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Paintings 1910 - 1940


©photos c.wagenvoorde

The Holy Face (Mandalyon), 1150-1190
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

According to apocrypha, Prince Avgar, the ruler of Edessa in Syria, had leprosy. He heard of Christ, who could heal every pain and sickness. He sent a portrait painter to Palestine with a letter, in which he begged Christ to come to Edessa to heal him. Christ could not come, but he wiped his face with a napkin, leaving a perfect reproduction of His face on it.  That image healed Avgar and protected the town from Edessa.
This icon is the earliest image of the Holy Face that has been found.


Our Lady of Vladimir (Theotokus), 1100-1130
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

According to legend, the icon was originally painted by St. Luke the Evangelist and brought to Contanstinople. Here a copy was made and sent to Kiev. In 1169 the icon was ceremonially placed in the cathedral of the Dormition in Vladimir. Since then it has been known as "Our Lady of Vladimir".  In 1395 it was taken to Moscow, to protect the city.


The Protection of the Mother of God, 1400-1450
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In about 1160 Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky introduced the Byzantine tradition to worship the Protecting Veil of the Holy Virgin in Russia. The tradition took root. It became one of the major religious festivals. In the Novgorod iconography the Veil over the Holy Virgin is held by Archangels and the Virgin is standing above the closed Holy Gates against a symbolic five cupola church.


Saints Boris and Gleb on Horseback, 1350-1390
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Saints Boris and Gleb werd murdered by their half-brother. The two prince were canonized around 1072 and are known as protectors of the Russian land and patron-saints of princes and warriors all over Russia.
The Tretyakov Gallery received this icon from the Moscow Kremlin Armory in 1940.


The Tree of the Moscow State: The Adoration of Our Lady of Vladimir, 1668
Simon Ushakov (1626-1686)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In the centre of the icon is a medallion with the image of Our Lady of Vladimir, framed in a garland of tree branches. The tree takes root in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Moscow Kremlin. The branches of the tree are decorated with medallions portraying Moscow Princes and Tsars, Patriarchs and Metropolitans, who through their good deeds and piety made Moscow the political and spiritual centre of Russia. The walls and towers of the Kremlin symbolize the consolidation of the Russian  state under the power of the Tsar and the Russian Orthodox Church.


Our Lady: The enclosed Garden, c. 1670
Nikita Pavlovets (? -1677)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This icon depicts the crowning of the Holy Virgin by the Angels in the Garden of Heaven. The symbolism of the image refers to the biblical text: "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain scaled..." An enclosed garden is a symbol of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the red carnation in her right hand a symbol of the blood the Savior shed for us.


Our Lady of the Holy Well, 17th century
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

According to the legend, Lev Markel met a blind old man while riding in the vicinity of Constantinople. A voice told him to take the old man to a nearby well and wash his eyes with the water of the well, and then to build a church on the site. Lev did as he had been told. This church was dedicated to Our Lady. The water from the well helped curing sick people.



Paintings 1910 - 1940

Portrait of Prince Fyodor Golitsyn in Childhood, 1760
Ivan Yakovlevich Vishnyakov (1699-1761)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The prince is depicted in the uniform of a horse-guardsman of the time of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna.

Portrait of Varvara Novosiltsova, 1780
Fyodor Stepanovich Rokotov (1735?-1808)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Betrothal Celebration, 1777
Mikhail Shibanov (?-after 1789)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Mikhail Shibanov was the first Russian artist who paid attention to folk images and themes drawn from peasant life. The bethrotal consists of the exchange of rings and small presents. The bridegroom comes to see his bride.

Portrait of Ekaterina II as a Legislator in the Temple of the Goddess of Justice, early 1780s.
Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

A heavy curtain of red velvet is raised and the "goddess-like" Ekaterina II appears before the viewer, as if on stage. In a ceremonial pose, with an extended hand she indicates the sacrificial altar where poppy flowers are burning ( the poppy is the symbol of sleep).

