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Road to Victory
To the 60th Anniversary of the Victory Day

28 April - 01 August 2005
Benois Wing

On the 28th of April the Road to Victory exhibition is opened in the Benois Wing of the Russian Museum. The exhibition is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Victory Day and includes more than 200 works of painting, graphics and sculpture from the Russian Museum collection created during the period from 1941 to 1945. Lithographs by Valentin Kurdov and Alexei Pakhomov, engravings by Solomon Yudovin and Pavel Shillingovsky, drawings by Ivan Astapov, Nikolai Dormidontov, Georgy Fitingof, sculptures by Vera Isayeva and Vsevolod Lishev, paintings by Yaroslav Nikolayev and other war veteran artists. The painterly chronicle of the War did not try to embellish the human tragedy but first and foremost its best pages reflected the dignity of people who faced the danger and tried to cope with it. It was in the form of art that the artists found spiritual and moral support in the most frightful moments. In 1943 Georgy Vereisky confessed: "Art is my religion. It straightens and strengthens me, it elevates me and helps to turn away from the evil within me and strive for the best". The exposition vividly reflects the logics of the war: the exhibition starts with the works of the war period artists — curators of the Russian Museum and the Hermitage and continues with the images of the burnt-out village and wasted land. Three subjects form the climax of the exhibition: fights in the air and on earth, life in the besieged ice clad Leningrad, war portraits from the frontline and the rear. The last room is dedicated to the end of the Great Patriotic War. It comprises the most serene works of that period that reveal the people's deep belief in the victory. There are many war portraits at the exhibition including the portrait of a pilot A. Yumashev by Pyotr Konchalovsky (1941). Similarly to the history, the art of the war period has its "ceremonial" side called forth by the political moment and the laws of propaganda, it full of victorious trumpet and fanfare ringing. However, there is another side which has always tried not to miss or forget the main thing: the way people fought for life in the most unbearable conditions and triumphed. This theme has become the keynote of the exhibition in the Russian Museum. The exhibited works of art prove: an artist remained an artist during the war. A catalogue for the exhibition has been published. The exhibition is organized with the support of OAO Severstal.