Monday, May 6, 2013

Мечтание: The Tretyakov Gallery

Happy Easter, Orthodox-style! Moscow is filled with beautiful churches and today their bells were ringing off the hook. Breathtaking! I received a colored-egg as an Easter gift today and, in order to truly live up the holiday, made an egg-salad sandwich. Sometimes we get a little crazy in these parts...

Despite the month-long delay of Easter, our city has yet to hit resurrection phase. The greenery is there, but I'm sensing the buds are still another couple weeks away. With another chilly, rainy afternoon on hand, selecting a museum for today's Moscow adventure made perfect sense. And, despite having now lived in Moscow for 8 months, I had yet to explore what is considered our #1 art museum: the Tretyakov Gallery. It was time, my friends!

The Tretyakov houses a stunning collection of Russian art and shouldn't be missed if you're visiting Moscow. I am not nearly educated enough in the art history sphere, so I generally like to pick up an audio-guide to learn as I go. (Someday I will take an art history class!) My museum tolerance level, however, tends to top out at 2 hours so I've had to develop my personal viewing style. Here it is:

When entering a room, do a quick scan of all the artwork. For me there are typically around three pieces that immediately grab my attention, whether it be by size, composition, or subject matter. I'll glance at the rest of the art (especially if my audio-guide recommends doing so), but the majority of my time in the room is spent focused on the works that drew my initial attention, trying to deduce what specifically captivated my interest. 
Мечтание/Dreaming; Нефф
The wonderful thing about this system? It will never be the same. I know that the next time I visit the Tretyakov, I'll be in a different place and its likely different art will speak to me. Or maybe the same pieces will jump out, but for different reasons. It's one of the beauties of art in has a universal ability to communicate in a constantly fresh way.

Крестный ход у Благовещенского собора в Московском Кремле; Бодри
Христос в пустыне/Christ in the Wilderness; Крамской
Ночь на Днепре/Night on the Dnepre; Кунджи
For me, today it was all about light and faces. These are only a few of the paintings which made an impression, and in this vast collection there is much more discovery to be done! But, to steal an art-museum game from a friend, I picked one which I would like to take home. Today's choice? Neff's Dreaming, the first of the paintings included. Something about the girl's expression, combined with the light and colors, made me feel like I had left Moscow behind and entered a world of wonder. In dreaming their is hope, there is future, and there is direction. Her life is not determined by location or situation, but only the limits of her mind and fantasy. Reality is fleeting and rightfully so. She drew me into her dream and if the Tretyakov Gallery needed a temporary/permanent relocation for her portrait, I think it would contribute nicely to my cabin walls.

My one other visit to the Tretyakov was a few months ago, but we were a bit preoccupied with another art form.

I'm planning on at least one more visit before the end of the month and am convinced that I'll still only be brushing the surface of all this place has to offer! A Moscow must-see.


  1. I like your art viewing style. I have a very low museum tolerance, it's mostly the crowds I think for me.

  2. The pensive lady "Dreaming" artwork is divine, other worldly even. It pulls me to dream. I can stare at it for hours, I think.

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