The exhibition «Excellent Students» opens at the Museum of Russian Impressionism


Russian Russian Impressionism Museum will present the exhibition "Excellent Students" about the European travels of young Russian masters – the best graduates of the Imperial Academy of Arts and the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from February to May. Aspiring ambitious artists at the turn of the XIX – XX centuries refused to imitate foreign masters and, rethinking the experience gained abroad, laid the foundation for a new round of development of Russian art. This turning point can be traced in the works of participants of retirement trips: from the academic works of Henry Semiradsky to the pictorial experiments of Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov and their followers.

The mention of foreign travel "for improvement in art" is often found in the biographies of famous artists. The exhibition will be one of the first major studies devoted to the retirement trips of the 1870s – 1910s, their influence on the formation of the style of individual painters and on the evolution of the traditions of the national art school.

The diversity of modernist trends in Europe at the end of the XIX century gave young artists new guidelines. So the academic subjects of Henrikh Semiradsky and Ivan Aivazovsky with ancient ruins and sea views are replaced by plein-air paintings by Vasily Polenov and Ilya Repin. After the reform of the Academy of Arts in 1893, which greatly simplified reporting on pensioner trips, the painters of the new generation – Efim Cheptsov and Mikhail Demyanov – capture the daily life of ordinary Europeans, referring both to the experience of the wanderers and to the bold manner of Vincent Van Gogh.

For many pensioners, educational tours become a period of active creative search. For example, Boris Kustodiev will appear before visitors with non–trivial plots - on the way to forming his recognizable manner, the master spends a lot of time in the Louvre in Paris, copies in the Prado in Madrid, makes sketches in urban cabarets and writes sketches in the Bois de Boulogne.

The exhibition will feature both famous masters and artists for whom the time spent abroad has become the brightest stage in their work. Visitors will see paintings by Nikolai Ge, Konstantin Gorbatov, Isaac Brodsky, Mikhail Demyanov, Alexander Yakovlev, Vasily Shukhaev and other painters from federal and regional museums, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Krasnodar Regional Art Museum named after F. A. Kovalenko, as well as private collections.

The exhibition will be the first art project in Russia, so extensively adapted for visually impaired and blind guests. Traditionally, tactile copies will be presented to selected works. Seven models created with the support of the partner of the inclusive program of the Alisher Usmanov Charitable Foundation "Art, Science and Sport" within the framework of the "Special View" program will complement the permanent exhibitions of regional museums at the end of the project. Scents-states from blind perfumers Pure Sense will help to make a full impression of the works.

The exhibition catalog will include articles by curator Olga Yurkina about the history of retired trips of Russian artists and Candidate of Art History Anna Poznańska about the European culture of the XIX century.

A special project on the third floor of the museum will show the works of European masters whose names are found in letters and academic reports of Russian painters on foreign trips. The exhibition will feature works by Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Eugene Carrier, Franz von Stuck and other artists from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

The works of some of them, for example, landscapes by Charles Francois Daubigny, delighted and inspired Russian artists, while others did not make a strong impression or left them indifferent at all. However, the canvases of Barbizonians, naturalists, realists and symbolists gathered together will make it possible to understand in what aesthetic environment retired artists worked at the turn of the XIX–XX century.

Abandoning the academic tradition, European artists plunged into the world of new themes and images. Modest landscape motifs and interest in the borderline natural states of the Barbizon school representatives largely anticipated the search for Impressionists. And the plots from the life of the common people and the heroes captured at their daily activities were in tune with the work of the wanderers.

The exhibition will close on May 23.


Henry of Semiradsky. The road from Rome to Albano. Etude. 1873. Tver Regional Art Gallery


Ilya Repin. A horse for collecting stones in the field. 1874. Saratov State Art Museum


Ilya Repin. Ukrainian. 1875. A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts


Vladimir Orlovsky. Porto d'Anzio. The 1870s. Rybinsk State Historical and Architectural Art Museum-Reserve


Semyon Nikiforov. Departure of the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III to the World Exhibition of 1911 in Rome. 1911


Boris Kustodiev. In the Bois de Boulogne. 1904. Kaluga Museum of Fine Arts


Mikhail Demyanov. Sorrento. 1913. Collection of Roman Babichev. Moscow


Alexey Kishchenko. Come back from catching mules. 1881. Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts


Konstantin Gorbatov. Chioggia. The 1910s. The State Russian Museum


Alexander Savinov. The balcony is covered with flowers. Rome. 1910. Volgograd Museum of Fine Arts


Dmitry Shcherbinovsky. Renee. 1898. Museum-estate of A.M. Gerasimov. Branch of the Tambov Regional Art Gallery


Vasily Polenov. Old Gate Vel. 1874. The state Museum Association "Artistic Culture of the Russian North". Arkhangelsk


Isaac Brodsky. Fairy tale. 1911. The State Art Museum. Khanty-Mansiysk


Mikhail Demyanov. On the river at the white bridge. Late XIX — early XX centuries. Khimki Art Gallery named after S.N. Gorshin


Isaac Brodsky. Children on the seashore. Capri. 1909-1919. State Autonomous Cultural Institution of the Yaroslavl Region "Yaroslavl Art Museum"