Painting of the XIX-XX centuries, Room 4

In the late 19th century, replacing the enthusiasm for Impressionism and its portrayal of instantaneous fleeting impressions in painting, the Modernist style brought forth an interest in decorative elements. For instance, in the collection of the third gallery, one can observe Boris Kustodiev's (1878-1927) landscape, "In a birch grove": the vividness of colors, distinct brushstrokes, and the filled light space within the image, all reminiscent of Impressionist works, yet a new, atypical inclination towards conventional idealized beauty emerges.

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Before us is not a random impression but rather a set design for a spectacle—bright, detailed, and luminous. The rhythmic uniformity replaces the flickering of light and color. The birches in Kustodiev's work resemble each other, resembling partially opened stage curtains.

The gradual transition from Impressionism to Decorativism, from spontaneous, chaotic, fleeting to rhythmically organized predictability with the retention of the role of light and color brightness, can be traced in the presented work in this hall by Konstantin Yuon (1875-1958) titled "Winter in the village." Like in Impressionist landscapes, there are separate brushstrokes and colored shadows, but differences are evident: the planks of the foreground terrace and the logs of distant houses are depicted with equal detail, tree silhouettes are even and monotonous, and the horses move in unison—creating a decorative ordered rhythm in the composition. This emerging trend is not coincidental. We recall the rapid development of the theater at the turn of the century. Konstantin Yuon worked on the design of the famous productions of Sergei Diaghilev's "Russian Seasons" and maintained a distinctive decorative painting style throughout his life. The decorativeness of Modernism can also be seen in the works of Janis Rozentāls in this hall and Nikolay Milioti in the first gallery of the Painting of the XIX-XX centuries.

After the October Revolution, artists faced a challenging choice: to leave or to stay. Mikhail Germashev (1867-1930), a student of Vladimir Serov and Isaac Levitan, a member of the Society of Itinerant Art Exhibitions, left for Paris in 1920 and continued to paint landscapes in the Russian manner. He exhibited in French salons and galleries, gaining popularity among admirers of Russian art in France. Upon entering the hall, his landscape "Winter forest" greets us from the right, in that very Russian manner: a snowy forest is depicted, with only traces in the snow reminding us of people who recently passed through. The unpretentious beauty of Russian nature takes center stage: the rhythm of bare trees transforms into a shimmering spot of the distant forest, the landscape is bathed in sunlight, and the colored shadows on the snow create an effect of poignant brightness.

Konstantin Gorbatov (1876-1945), an academician and the author of vivid decorative works, was a Russian emigrant in Germany. His painting "Venice. Villa" (1919) is showcased in the hall.

The distinguished master Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939), a renowned landscape artist and theatrical designer, was forced to leave Russia permanently in 1922. In this hall, the master's late landscape "Chaussee du Pont. Boulogne" (1935), executed in the style of Impressionism, is presented – a breathtaking piece filled with light and air, depicting one of the streets in the Parisian district of Boulogne-Billancourt. The focus of attention in this landscape is a three-story house. The artist compels us to look at it closely, meticulously detailing the windows, shutters, and cornices. Everything around it is blurred, depicted with highly generalized strokes, with trees, human figures, and structures only hinted at in silhouettes. Thus, Konstantin Korovin conveys the natural way humans perceive the surrounding world: we cannot see all the diversity of landscape objects with equal clarity. Something specific takes center stage, in this case – the house. Through this focus in the depiction, the artist achieves the impression of fleeting perception: capturing a brief moment during which the eye manages to see (and the viewer to marvel at, be astonished by the brightness, light, and form) only a small fragment of the world, while the rest remains a blurry context perceived peripherally. The rhythm and color of the watercolor "Valaam" (1918) remind us of Korovin's exceptional talent as a theatrical artist: a composition of a stage setting could have been organized similarly.

Vitaly Tikhov (1876-1939), a student of Vladimir Makovsky (more details in the article for the second gallery of the series; his painting "Yalta" is showcased in this gallery), can also be considered a Russian Impressionist and a creative heir to Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas. The evident mastery of an academician is visible in Tikhov's still life from 1911. His painting "Bather" from the same year embodies the celebration of the beauty of nature, youth, and sunlight in the best traditions of Impressionism, revealing the multidimensionality of the artist's talent. In the 1930s,Tikhov became the author of numerous works dedicated to the life and everyday existence of the Soviet people, a direction later named Socialist Realism. Similarly, Ivan Kolesnikov (whose "Country scene" is presented in the gallery), a graduate of the school at the Academy of Arts and a landscape master, became a Socialist Realist after 1917, creating works on themes from the life of Leningrad. Arkady Rylov (1870-1939), awarded the title of academician in 1915, became a recognized Soviet landscape artist, taught at the Academy of Arts, and prepared a new generation of artists. His landscapes from different years are presented in the hall: "Three Birches. Autumn" (1910s), "White Boat on the Oskol river" (1909), "Coast in the Crimea. Kikinez" (1914), "Forest river" (1931), and "Pathway to the cottage" (1931).

Unfortunately, not all masters of the turn of the century could find their place in the new Soviet system of visual arts. Stanislav Zhukovsky (1873-1944), a student of Vasily Polenov and Isaac Levitan, was one of the most famous Russian Impressionist landscape painters at the beginning of the 20th century. In Soviet times, he was forced to move to Poland and engaged in teaching at a private art school. The impressionistic landscape "Old cottage" by Zhukovsky, conveying the chill and dampness of an autumn day outside the city, is presented in this hall.

