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Russian Painting of the 18th to 20th Centuries.
A picture gallery was opened in Novgorod for the first time in 1924. Paintings from St. Petersburg palaces, mansions of the local nobility and the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts received new life and were opened to the public.
Nowadays the gallery consists of about 200 well-selected paintings, drawings and sculptures of Russian authors of the 18th - 20th centuries, accommodated in spacious and well-lit halls arranged in a gallery. Stylish furniture and several impressive bronze objects create a special environment, slightly resembling that of a palace.
Walking along the gallery will bring real pleasure, based on the sense of astonishment and recognition. The exposition displays a number of brilliant works by Russian artists, some of which - "Portrait of Catherine II" by D. Levitsky, "Sorrento" by S. Shchedrin, "Embroidering" by V. Tropinin, "A Boy with a Dog" by O. Kiprensky-are considered to belong to the "high standard" of Russian painting.
The collection of miniature portraits of the 17th - 19th centuries is of great interest. It consists of dozens of tiny evidences of moving human relationships. The collection contains both works by great artists and naive but sincere attempts of amateurs to express their feelings.
One of the most popular paintings is a huge canvas by P. Villevaldi "Unveiling of the Millennium of Russia Monument in Novgorod in 1862." One can easily recognize some of the persons, depicted in it, such as Alexander II, the Crown Prince, the Empress, the court, Senate and Synod and, in the background, the portrait of the project's author, M. Mikeshin. The artist rendered architectural details as well: the Belfry, Kremlin walls and the building of the former Public Offices.
The "ceremonial" art of the capital makes a nice contrast to the peculiar world of the Russian provincial towns illustrated at the exhibition by several expressive canvases, mostly by unknown artists: "Portrait of E. Arakcheeva," "Portrait of a Boy in a Pink Vest," "Portrait of E. Stroynovskaya" etc.
One can also see here works by Russian artists of the end of the 19th - early 20th century such as I. Repin, I. Shishkin and V. Serov, and members of such associations as "Mir Iskusstva" (The World of Art), "Golubaya Rosa" (The Blue Rose), "Bubnovy Valet" (The Jack of Diamonds), etc.
Several paintings by R. Falk, I. Puni and P. Kuznetsov allow us to understand certain peculiar aspects in the development of Russian art during the pre-war years (1920 - 1940s).
The exhibition also shows works by contemporary Novgorod authors, including painters, graphic artists and sculptors
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