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Russian Art of the 18th – early 20th centuries

The Russian art occupies a significant place in the funds of the National Art Museum of the Republic Belarus. Today its collection, which includes works of art of the 18-20th centuries, has more than three with a half thousands of the units of painting, sculptures, graphics, decorative-applied art. Wholeness of the collections, high quality of the works collected in it enable us to track the main stages of development of the Russian art, get acquainted with creative activity of many well-known Russian artists, feel artistic atmosphere of time, spirit of the epoch.


There are not many works of the 18th century in the museum. But in total they create rather exact presentation of the aesthetic ideal and nature of art of that time, about professional level of the artists. Great interest presents the early picture of Anton Losenko "Death of Adonis" (1), painted in 1764 during his staying in France. Not so often it is possible to meet works of Ivan Vishnyakov. That's why it is great luck that one of the first aquisition museum (1946) is "Portrait of Ivan Kotsarev "(1757-1759).

High achievements of portrait painting of the 18th century are connected with names of Fedor Rokotov (2), Dmitry Levitsky, Vladimir Borovikovsky. In their own works they have updated the image of the contemporary, have revealled educational idea about value of a person, displayed the mood of the time.


Works of painting, sculpture and graphics, executed in the first half of the 19th century notice, enable us to get acquainted with creative activity of many Russian artists of that time. These are canvases of Alexey Venetsianov, Maxim Vorobiyev, Fedor Bruni, Grigory Chernetsov, Pavel Fedotov and others. Among several pictures of the splendid painter Karl Bryullov, presented in the museum, "Portrait of Matvei Viyelgorsky"(1828) (3), painted in Italy, is of especial artistic expression.


The canvases of Vasily Tropinin, residing in the National Art Museum of the Republic Belarus, are more varied and greatly complement general opinion about the creative activity of this outstanding artist - "Bandit" ( Portrait of M. Obolensky) (1840-s), "Portrait of M. Ber with wife N. Ber" (1850), "Portrait of L. Kozhina" (1834) and others. Art of the second half of the 19th century is widely presented in the museum. Works of masters, who were guided by the principle of art of the critical realism, democratic trends of the epoch dominate in this part of the collections: Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Makovsky, Kirill Lemokh, Grigory Myasoyedov, Vasily Maksimov, Viktor Vasnetsov, Nikolay Yaroshenko, Leonid Solomatkin. The museum has a variant-repetition of 1875 of the well-known picture of Vasily Pukirev "Unequal Marriage" (1862) (4), where it is possible to notice some changes from canvas of 1862, belonging to the State Tretiyakov Gallery.

Significant place in section of the second half of the 19th century occupies landscapes of Aleksey Savrasov, Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Isaak Levitan, works of Ilya Repin and Vasily Surikov.


The collection of the Russian art of the late 19- early 20th centuries includes the number of the first-class works of the well- known Russian artists. Here is presented works of the artists, which strive to renovation of picture-plastic language - members of the different artistic associations of the border of the centuries such as "World of art", "Alliance of Russian artists", "Blue rose", "Knave of diamonds" - Valentin Serov, Mikhail Vrubel, Konstantin Korovin, Abrama Arkhipov, Philip Malyavin, Isaak Brodsky, Alexander Golovin, Nikolay Sapunov, Ilya Mashkov, Boris Kustodiyev, Zinaida Serebryakova and others.

Art of Russia of the 20th century is presented by such well-known masters, as painter Nikolay Kasatkin, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Georgy Razhsky, Arkady Plastov, Georgy Nisky and many others, who in their own works have displayed the width and variety of Russian art searching, particularities of the 1930-1950-s art, trends of artistic life of the 1960-1980-s.

Collection of sculpture is small and does not cover all stages of its development, but gives presentation of the main typical particularities of the Russian plastics and creative activity of number of masters. Among works of the 18 - first half 19th c. - such excelent works, as "Portrait of General-field Marshal P. RUMYANTSEV-Zadunaysky" (marble, 1778) by Fedot Shubin, "Generation of Music" (marble, 1824-1830) by Samuil Galberg, "Vagrant Violinist" (bronze, 1840-s) by Fedor Tolstoy.

