Scenes from Tsarist Russia
Reborn in Pera Museum Exhibit

65 paintings in the exhibition, selected from the rich collection of the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg,
includes works by leading artists of the 9th century such as Repin Yaroshenko, Makovsky, Kuznetsov and Kasatkin.

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Istanbul's Pera Museum is hosting a selection of Russian masterpieces for the first time in Turkey. 'Scenes from Tsarist Russia: 19th Century Russian Classics from the Russian State Museum Collection' offers scenes of Russian history through the eyes of Russian Realist painters such as Repin, Yaroshenko, Makovsky, Kuznetsov and Kasatkin until March 2011

Displaying some of the most important works of art in Russian history, “Scenes from Tsarist Russia: 19th Century Russian Classics from the Russian State Museum Collection” opened its doors Thursday to Istanbul’s art lovers.

“I think that this exhibition will be one of the most significant art events in 2010,” Özalp Birol, culture and arts director of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation said Wednesday during a press conference to launch the exhibition.

Birol said the Pera Museum, which will host the exhibition, continued to establish a bridge between the world and Turkey through its exhibitions, catalogues, oral activities and film screenings.

This time the museum is bringing the masterpieces of 19th-century Russian painting to Turkish art aficionados, the director said.

“While featuring almost all sides of 19th-century Russia, this exhibition also gives a different joy to visitors, like they’re reading works by great Russian masters like Nikolay Gogol and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, thanks to the issues it handles,” he said.

Russian Federation Consul-General to Istanbul Alexey V. Yerchov said the exhibition symbolically reflected the ever-improving relations between Turkey and Russia, which have been on an upsurge since 1980.

“I am a bit jealous of Turkish citizens. They will see magnificent works in this exhibition,” Yerchov said.

Noting that the most famous Russian painters lived in 19th century, Yerchov said the painters that would be displayed at the Pera Museum were an intrinsic part of the country’s history.

Speaking at the press conference, Russian State Museum Deputy Director Evgenia N. Petrova said Russian culture had great importance in history.

The 19th century was very important to Russians, Petrova said, adding that they wanted to introduce the second part of the 19th century at the exhibit. “The 19th century Russian art attempted to reflect reality and real life rather than beauty.”

The exhibition, curated by Tayfun Belgin, will run until March 20, 2011.

About the exhibition

“Scenes from Tsarist Russia: 19th Century Russian Classics from the Russian State Museum Collection” not only presents a selection of masterpieces displayed for the first time in Turkey, it also offers scenes of Russian history through Russian Realist paintings.

Including works by leading artists of the period such as Repin, Yaroshenko, Makovsky, Kuznetsov and Kasatkin, the 65 paintings selected from the rich collection of the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg reflect the abolition of serfdom and the subsequent period, both of which hold a crucial place in Russian history.

It appears that this radical change, which took place in 1861, also led to a transformation in the Russian painting, which was traditionally based on academic principles.

Driven by the urge to depict life in a natural manner, the artists of the period began to choose their subjects not only from the lives of the bourgeoisie, but following this monumental change, also from among the themes of poverty, life in the countryside, children and changing social values.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News
4 November, 2010