Red Square, Moscow, 1801
Fyodor Yakovlevich Alexeev (1753?-1824)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Emperor Paul I instructed the artist to travel to Moscow in 1801 to record its views. One of his first works was a depiction of Red Square with St. Basil's Cathedral, With the Place of Execution in front of it.
Alexeev interprets Moscow as an artist from the style of classicism: he achieves a clear and formal composition in the painting, and a harmonious relation between the vertical and the horizontal.

Portrait of Alexander Pushkin, 1827
Orest Adamovich Kiprensky (1782-1836)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Orest Kiprenski is the major portrait artist of the first quarter of the 19th century, whose work expressed the new ideals of human individuality derived from romantism.

Summer Harvest, mid-1820s
Alexei Gavrilovich Venetsianov (17680-1847)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Venetsianov's work is full of idyllic and patriarchal elements. In the noon heat a peasant woman feeds her child. In the painting, mankind is at one with nature. The earth and sky are presented as having an eternal and harmonious closeness.

Apollo, Hyacinth and Cyparissus, Singing and Making Music, 1831-1834
Alexander Andreevich Ivanov (1806-1858)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This is the first large-scale painting on which Ivanov began working in Rome after the year that he had been in Italy, and represents  a major example of Russian classicism. In a peaceful environment the artist depicts Apollo, the god of Olympus who was the patron of art and artistic inspiration, with his young friends.


Paintings 1910 - 1940

An Unequal Match, 1862
Vasily Vladimirovich Pukirev (1832-1890)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Vasily Pukirev is prominent among the artists of the "democratic"movement. He worked most notably in genre scenes. For the young bride, her marriage to a rich and elderly high official is clearly against her will.

Portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1872
Vasily Grigoryevich Perov (1834-1882)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This portrait is of the writer Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881), when he had already written his novels "Crime and Punishment"and "The Idiot". The work was created to a commission by Pavel Tretyakov, who was keen to see portraits of "those dear to the nation" in his gallery.

Rooks Arrived, 1871
Alexei Kondratyevich Savrasov (1830-1897
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

At the first "Wanderers" movement exhibition in 1871 Alexei Savrasov exhibited this painting. The first viewers responded strongly to this depiction of the beginning of Spring, and the closely-connected range of human feelings. Maybe because the lack of bright colors. Instead of that there is much light-grey and light-blue in it.

The Unknown Woman, 1883
Ivan Nikolaievich Kramskoy (1837-1887)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow



Paintings 1910 - 1940

  ©photos c.wagenvoorde

Colour Form Construction in Red, 1922
Alexander Tyshler (1898-1980)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Tyshler was inspired by Constructivism for this composition. He saw his ‘colour form constructions’ as ‘colour-dynamic tensions in space’. They form complex compositions of lively lines against a background of planes of saturated color.



Portrait of Felix Dzerzhinsky, 1923
Yevgeny Katsman (1890-1976)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Dzerzhinsky was a Russian revolutionary from Polish decent and the founder of the Cheka, forerunner of the security service – the KGB.
He earned his nickname ‘Iron Felix’ from the bloody reign of the Red Terror that instigated under the name of the Cheka. As symbol of the much hated soviet power, his colossal bronze statue in front of the Lubjanka, headquarters of the KGB in Moscow, was pulled down in 1991 by an angry crowd.


Portrait of Kira Alexeyeva, 1919
Robert Falk (1886-1958)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In 1916 in Crimea Falk met Kira Alexeyeva (1891-1977), the daughter of the famous theatre director and theoretician Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938). Like Falk, Alexeyeva belonged to the new generation of avant-garde artists. They married in 1920 but separated in 1922, after which she left for Europe with her parents and newly born child on a theatre tour. She later became director of the Stanislavsky Museum, which was established in her father’s old apartment several years after his death.


