русская версия

The Russian Museum

About Exhibitions Collections Visitor info Shop Málaga branch Publications Events

Roads in Russian Art

02 December 2004 - 14 April 2005
The Benois Wing

The exhibition showcases works of painting, graphic art, sculpture and folk art from the collection of the Russian Museum, including the works of such artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as Victor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov, Sergei Korovin, Ilya Repin, Vasily Perov, Valery Jacoby, Ivan Shishkin, Alexei Savrasov, Fyodor Vasilyev, Isaac Levitan, Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. They are all united by one common subject - the theme of the road. The theme of the road was popular with Russian artists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And it was for a certain reason. The vast Russian territories and boundless fields have always inspired Russian artists to create works where the motif of the road predetermined their solution of artistic aims. The content of the "road" notion and its deep metaphorical sense inspired masters of various generations, who treated it in terms of the historical sinuosity and fate of Russia. The road is a path dodging in fields, disappearing into forest thickets, winding urban streets and broad avenues and water ways. They lead to unknown lands, high aims and, on the contrary, to disappointments. The knight forced to think carefully how to continue his path in Victor Vasnetsov's Knight at the Crossroads faces the problem of choosing his path in life, in search of the truth. In the works of many Russian artists, roads lead to churches. Itinerants and pilgrims walk along the road in search of a better life. Religious processiona are interpreted as a sign of faith. Profoundly tragic in its despair is the treatment of the theme of the road to a tavern or a cemetery - the road to the final end - in the works of Vasily Perov. The motif of movement "under escort" in the works of Ilya Repin and Valery Jacoby add notes of social sharpness and despair. The theme of the road in landscapes by Ivan Shishkin, Alexei Savrasov, Fyodor Vasilyev and Isaac Levitan convey dreams of happiness and harmony, laying the basis for the national understanding of nature. The theme of the road gained conceptual and philosophical significance in the works of the masters of the Russian avant-garde and the second half of the twentieth century and is still present in the comprehension of the problems of modern life, as the road to the future. A catalogue for the exhibition has been published.