The Russian Museum collection of prints contains one of the most comprehensive collections of engravings from the end of the seventeenth century to the present day, in total about 80,000 items. These are separate items, series and albums, maps and playing cards, book illustrations, caricatures, popular prints, posters, advertisements and a unique collection of engraved boards in metal, wood and linoleum.
This collection provides an outlook of almost all printing techniques, from classical engraving on wood and metal to modern methods related to the industrial printing and development of information technologies. Temporary exhibitions and expositions of the collection’s prints systematically present to the public masterpieces of national woodcuts, copperplate engravings on metal, mezzotint, etching in its many varieties (needle, aquatint, lavis), lithography, chromolithography, linocut, monotype and other engraving techniques. Modern masters of printmaking are represented by works created using classical engraving techniques and by innovative techniques of the recent years, f.g. laser printing. The constant search of new artistic methods and techniques by contemporary artists is always in the focus of attention of the print department of the Russian Museum and is reflected in the museum’s exhibitions.
The collection of the print department allows to know all the stages of development of this art form in Russia. The engraving of the eighteenth century is fully represented, and such great masters as A. Zubov, E. Chemesov and I. Bersenev are presented not only by prints but also by their specific art forms — copper plates. Also in the collection there are boards which were used to print one of the last masterpieces of classical copperplate engravings — a series of views of the imperial residences — Gatchina, Pavlovsk and Peterhof. They were made at the turn of the nineteenth century by the prominent Russian masters A. Ukhtomsky and the brothers K. and I. Chesky and S. Galaktionov mostly using the originals created by S. Schedrin. There are also the metal boards that F.Tolstoy used in the 1820s —1840s to print the illustrations to the poem of I.F.Bogdanovich “Dushenka”.
Russian satirical graphics related to the Patriotic War of 1812, and the journal of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, founded in 1820, are also comprehensively represented. This organization played major role in the development of lithography in Russia. In the collection the best publication of the society is kept — a large lithographed series “Views of St. Petersburg and its Environs”
Among the masters of early lithography the oeuvre of A. Orlovsky is fully represented, and of the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such artists as I. Shishkin, V. Mathé and A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva are presented. Prominent master of coloured woodcuts, A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva bequeathed to the museum not only the best prints of her work, but also wooden boards and tools. Also in the department the complete collection of boards belonging to P. Shillingovsky and I. Nivinsky are held.
Of great historical and artistic value is the rarest collection of futuristic book presented by such authors as O. Rozanova, N. Goncharova, M. Larionov, P. Filonov and other great masters of the Russian avant-garde.
An extensive section of printmaking from the Soviet period includes a collection of posters, among which is the famous Petrograd “ROSTA Windows ” made using the technique of linocut and painted by hand. Here are all the names of artists of the Moscow and Leningrad schools: the avant-garde masters A Rodchenko, V. Stepanova, E. Lissitzky and V. Kozlinsky, the woodcuts artist N. Kupriyanov and the lithograph master of V.V .Lebedev.
The print department has a fairly complete collection of works published in the experimental lithographic workshop of the Leningrad branch of the Union of Artists in the period from 1930 to the 1960s. This includes lithographs by N. Tyrsa, Yu.Vasnetsov, A. Pakhomov, V. Konashevich and A.Vedernikov. Practically the entire oeuvre of A.Kaplan and B.Ermolaev has been collected here.
The department has excellent works by Moscow artists, representatives of the classical art of the woodcut: A. Kravchenko, V. Favorsky, I. Golitsyn, G. Zakharov and others. The engraving collections are replenished by the works of modern masters. Thus, in recent years works by M. Shemyakin, M. Karasik, B. Messerer, A. Belkin, Yu. Lukshin, O. Dergachev, I. Makoveeva and many other artists have been acquired.
Boris Ermolaev. To Father.
1960. Coloured autolithograph.
Yury Vasnetsov. The Cat, the Cockerel and the Fox.
1938. Coloured lithograph.
The collection of masterpieces, chosen by the Russian Museum will allow you to make a first impression of the collection of the Russian Museum.
Russian Museum - one of the world's largest museums and is perhaps the only country where such a full treasure of national culture are presented.
Virtual tour of the museum complex. 2009 (Rus., Eng., Ger., Fin.)
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