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The Russian Museum

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  • Unknown Russian Artist of the last quarter of 18th century. School of the Armoury Chamber. Portrait of Andrey Besyashiy – A. Apraksin.  Not earlier than October 1696 - no later than August 30 1698. Oil on canvas. 93x88
  • Unknown Artist of the first half of 18th century. Ivan Adolsky(?).Portrait of the Empress Catherine the First with an Arab Boy. The second quarter of 18th century. Oil on canvas. 56x47
  • Unknown Artist of the first quarter of 19th century. Portrait of the Unknown with the Letter.  The second part of the 1810’s – the first part of the 1820’s. Oil on canvas. 60x50.2
  • Unknown Artist of the middle of 19th century. Portrait of St. Ignatiy (Bryanchaninov). Between 1834 and 1851. Oil on canvas. 124x97
  • Unknown Artist of the second quarter of 19th century. Portrait of Merchant F. Gromov. The second quarter of 19th century. 204х151.5
  • Unknown Artist of the second quarter of 18th century. Portrait of Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna in the Russian Costume. 1796 (?), 1799(?). Oil on canvas. 60x47.5
  • Unknown Artist of the first quarter of 19th century. Portrait of the Young Artist. The 1810’s. Oil on canvas. 88x71
  • Unknown Artist of the middle of 19th century. Bruni, Fedor (?).Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna Similitude of the Virgin (?).After 1844. Oil on wood. 43x34.5
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22 August - 12 November 2012
Benois Wing

In the collection of painting of the Russian Museum that includes no less than 15 000 works, the part of canvases, that had lost the name of their authors as a result of clashes of their historical existing, is very significant – more than 800 ones.              Of course, at the time of their appearance in the Russian Museum the group of the authorless works had been far large. As a result of the detailed investigation of each of the works many paintings, sculptures and drawings quite often return their authors. Sometimes this hard process of scientific attribution acquires many-year efforts and is not always crowned with success. The attribution practice forces specialists to resign themselves to the fact that the significant part of works in any museum collection will remain nameless forever.

This exhibition will put together more than 200 canvases and the group of sculptures that are staying anonymous till nowadays. The most part of these works are dated   the 18th – first half of the 19th century. The exposition will be completed according to the thematic principle, It will include the following sections: “Parsuna (the 17th century Russian painted portrait) and portrait of the Peter the Great Time”, “Portrait of the Emperors”;“Full-dress uniform portraits”; “Children portraits”;Merchant’s portrait”;Portraits of priests”;Portraits and self-portraits of artists”;Genre canvases, interiors and still lifes”; “Historical painting”, “Allegoric canvases”;City landscape”. The longer a period between a work’s creation date and its arrival to the museum collection is, as a rule the more number of owners is staying between this work and a contemporary viewer, and there is more probably that documents and evidences on its author could be hidden in the annals of history. 

This exhibition may be regarded as one of the effective ways to confirm the fact that not only works by famous artists or sculptors have the significant aesthetic and artistic value, but the authorless works are no less important for the art history than masterpieces. The existence of such works is not only inevitable but also significant objective regularity in practice of prominent and prestige museum collections. The Russian Museum is the unique phenomenon from this point of view too. The section of its collection consisting of the works by unknown authors is distinguished by the great number of works and thematic variety. The materials presented on this exhibition nave not been presented before. These works are able to provoke the new impressions and to broaden the notion of different stages in development of national Russian culture. The long period of showing of these anonymous art works on the exhibition attracts an attention of specialists and viewers and evidently stimulates the appearance of new research and attribution ideas. This fact is especially significant when it concerns the art works with the lost in the centuries their authors’ names.

The exhibition is supported by OJSC Lukoil; Magnezit Group