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The Russian Museum

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27 June - 10 September 2007
Benois Wing

The exhibition has been timed to the bicentenary of Alexander Ivanov, a great Russian painter, innovator, philosopher and artistic personality, who influenced the development of Russian school of painting. He enjoyed authority within the milieu of national and European masters of fine art. The last one-man show of the artist, whose creative heritage is concentrated in two museums: the State Russian Museum and the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow) was held in 1956, in the year of the 150th artist?s birth anniversary. The main painting of Alexander Ivanov is a grandiose canvas Christ?s Appearance to the People. It is exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery. Its big dimensions (540 × 750 cm) made it impossible for transportation to either St Petersburg or to the building of the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val in Moscow, where a jubilee exhibition of the artist was held. The collection of the Russian Museum comprises about 100 paintings and about 100 works of graphic art and watercolours including 3 modelli for the Christ?s Appearance to the People (one of them is the closest modello to the original painting). The collection is representative enough. It enables to most fully trace the scale of creative oeuvre of the talented master. A number of the main artist?s works: early painting Priam Asking Achilles to Return Hector’s Body, Branch, Apollo, Hyacinth and Cypress Engaged in Music and Singing and Biblical Sketches belong to the Tretyakov Gallery. This is the first ever comprehensive exhibition of Alexander Ivanov in the Russian Museum. A special room at the jubilee exhibition is dedicated to the history of creation of the Christ?s Appearance to the People. The show comprises numerous modelli for this grandiose painting. To present it most fully, a big banner matching the size of the canvas (5.5 × 7.5 m) was made. The modelli from the Russian Museum collection are displayed on it. Such a striking and informative method of exhibiting has been used for the first time.