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Images of Military Life in Russian Art from the 16th to the 20th Centuries

Images of Military Life in Russian Art from the 16th to the 20th Centuries
20 october 2022—9 may 2023

Armed conflicts have accompanied humanity through hundreds and thousands of years of its history. Wars have destroyed and created empires, caused nations to rise, mix, and disappear. Although never desired or welcomed, war was nevertheless accepted as a customary part of historic existence – a jousting ground where nations and states fought it out to win themselves a better place under the sun. War generals and heroes were immortalised in monuments, and some were even canonised as saints.

In Russia, as everywhere else in Europe, paintings of battle scenes, historic events, genre scenes, sculpture, and applied artworks on military subjects were in most cases commissioned by the state. First the customers would have been the emperor and members of his court, and then in the Soviet Union the Ministry of Culture, the Artists’ Union, and the Art Fund. In Soviet times, pre-1917 battle scene paintings deemed to possess no exceptional aesthetic merits by the then-current standards were largely confined to history museums. Russian battle artwork among permanent exhibits in art museums was limited to pieces by outstanding masters such as Ivan Aivazovsky and Vasily Vereshchagin. Battle paintings by other notable artists of the academic or realistic persuasion (Grigory Gagarin, Pyotr Gruzinsky, Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky, Alexei Kivshenko, Ivan Kovshenkov, Alexander von Kotzebue, Nikolai Karazin and others) were usually relegated to back rooms. A similar selection process was practiced by the Russian Museum post-1917, as its collection continued to be augmented by battle pieces and historical paintings created by Soviet masters: Mikhail Avilov, Alexander Deineka, Gely Korzhev, Evsei Moiseyenko, Andrei Mylnikov, Vladimir Serov, Valentin Sidorov, Pavel Sokolov-Skalya and others.

Images of Military Life is an extensive exhibition featuring icons, paintings, sculptures, and applied and decorative artworks from the 16th through 20th centuries, most of them extracted from the museum’s repositories. It continues the Russian Museum’s time-honoured tradition of offering the public, from time to time, a broader perspective on its treasures and the magnitude of its collections.

Exhibitions
Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life

Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life

16 december 2022—12 june 2023

The Russian Museum exhibition project Artists on War and Peace can be seen as a diptych comprised of two exhibitions: Images of Military Life in Russian Art of the 16th to 20th Centuries and Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life. They explore two existential aspects of human life perceived as polar opposites. The first half of the diptych features scenes of everyday life during wartime, while the other focuses on the theme of the home and family as guardian of the moral values of the Russian people.

Mikhail Vrubel. To the 165th Anniversary of the Artist

Mikhail Vrubel. To the 165th Anniversary of the Artist

3 june 2022—14 november 2022

The exhibition dedicated to the 165th anniversary of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel (1856-1910) will present the main stages of the path of one of the leading masters of Russian art. Like the titans of the Renaissance, the artist was richly gifted. His creative pursuits and achievements were far ahead of his time. Portraits of contemporaries and landscapes created by him, works inspired by Russian and ancient mythology and classical literature, are marked by high spirituality.

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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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