Russia, Labour, 1921
Nathan Altman (1889-1970)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The painting is abstract, but the title refers to the ideals of the new socialist State. Altman was one of the most important representatives of Constructivism, a specifically Russian art movement that appeared just before the Revolution of 1917 and which was characterized by abstract constructions of line, plane and colour.


Portrait of Midkhad Refatov, 1915
Robert Falk (1886-1958)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This modest cubist portrait shows the Crimean Tatar writer, journalist and political activist Midkhad Refatov (Ahmet Mamut-oglu, 1893-1920).
Refatov was executed by the White Army when they uncovered the underground Crimean communist movement he had established. Falk’s soft, dry use of colors and his Cézanne-inspired style were seen as expressions of typical Jewish melancholy.


Nude, Crimea, 1916
Robert Falk (1886-1958)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Many Western artists produced a form of primitivism based upon the exotic art of ‘primitive’ civilizations. Russian artists looked towards their own ‘exotic’ territories. Crimea, a cultural crossroads, formed the backdrop for Falk’s primitivist work.


Self-portrait, 1912
Nathan Altman (1889-1970)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

While studying in Paris, Altman came into contact with the Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In this self-portrait he combines Cubism with the style of ancient Egyptian sculpture, thus accentuating his Jewish features. In this way the portrait is transformed into a manifest of Jewish self-awareness and modernism.


Woman in Red Gown, 1918
Robert Falk (1886-1958)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This portrait of an unidentified woman is inspired by Paul Cézanne and modern French styles such as Cubism and Fauvism. It is typical of the work of the Jack of Diamonds, a group co-founded by Falk in 1910. The innovative and challenging character of the group is expressed in its name: in Russia the diamond motif was associated with prison uniforms and the Jack was a symbol for art.



Paintings 1910 - 1940


Paintings 1910 - 1940

Murals in Moscow by the Russian street artist known as P183.
Photograph: P183/Rex Features


P 183

Russian street artist P183 is covering Moscow with his politically charged murals – and says he's doing it for a 'strong, educated and cultured homeland'

Decorating the walls of Moscow with politically fuelled graffiti isn't met with quite the same admiration as it is in the UK, yet an artist known only as P183 has made a name for himself by capturing the zeitgeist of modern-day Russia in his work.
P183's portfolio includes a sprawling mural of a masked protester holding a flare, a CCTV camera fitted with machine guns and a cardboard cut-out of a young girl hanging baubles on a barbed-wire fence. After gaining notoriety when photographs of his art got picked up around the world, he is now preparing a new series that will be unveiled around the Moscow streets soon.
Dubbed the Russian Banksy, or "Bankski", his art resembles the world's best-known street artist, although P183 insists he has never tried to imitate the Bristolian. Speaking from Moscow over Skype, dressed in his usual black garb and balaclava, he says: "I fully understand that we both have a common cause, but I never sought to emulate him or anyone else. I use the songs of people such as Yegor Letov and Konstantin Kinchev for inspiration – not public figures."

P183 first began writing poems at the age of 11 on the Tsoi Wall in Moscow, which pays tribute to Soviet musician Viktor Tsoi. Then as he got older, he began to spray murals elsewhere in the city. Lately he has set up guerrilla installations, including a giant fork shoveling industrial piping that looks like a plate of spaghetti.
As with most street artists, P183's canvas is all too soon covered with grey paint by the authorities. "The city government is categorically against street art, so any wall drawings are painted over. Graffiti with political meaning and social subtext are painted over especially fast," he says.
At the mere mention of this week's Russian election, he scowls. "I'm not going to talk about Putin, it's too much. In our country, there is a very heavy atmosphere. People are closed-minded, and money is the most important thing. Our state does not support creativity. To me, street art is a tool to send thoughts to people."
His motivation remains "to have a strong, educated and cultured homeland". If photographers continue to get to his work before the authorities, he may help to achieve just that.

From: The Guardian



(to be continued....)