The Section of sculpture of the second half of the 19th century is more full and unadulterated. Near by with works of the artists of academic direction - Nikolay Laveretsky, Parmen Zabela and others - is presented creative activity of the masters, whose art is indicative of achievements of the realism of the Russian artistic school: Mark Antokolsky, Evgeny Lansere, Vladimir Beklemishev, Matvey Chizhov and others. Particularity of the Russian plastics of the 20th century is introduced by works of Paolo Trubetskoy, Mikhail Vrubel, Sergey Konenkov, Ivan Shadr, Vasily Vatagin, Nikolay Andreev, Sarah Lebedeva, Vera Mukhina and others. In small collection drawings and watercolors it is possible to select executed in technique of the Italian pencil "Portrait of P. Zheltukhin" (1819) by Orest Kiprensky, "Portrait of R. Tomilov" (1831) by Alexey Varnek, watercolors of Pyotr Sokolov, Alexander Orlovsky, brother of Alexander and Albert Benua, Apollinary Vasnetsov, drawings of Ivan Ayvazovsky, Ivan Shishkin, Valentin Serov, Alexey Stepanov, engravings of Vladimir Favorsky, Evgeny Kibrik and others.

Important place in the museum collection occupies the collection of Russian decorative-applied arts. One of the first significant aquisitions of the museum of the late 1950-s was collection of Russian lacquer of the 19-20th centuries. It is presented in it works of two the most known Russian factories of the Lukutins and the Vishnyakovs, as well as art of Palekh. These are snuffboxes, small boxes, cuff links, bead boxes, cigarette cases, compacts, plates, trays, matchboxes, ashtrays. The earliest work in the collection of lacquer is a bead box of light-green colour with a scene of the running dog (1818-1828). Not less valuable part of the collection of Russian lacquer - is Palekh miniature of the 1920-1930-s. The museum collection presents the art of the leading artists of Palekh, those, who created this handicraft industry - I. Golikov, I. Zubkov, I. Markichev, V. Kotuhin, I. Vakurov, A. Dadykin, D. Butorin and others.

Collection of the Russian porcelain is small. It was formed gradually and includes works of nearly all large and known Russian plants of of the 18-20th centuries - Imperial porcelain, Gardner, Popov, Batenin, Sofronov, Terihov, Novykh, Fomin, Miklashevsky, Kornilov brothers, Kuznetsov brother , Kozlov, Ikonnikov, artistic enterprises of the SOVIET UNION. The earliest monument of the Russian porcelain production in the museum collection is a plate with a raised golden net and purple flowers from the first Russian set of chiha, created by master artist of the Imperial porcelain plant for the Empress Elizabeth and named "Own" (1750-s). This sample of porcelain of D. Vinogradov's time, natty, figured, assonant to the nature of Elizabethian rococo.

"Order" sets of chiha belongs to the most most interesting and distinctive monuments of art of Gardner plant. They were booked by Catherine II in 1777-1778 s. for receiving holders of the Russian orders at the courtyard. In our collection it is possible to see several subjects from "Andreyevsky", "Aleksandrovsky", "Georgievsky" and "Vladimirsky" set of chiha. The high level of techniques and skills of plaster workers, molders, burners and painters of the Imperial porcelain plant is presented by large decorative vases with copies of pictures of the mid of of the 19th century from the Hermitage collection. Among subjects of the second half of the 19 - early 20th cc. stand out the works of Kornilov's brothers plant in SAINT PETERSBURG and Kuznetsov's brothers plant. Alongside with decorative subjects and dishes in the museum collection is presented porcelain plastic arts.

Porcelain of of the Soviet time in the museum collection is presented by the names of well- known artists: N. Danko, V. Kuznetsov, B. Kustodiyev, S. Chekhonina, A. Schekotikhina-Pototsckaya, B. Vorobiyev, I. Riznich, I. Frikh-Khar, E. Charushin, A. Vorobiyevsky, V. Semenova, A. Efimova, Shulyak, A. Brzhezitskaya, P. Leonov, products of three leading plants of Russia - Lomonosov Leningrad, Dmitrov and Dulevo porcelain plants.

The real masterpiece of this collection is porcelain plastic arts of the first post-revolutionary years. Chess "Red and White", statuettes "Guerrillas", "Police Woman" by N. Danko, "Red Guardsman" by V. Kuznetsov are glorified by the revolutionary romanticism.

Wealth of the Russian art collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic Belarus, collected, basically, due to the tireless efforts of E. Aladova, Director of the museum from 1944 till 1977, enables not only profoundly display the Russian art in the constant exhibition of the museum, but also to form different in contents and volumes temporary and mobile exhibitions, denoted to the separate subjects, genres, separate directions and artists.