The fate of Constantin Westchiloff (1878-1945), a student of Ilya Repin, took a tragic turn. His work "Versailles Park" from 1913 is showcased in the gallery. A historical painter and an artist of recognized talent, Constantin Westchiloff, before the revolution, was involved in stage design for performances at the Literary and Artistic Society Theater (future Bolshoi Drama Theater) in Petersburg, creating works on historical themes, landscapes, and participating in exhibitions. In the early post-revolutionary years, the master created several sketches on Soviet themes, but he did not become a socialist realist artist. His emigration began in 1928, first to France and then to the United States.

Another famous Russian artist, a student of Vasily Perov, Alexey Savrasov, Vladimir Makovsky - Mikhail Nesterov (1862-1942), a historical painter, went through a difficult period of Soviet restrictions and repressions. His pre-revolutionary work "The Savior with Martha and Mary" is presented in the current gallery. In it, the characteristic spiritualization of Nesterov's images is evident. After the revolution, the master predominantly worked as a portraitist and illustrator. The energy and determination of his portrait images became an embodiment of the resilience and faith in the future of the Homeland and its people. Nesterov was a humanist who, despite everything, never lost faith in humanity. His famous statement, "Ah, how I always loved our poor, senseless, and great country – our homeland," is an oxymoron that perfectly reflects the contradictions of Russia and the sincere feelings of an artist who genuinely loves it.

The First World War, the revolution, the Civil War, and the subsequent repressions constituted the most challenging period in Russia's history. These events brought irreparable changes to the life of society and the development of art. However, the Russian school of painting retained its originality. Academic mastery, sensitivity to nature and human emotions, a unique vision of composition, and an understanding of color persisted and were inherited by Soviet art through the works of masters from the turn of the century. Young Soviet artists, despite everything, became the successors of the great Russian masters' traditions.

Stanislav Zhukovsky 'Old cottage'
Stanislav Zhukovsky
Old cottage
Arkady Rylov 'Three birches. Autumn'
Arkady Rylov
Three birches. Autumn
Arkady Rylov 'White boat on the Oskol river'
Arkady Rylov
White boat on the Oskol river
Nikolaos Himonas 'Landscape with cactuses'
Nikolaos Himonas
Landscape with cactuses
Gavriil Kondratenko 'Genoese Fortress'
Gavriil Kondratenko
Genoese Fortress
Gevork Bashindzhagyan 'Birches'
Gevork Bashindzhagyan
Sergey Svetoslavsky 'Landscape'
Sergey Svetoslavsky
Leon Bure 'Chaikhana'
Leon Bure
Konstantin Gorbatov 'Venice. Villa'
Konstantin Gorbatov
Venice. Villa
Yuly Klever 'In the wildwood'
Yuly Klever
In the wildwood
Vitaly Tikhov 'Bather'
Vitaly Tikhov
Vitaly Tikhov 'Still life'
Vitaly Tikhov
Still life
Ivan Kolesnikov 'Country scene'
Ivan Kolesnikov
Country scene
Petr Volkov 'Portrait of a boy'
Petr Volkov
Portrait of a boy
Nikolay Khokhryakov 'At Dymkovo'
Nikolay Khokhryakov
At Dymkovo
Vasily Polenov 'Telegraph mast'
Vasily Polenov
Telegraph mast
Konstantin Korovin 'Valaam'
Konstantin Korovin
Constantin Westchiloff 'Versailles Park'
Constantin Westchiloff
Versailles Park
Mikhail Germashev 'Winter forest'
Mikhail Germashev
Winter forest
 'Flowers and porcelain'
Flowers and porcelain
Konstantin Yuon 'Winter in the village'
Konstantin Yuon
Winter in the village
Yuly Klever (Jr.) 'Blue cornflowers in a jug'
Yuly Klever (Jr.)
Blue cornflowers in a jug
Anatoly Kaigorodov 'Pond'
Anatoly Kaigorodov
Janis Rozentãls 'Eve'
Janis Rozentãls
Sergey Vinogradov 'The old house'
Sergey Vinogradov
The old house
Konstantin Korovin 'Chaussee du Pont. Boulogne'
Konstantin Korovin
Chaussee du Pont. Boulogne
V. Strezhnev  'Still life with porcelain'
V. Strezhnev
Still life with porcelain
Arkady Rylov 'Forest river'
Arkady Rylov
Forest river
Vladimir Makovsky 'Yalta'
Vladimir Makovsky
Arkady Rylov 'Coast in the Crimea. Kikineiz'
Arkady Rylov
Coast in the Crimea. Kikineiz
Konstantin Vroblevsky 'The monastery'
Konstantin Vroblevsky
The monastery
Nikolay Kharitonov 'At the forge'
Nikolay Kharitonov
At the forge
Isaac Levitan 'Twilight over the river'
Isaac Levitan
Twilight over the river
Arkady Rylov 'Pathway to the cottage'
Arkady Rylov
Pathway to the cottage
Alexandr Beggrov 'Inner yard'
Alexandr Beggrov
Inner yard
 'Portrait of a lady with an ear of wheat'
Portrait of a lady with an ear of wheat
Petr Geller 'Still life with blue flowers'
Petr Geller
Still life with blue flowers
Vasily Polenov 'Autumn'
Vasily Polenov