term – the collection comprised 1,362 paintings, 526 drawings and 9 sculptures.

It is no wonder that everyone was taken aback when faced with such an impressive assortment of works of art. Thus the construction of the Tretyakov Gallery was put into motion. The edifice to house the collection had to be worthy of the privilege it was bestowed on it. The façade of the structure was artistically created by Victor Vasnetsov, the painter who conferred a unique Russian fairy-tale architectural design to the gallery.

The construction work took only two years to be completed (from 1902 to 1904) and the site chosen for the gallery was near the Moscow Kremlin (to the south). But the gallery did not remained unchanged, on the contrary, expansion was underway and it can actually be said that in the 20th century the gallery experienced a ‘boom,’ having expended to encompass a number of adjacent buildings. Among these edifices was the Church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi which dated from the 17th century.

At present, the Tretyakov Gallery is home to more than 130.000 pieces of art, one more valuable than the next. Just to name a few, ‘Trinity’ by Andrei Rublev, ‘Composition VII’ by Wassaily Kandinsky and ‘Black Square’ by Kazimir Malevich can be admired at the gallery.

Painting by Vasily Perov –

But the Tretyakov Gallery is not solely a place where artistic pieces are on display. The institution also organizes various events which are in a way connected to culture. For instance in 2012, the gallery was the site of the famous FIDE World Chess Championship which was disputed among Vishwanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. There might be some voices to disagree with this type of events taking place inside the gallery but there has to be underlined that culture comprises several segments and chess might just be one of them. It is in effect a form of art, especially when discussing it at the level at which it is played in the championship. Not to mention that the event attracted two types of audiences, those interested in fine arts and chess lovers.

1985 marks an important year in the history of the Tretyakov Gallery this being the moment when the gallery merged with a gallery of contemporary art, but solely from an administrative point of view. The latter gallery still kept the position it occupied to the south of the Crimean Bridge. This addition was quite important for the museum as it consisted of an important collection of sculptures which were representative for Socialist Realism.

In close proximity of the gallery of contemporary art tourists can admire sculptures which have been ‘exiled,’ so to speak. The statuettes are representative for the Soviet Union and when the URSS had fallen, every reminder of that time had to be erased. But the sculptures were not destroyed; they were relocated in this garden which comprised the remnants of a fallen regime.

Those who visit the State Tretyakov Gallery will not regret their decision because they will have the chance to admire unique works of art, some of them having been created more than a century ago.

Jul 05

The State Hermitage (Muzeul de Arta)

The State Hermitage, also known as the Federal Cultural Institution “State Hermitage,” is one of the greatest museam complex in Russia. The institution took form back in the 18th century (1764) when the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, purchased from Berlin an impressive number of paintings from Eastern Europe (225 paintings of Flemish and Dutch origin).

In time, the musem expanded and increased the number of works of arts it possessed. At present, the complex consists of various buildings spread throughout Sankt Petersburg. From the 10 edifices which form the State Hermitage, 7 date from the 18th and 19th century and are cultural monuments. The Winter Palace, the Menshikov Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, the New Hermitage, the Restoration and Storage Center, The Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory are but a few of the edifices under the patronage of the State Hermitage.


The Main Museum Complex, as it is obvious from the name it bears, consists of the most important and largest collections of art works. The exhibitions are held in 6 different buildings, all located in the historical center of Sankt Petersburg. The pieces on display belong to the following categories: archeology, numismatics, and various works of art (scluptures, paintings, monuments) from Western Europe, countries in the Orient, Russia, as well as pieces dating from Antiquity.

In order to comprehed the magnitute of the collections, you should know that the museum complex holds within its walls approximately 3 million items. With such a collection it is no wonder that more than 2.5 million visitors, both from Russia and from abroad had come to the State Hermitage.



If you are not yet convinced whether or not you should visit the museum, maybe a short presentation of some of the works of art that exist here might help you make the right decision. The State Hermitage has a Military Gallery, which dates from 1826, and which Carlo Rossi (the man behind the project) had dedicated to the acts of bravery of the Russian soldiers that had fought in the Napoleonic Wars (1812). The Gallery contains 332 portraits of the generals who took part in the aforementioned wars, painted by George Dawe, of British origin, in collaboration with the Russian painters Alexander Polyakov and Wilhelm Golike.


The gallery was inaugurated on the 25th of October 1826, the exact same date (but different year, naturally) when the Napoleon’s army was expulsed from Russia.

A valuable painting found here is Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna and Child, which was purchased in 1865 from Count Litta, owner of a gallery in Milan. The Count wanted to sell a considerable collection of paintings, 44 in number, but the director of the State Hermitage selected just four from the list presented to him. The total price for the works of art reached 100,000 francs and while all of the paintings are valuable, the Litta Madonna, as it became known, was the most important of them all.


The Madonna and Child (Conestabile Madonna), painted by Raphael, was added to the museum collection in 1870. The Madonna with a Flower, by Leonardo da Vinci, is on display since 1914, when the Russian population engaged in a fund-raising to gather enough money to buy the masterpiece from Maria Benois. The painting was finally acquired for the sum of 150,000 roubles – the owner, having been moved by the Russians’ detemination to add the painting to the Collection of the State Hermitage, decided to sell it at a smaller price.

But the works of art on display are numerous and all of them carry an immense value. Not only connoisseurs, but also novices in the field of fine arts will recognize their worth.