Russian and Foreign Graphic Arts Collection
The Graphic Arts Collection numbers more than 2700 units of storage. The
basic part of collection is made of the works of printed works: all kinds
of engravings on metal and lithographs. Chronological frameworks of a collection
envelop the end of the 16th – 20th centuries.
Except for works by domestic masters, in fund are represented practically all West-European schools, America and Japan. The section of drawings numbers about 150 works. Basically, these are works by Russian masters of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century.
The historical nucleus of a collection is made out of about 450 works which arrived in 1924 - 1927 through the State Museum Fund. In the 1980s the collection replenished due to gifts and purchases from private collections of Moscow and Leningrad.
The Russian Graphic Arts Collection of the 18th - beginning of the 20th centuries numbers near 2000 exhibits. It reflects the basic stages of development of a domestic engraving and lithography. We can attribute lithographs of the middle of the 19th century to the most significant sections of the fund: series “Russian Costumes” by V.F. Timm, “Scenes of the Russian National Way of Life” by I.S. Shchedrovsky, illustrations to N.V. Gogol’s “The Inspector General” by P.M. Boklevsky, “Scenes of an Everyday Life” by P.P. Semechkin based on P.F. Fedotov's drawings. A series of portraits of prominent figures of the Russian culture executed by N.S. Voytinskaya (1909) belong to unique samples of Russian lithography. It expands known conception of iconography by K. Chukovsky, Z. Gippius, N. Gumelev, A. Benois, M. Dobuzhinsky, etc.
High art qualities differ a small collection of the Russian drawings of the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century. Works by I.E. Repin, Ê.Å. Makovsky, K.F. Bogaevsky, A.N. Benois, K.N. Roerich, Z.E. Serebryakova, A.Y.Golovin, K.S. Petrov, F.A. Malyavin reflect the searches of new ideas and artistic - expressive possibilities of graphic arts.
Drawings on location by Repin, Roerich, Ostroumova, Malyavin introduce to a scientific analyses preparatory materials to their known works. To the unfamiliar works belong drawings by E. Kruglikova, among them – “A Tour of Saint Michael’s Abbey” (1906) which is a group portrait of figures of Russian culture of the Silver Age.
The collection of foreign graphics includes basically reproduction engravings by the West-European masters executed in the 17th – 19th centuries in various techniques on metal and lithographs. Etchings by Durer, Callot, Rembrandt, Piranezi give an idea about author's engraving in which skills of drawing and engraving allow to create an artistic image filled with individual vision of the surrounding world and a human. F. Piranezi's etchings “Antoninus’ Column” and “Trajanus’ Column” belong to historically significant samples of the European engraving. Executed in the appointed scale of 1:10, they with documentary accuracy reproduce relief of the well-known monuments of antiquity.
Historical authenticity and high technical skill distinguish engravings from a series “The Italian Campaigns of Napoleon,” made by the French masters of the first half of the 19th century.
The well-known collection of painting of Count Brulles in reproductions by artists of the French school introduces us to the works of masters of various epochs. Some of the paintings were lost, and these now engravings are the unique documentary source, allowing us to create a complete picture of a history of formation of the largest private collections of Europe.
To the most valuable monuments of the art of engraving belongs the album issued in London in 1776 – “Drawings in Reproductions of the Best English Engravers,” including over 60 compositions. Collected from various private collections of England, they make the richest material on a history of the European drawing since Renaissance. Besides, the album is the original encyclopedia of engraving techniques which were developed especially for facsimile transfer of drawing features in sepia, coal, and watercolor.
The collection of Japanese graphics, small in a quantitative respect, possesses the rare artistic and ethnographic material dedicated to the most ancient people of the Eastern region – the Ainus. The watercolors executed in the middle of the 19th century by artist B. Hirasava, who spent a long time living among ainus, tell us about history and traditional culture of disappearing people.
As a whole, the collection Russian and foreign graphics has solid reputation of classical. It includes the works which have received reflection in a history of art. Besides in a section of graphics are kept the monuments of domestic and foreign culture having the big scientific interest for the world community.