A Generous Russian Soul, Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832-1898), a Founder of Moscow Tretyakov Art Gallery

State Tretyakov Gallery(book cover)The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, a world-famous museum of Russian art, was founded by Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832-1898), a highly educated man with wide-ranging interests.

The cover of the book “The State Tretyakov Gallery Moscow”, Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1975 is shown here alongside with his portrait done by I. Repin.

When he first began to collect, his main interest was in engravings by foreign artists  and paintings by old Dutch masters, but before long, he took a serious interest in Russian art. He bought his first painting, The Temptation, by the Russian artist, N. Schilder, on May 12th, 1856. This date is regarded as the birthday of the Gallery.

Tretyakov’s method of collecting was quite simple. He went to the exhibitions and bought up outstanding works by any democratic Russian artist. Tretyakov saw in the creation of a gallery of portraits of contemporary Russian artists and scientists his civic duty, and from 1860 on, he arranged for leading Russian writers, scientists and musicians to sit for the best painters, like Ivan Kramskoy, Ilya  Repin, Vasiliy Perov and Nikolay Ge.                                                                   I repin-Portait of Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov

By 1872, Tretyakov had amassed more than 500 paintings. Now he began to build special halls to house the collection. The gallery was built as an annexe to his house in Lavrushinsky Lane, in 1881 he made admission free. 8,000 people visited his museum that year and 100,000 people had seen it by 1898. In 1892, soon after his brother’s death, Pavel Tretyakov did what he had always intended to do, he presented his and his brother’s collections to the city of Moscow. The Tretyakov Gallery collection has now more than 45 thousand works, of which more than 11 thousand icons and paintings which shows the development of Russian art from the eleventh century to the present day. Every year over a million and a half Russian and foreign visitors come to see exhibitions at the Gallery.

Where are you, modern Tretyakovs, the Generous Russian Souls, where are you now? Respond. Take care of Russia, pklease!

Watch the photo expose “The Russian Tretyakov Gallery”

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