Branches:

Still Lifes of the 1920s and 1930s

Lev Yudin. Still Life. Coffeepot, Jug and Sugar Bowl. Mid-1930s. Oil on canvas
22 May—30 July 2024

The exhibition is being held in Hall 80 on the second floor of the Benois Wing.

Still life is a specific genre of painting possessing the most diverse meanings – from the serene admiration of the variety of objects to the philosophical meaning, and, sometimes, to mystical symbolism (for instance, the subgenre of vanitas, Latin for ‘vanity’, ‘futility’).

After the October Revolution, still life was transformed according to the spirit of the time. The traditional set of compositional elements was drastically renewed. The artistic language and objects acquired expressive volume, and space gained a dynamic perspective. Some artists actively resorted to Cubism and Futurism transforming objects into geometric shapes and depicting them from different viewpoints, which contributed to the exposure of their deep essence hidden behind the outer shell. Artists of other movements adhered to a more naturalistic manner but used unconventional angles and contrasts to create unusual compositions.

By the 1920s and 1930s, the theme of radical changes in everyday life and impetuous flow of time became dominant in nearly all the painting genres. Distinctive and recognizable objects depicted in still lifes turned into a window to the everyday life of the era that defiantly rejected poeticizing. Kitchen utensils, newspapers and magazines, household appliances and other everyday objects became a symbol of the new world and the new person.

Under the influence of his teacher Pyotr Konchalovsky, Ervand Kochar painted a still life with weights, unusual for the plastic art of this genre, as early as in 1918. A certain brutality, asceticism and severity are inherent in still life paintings of the first post-revolutionary decades. The artistic task of such compositions no longer lay in a search for beauty and the ideal. Now painters strove to explore a new reality that, sometimes, was not too pleasant from the previously accepted point of view.

Thus, there appear such works as Still Life with Bottle (1929) by Vladimir Grinberg, whose composition is supplemented with an old tin bucket, or Gas Mask (circa 1933–1934) by Pyotr Osolodkov, depicting a ghastly rubber mask that seems to bore the viewer with a dark eye socket. The black objects and rough materials presented in Plate on Oilcloth (early 1920s) by Alexander Ivanov look gloomy, reinforcing the heavy statics and monumentality.

Floral compositions, traditional for the genre of still life, also undergo various transformations. Bright and lively greenery gives way to dried stems, as in Still Life. Dry Grasses (1920s) by Alexei Pochtenny. A thin bouquet of small and broken wildflowers in Yellow Still Life (1928) by Maria Lomakina looks like a perspective composition in line with Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s works. Large inflorescences in Igor Popov’s Bouquet (1937) are reduced to a flat symbol that is naive and, at the same time, strangely worrying.

In the context of the time, even the name of the genre nature morte, i.e. dead nature, takes on a literal meaning – the works depict the materials and tools of the builders of a new life and new era where living nature retreats under the pressure of the industry of human ideas and deeds.

The current exhibition is a significant addition to the permanent exhibition of paintings of the first half of the 20th century. It encourages the viewers to most fully immerse themselves in the history of the development of Russian painting, discover little-known talented artists and feel the spirit of the time that generated new art principles. 

Age restriction: 0+

Vladimir Malagis. Still Life with Herring. 1925. Oil on canvas Ervand Kochar. Still Life with Weights. 1918. Oil on canvas Vladimir Grinberg. Still Life with Bottle. 1929. Oil on canvas

Exhibitions
Gift to the Russian Museum from Vladimir Nekrasov

Gift to the Russian Museum from Vladimir Nekrasov

29 May—1 July 2024

Vladimir Nekrasov’s collection of Russian fine art is the largest in the country. The exhibition will feature a significant part of more than six hundred art pieces donated by Vladimir Nekrasov to the Russian Museum.

Anna Golubkina (1864–1927). 160th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

Anna Golubkina (1864–1927). 160th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

21 February—20 May 2024

28 January 2024 marks the 160th anniversary of Anna Golubkina’s birth, an outstanding Russian sculptor. The jubilee exhibition presents typical works of the sculptor from different years.

The Russian Museum recommends
Collection highlights
Collection highlights

The collection of masterpieces, chosen by the Russian Museum will allow you to make a first impression of the collection of the Russian Museum.

Start

Virtual tours
Virtual tours

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.)

Details

Online Shop
Online Shop

In the online shop of the Russian Museum presented a huge range of souvenirs, illustrated editions and multimedia disks.

Go to store

Mobile Apps
Mobile Apps

Google PlayApp Store

Details