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 Pavel Tretyakov


Born:   27 December 1832
Deceased:   16 December 1898

Pavel Tretyakov, the founder of world-known Tretyakov Gallery

      

The outstanding worker of Russian culture Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov devoted his all life to the only idea – collecting masterpieces of the Russian painting school with a view to “return all gained from society to common people”. Thus, he founded the first Russian public museum, where the national painting school rose to view as something ensemble and perfect. Tretyakov’s collecting activity and his support of the most talented and bright artists influenced the artistic culture of Russia in the second half of the 19th century.

By that time collecting ceased to be a pure noble hobby, merchants and intellectuals seized the initiative. Tretyakov came from a family of merchants and remained a merchant till the end of his life: he and his brother owned a manufacturing factory in Kostroma. This business let him spend profits from production on his true lifework – collecting.

Tretyakov was a native Muscovite and took up the Art in the very childhood. His first acquisitions refer to 1853 and the next year he bought nine paintings by old Dutch artists, these works had been hanging on the walls of the Tretyakovs’ house till the very death of Pavel Mikhailovich. However, starting the collection Tretyakov realized the lack of artistic education and let his patriotic feelings lead him: he made his mind to focus on works by Russian contemporaries. 1856 is considered to be the year of foundation of the great collection, as that was when Temptation by Shilder and Finnish smugglers by Khudyakov were acquired. Gradually the collection grew, but, it should be mentioned, that in the very beginning Tretyakov had a clear idea of the final purpose. In his will made in 1860, only four years later after the first paintings were acquired, he noted all his collection to become public.

Tretyakov’s confidence and belief in his work seem amazing, especially if we remember that the Russian painting school hadn’t been formed yet and was a feeble semblance of the great art tradition of Europe. At the same time he didn’t waste money on very expensive paintings, even if longed to buy them: his true goal was to represent the Russian painting school in its entirety. He always was ready to help and support a young talent and that put him above all other collectors. Several artists and sculptures created his portrait.

There were some remarkable landmarks in the history of the gallery. One of them is acquiring of sketches to Christophany by Ivanov and collections, which belonged to other merchants and noblemen. Step by step the house bought by Tretyakov in 1851 expanded and occupied the bigger area, as the collection was contributed with new paintings. Starting with 1870s the gallery attracted common people, who could watch the masterpieces for free. In 1892 the house and the invaluable collection was granted to the city of Moscow as a public museum.

In 1918, according to the Nationalization Decree signed by Lenin, the gallery gained its present name of the State Tretyakov Gallery. Thus, the name of its founder was perpetuated.

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Sources:

    www.hrono.ru

 

Pictures:

    www.rulex.ru
    www.ts.edu.ru
 

Olga Pletneva


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