Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tretyakov Gallery

Today, after a long winter, we resumed our sightseeing excursions. Today we went to the Tretyakov Gallery, a famous Russian museum in Moscow. It was founded by a Russian merchant by the name of Pavel Tretyakov who donated his collection in 1882 of paintings by Russian artists.
The Gallery is in a beautiful, very spacious building.

It took us 2 1/2 hours to go through both floors and that was moving along quickly.
Our office elders, Elder Bryant Law and Elder Hayden Simmons went with us.

The museum is full of icons, masterpieces, landscapes, portraits created over 1000 years time. The oldest piece we saw was created in 1062. WOW. It had been created on wooden boards that were once a part of a building. There were several of those. The most beautiful (in my opinion) was on a door that also had the sideboards and top board all attached together.
There were  paintings on canvas and on wood and tapestry, giving the painting a nubby look. There were sculptures of wood, marble and bronze.
The paintings  represented  the Russian culture and way of life, and history going back into the 1100's. There were paintings of a political and religious theme. The history of Russia, as you know, included many wars and much political turmoil and many of the paintings reflected that. Many of the paintings were dark and reflected great sadness. Many of the pictures showed how difficult life was.  This sadness and harshness is reflected in the faces of the people in the portraits and pictures.  Many of the paintings were, literally, dark.
There are many, many religious paintings. The icons of the Savior and angels and the Holy Family are all similar in facial expressions. There is a profound sadness. No joy. There is much about the dead Christ but little about the living Christ.
However, there were some beautiful countryside paintings, lovely flowers and scenic paintings.
My favorite was one depicting the 12 year old Jesus who stayed behind and was teaching the religious scholars. It is a beautiful picture. It shows his mother Mary and Joseph as they come to the temple and find him. There were a few paintings depicting New Testament times that were of a more joyous feeling.
There was a painting of Ivan the Terrible holding his dead son whom he had killed in a fit or rage. The look on his face was truly one of great remorse. Since Ivan really did live and really did kill his son, I found this picture interesting and very real-looking.
There truly is a lot of talent here in this great land of Russia and we are happy to have been able to spend some time in this famous museum.
In order to see some of the paintings, I suggest you go to Google and put in Tretyakov Gallery.

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