Scenes from Tsarist Russia: 19th Century Russian Classics from the State Russian Museum Collection
4 November 2010 - 20 March 2011
Scenes from Tsarist Russia: 19th Century Russian Classics from the State Russian Museum Collection not only presented art lovers a selection of masterpieces being displayed for the first time in Turkey, but also offered scenes of Russian history through Russian Realist paintings.
The masterpieces from the rich collection of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg reflect every aspect of life including labor and poverty, the world of children, public festivals, war and death, scenes from bourgeois life, and revolution.
In literature, music, and fine arts, the "Russian spirit" is depicted as a world of emotions in which love, sorrow, and death run rampant. After the 1860s, Realist conventions came to dominate the genre scenes. Progressive artists of Russia began portraying the fundamental problems of the period such as social injustice, serfdom (until 1861, peasants were considered as property of landowners in Russia), child labor, subjugation of women, and poverty. Daily life thus became a point of interest in art.
In the 1870s and particularly after the 1880s, a more positive attitude came into view; the artists gradually diverged from depicting painful worlds. The public was no longer the victim, but a powerful subject. A tendency to poeticize folklore, as well as the public perception of nature and the universe began to emerge. Social problems were addressed in their entirety; analysis replaced condemnation.
The exhibition which included artists from Repin to Makovsky, Yaroshenko to Shishkin and many others, presented not only the Russia of the period with all its different aspects, but with its themes and characters offered audiences a unique experience, one similar to reading the works of the great Russian writers such as Nikolai Gogol and Fyodor Dostoevsky.