The State Russian Museum holds the largest collection of Russian sculpture of the twentieth century, containing more than 3000 works. Virtually all the major names and specific features of Russian sculpture of the Soviet period are presented. This approach has allowed the preservation of a variety of unique objects. Another basic principle is collecting original plaster casts. Also, a significant part of the collection is wooden statuary. Interest to this material in many generations of artists was due both to the accessibility of wood, and the Russian mentality itself, appealing to the traditions of old Russian and folk sculpture.
The collection of Soviet sculpture can be divided into two major parts: retrospective and contemporary. The works of prominent sculptors of the Soviet period — such as S. Konenkov, V. Mukhina, V.Vatagin, S. Erzya, S. Lebedeva, V. Isayeva and M. Manizer — are displayed in our collection monographically. The collection contains both works that have become classics of Soviet sculpture (e.g. “The Cobblestone is the Weapon of the Proletariat” by I. Shadr, “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” by V. Mukhina, “Stepan Razin and his Warriors” by S. Konenkov) and little-known works, sketches and studies for monuments.
A special place is occupied by the unique in its scope, monographic collection of works by A. Matveev, a master whose work defined a whole epoch in the development of sculpture, and a collection of works of the Matveev School, one of the most prolific movements of Russian sculpture in the twentieth century. The Matveev School, a phenomenon much broader than A. Matveev’s circle of students, was characterised by the desire to preserve the classical traditions, tending towards strict architectonics, laconic plastic language and freshness of depicting the nature. It is represented by the students of A. Matveev in the 1920s and1930s; L. Ivanovsky, I. Klassep, A. Strekavin, L. Mess, B. Kaplyansky, T. Kuchkina, N. Koltsov and sculptors of the postwar years; N. Mogilevsky, A. Malahin, A. Ignatyev, L. Kholina, M. Vaynman, M. Kharlamova, V. Stamov, M. Anikushin, V. Rybalko whose creative maturity peaked in the 1960s and 1970s and formed the identity of the Leningrad school of sculpture.
The museum owns a valuable collection of sculptural avant-garde of the 1920s — primarily, Cubist works by B. Korolev and work by P. Bromirsky, I. Chaykov, B. Sandomirskaya, N. Niss-Goldman, I.Suvorov and V. Izdebsky.
Another unique collection is that of the “People of the North” sculptures. Under the direction of L. Mess, a student of A. Matveev, an experimental art workshop was organized in the Faculty of Northern Peoples in the Institute of Oriental Languages from 1928 to 1941. The sculpture of the northern people showed a genuine feeling for the sculptural material and plastic.
Sculpture of the twentieth century occupies a large part of the collection. It is represented by the works of the Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg) schools. Works by A. Pologova, T. Sokolova, N. Bogushevskaya, A. Krasulin, D. Shakhovskoy, V. Dumanyan, L. Gadaev, V. Soskiev, I. Blumel and N. Zhilinskaya reflected such features of the Moscow school of sculpture as actualisation of artistic language, theatricality, vivid imagery and intensive expression. Expressiveness is also characteristic of the Leningrad school, manifested with particular strength in the works of various sculptors, such as L. Lazarev, L. Lanets, O. Godes and L. Smorgon. Other features such as love to classical traditions and a particular modesty in plastical methods characterise the works of V. Stamov, E. Nikolaev, B. Svinin, I. Kochukov, M. Kazakov and I. Nikonova. M. Ershov references to archaic images in his female figures B. Sergeev and K. Suvorova aplly to the traditions of Russian wooden sculpture, K. Simun’s work is distinguished by its innovation and metaphorical artistic language. The work of D. Kaminker and sculptors of the “Ozerki” group: L. Kolibaba, V. Danilov, A. Pozin, M. Spivak, G. Pisareva and O. Zhogin is marked by its grotesque expressiveness and extraordinary approach to spatial and compositional tasks.
At the beginning of the twenty first century the collection was replenished by work of the young sculptors P. Tikhomirov and D. Fedin who work with traditional techniques and materials, and works by D. Karev, P. Brat and A. Lyublinsky, that express a modern perception of sculpture and artistic experiments with form, working at the border of different types of art.
Pelageya Shuriga. Mexico.
1971. Painting on gypsum.
Konstantin Simun. Model of the Monument «Broken Ring».
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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