Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London - Part III

Russia and the Arts - The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky
Sandra Nunes
National Portrait Gallery
London 2016
 One of the highlights of my trip to Europe this year was having to chance to attend this exhibition in London. A collection of portraits of Musicians, writers, actors, and artistic patrons is on display with masterpieces from the prestigious Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow
It is a parade of faces, feelings in a reunion of heroes from the end of the nineteen century till 1914. They are intense, tormented...

Modest Mussorgsky, 1881 by Ilia Repin

This masterpiece by Ilya Repin portrays the composer Modest Mussorgsky on his last days is of his life at the age of 42. The painting was commissioned by Pavel Tretyakov, the philanthropist who founded the state gallery, it was painted in a military hospital in St Petersburg.The composer sat for four difficult days in 1881, dying before the planned final sitting. Repin found it the most powerful and poignant commission of his career, donating his fee to a memorial for the composer.

Mikhail Vrubel, Portrait of N. Zabela Vrubel 
But while we are familiar with figures such as Akhmatova, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy , we are less familiar with the Russian painters of the time.Painters like Serov, Repin and  Mikhail Vrubel are almost unknown in the western hemisphere. We are much more familiar with Russian avant garde painters like Kandinsky and Malevich.

Fedor Dostoesvsky, 1879 by Vasily Perov
Dostoevsky's portrait by Perov shows a frail man sitting in the dark, pale and skinny, showing all the suffering he had during the years he was arrested, sent to a labour camp and the subsequent five years of enforced military service.
Nothing I can write here can describe what one feels seeing this masterpiece up close and personal.

"Russia and the Arts is an exceptional collection of works. Many of these had never left Russia prior to this exchange, and certainly most have never been seen in the UK before. But more than this, it is a genuinely fascinating show that reveals much of the variety in artistic styles in Russian painters at that time, and, in the shadows that haunt their sitters, these portraitists reveal much of the turbulence and turmoil that engulfed Russia in these years."  Huffingtonpost

Time to rest my eyes and do my "homework". Painting the postcard, after all  I am in London!
At this time of the year, days are longer, it is nice to watch the sunset at 10 pm! 

Sandra Nunes
Painting the London Bridge
London 2016
You can read London part II here

Posted bySandra Nunes at 7:07 PM  


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