A scientific research paper by the great art history scholar Nina A. Dmitriyeva (1917–2003) provides the intellectual foundation for the project “Peredvizhniki and Impressionists. On the Way to the 20th Century.” Her research approach was to explore Russian art within a global context, highlight its individual traits, and identify its place in the domain of the European traditions. The article “Peredvizhniki and Impressionists” summed up her studies and reflections on the evolution of a generation of artists in France and Russia with differing philosophies and views of life who nevertheless were inspired to oppose academism and follow various paths to achieve similar goals.
In line with the author’s original idea, the curator group created a representation of the unified cultural process, showed the context of artistic life in Russia and in France in the late 19th century, and correlated two phenomena by bringing together the best art works representing each movement. The display allows comparisons of paintings by Edouard Manet and the canvases of Ilya Repin and Vladimir Makovsky, Alfred Sisley and Alexey Savrasov, Valentin Serov and Pablo Picasso, Nikolay Yaroshenko and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Mikhail Vrubel and Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec.
The exhibition halls also present famous works of post-impressionists Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gaugin. These masters do not share the artistic methods of impressionists, but they were included in the program as contemporaries and the younger peers of the impressionists.
The exhibition “Peredvizhniki and Impressionists. On the Way to the 20th Century” continues a series of projects exploring the interplay, parallels, and interdependencies among various artists in various times and countries. The most remarkable exhibitions have been the following: “Moscow – Paris. 1900–1930” (1982), “Moscow – Berlin. 1900–1950” (1996), “Russia – Italy. Through the Centuries. From Giotto to Malevich” (2005), and “The Voices of the Imaginary Museum of André Malraux” (2016–2017).
Thematically, the exhibition is complemented by the 2017 “December Nights of Sviatoslav Richter” music festival. The concert programs include pieces by Camille Saint-Saens, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel, who wrote their music in the vein of impressionist aesthetics. The works of the French composers will be combined with the music of Russian masters Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, and others.
Irina A. Antonova, Director of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts:
This exhibition project is a joint effort of Russian art experts from the State Tretyakov Gallery and curators of the French collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The mission of the project is to convincingly illustrate the original ideas of Nina Dmitriyeva by bringing together the great art works from the museums’ holdings. The concept of the project revolves around Nina Dmitriyeva’s conclusions that both movements were specific forms of artistic consciousness typical of the time, and both of them shaped the further development of art. In this respect they are an integral part of one process. They work together as a reflection and expression of the collective consciousness of their time period and its feelings and aspirations.
Bringing together the art works of the Russian and French masters, the peredvizhniki and impressionists, in a single exhibition highlights the two great phenomena in the artistic culture of the 19th century.
Author of the project concept: Irina A. Antonova, Director of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts CURATOR GROUP
of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Irina Nikiforova, Head of the Department of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art
Anna Poznanskaya, Senior Researcher of the Department of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art
Natalia Avtonomova, Head of the Department of Private Collections
Alla Lukanova, Deputy Head of the Department of Private Collections
State Tretyakov Gallery
Tatyana Yudenkova, Head of the Department of Late 19th and Early 20th Century Painting
Olga Atroschenko, Researcher of the Department of Late 19th and Early 20th Century Painting
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
Leo Tolstoy State Museum, Moscow Alexey Gorky State Museum A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Museum-Apartment of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, V.I. Dahl State Museum of the History of Russian Literature (State Museum of Literature), Moscow
Kaluga Museum of Fine Arts