© Photo: Armen Apresyan
From Rembrandt to Picasso and Marc Chagall, from Pieter Bruegel the Younger to Fernando Botero... European, American and Russian art from the 16th century to now are presented at the first Russian exhibition of antique art at the Volkhonka Fine Arts Center.
The first Russian Antiques fair organised jointly by the Volkhonka Fine Arts Center and several foreign galleries and museums has opened in Moscow. Strictly speaking, there are more than antiques at the fair: the works of 16th and 17th century German and Dutch masters are exhibited next to some avant-garde stars of the 20th century, such as famous modern Colombian figurative artist, Fernando Botero.
Tarkhov, 'Breton women' © Photo: Armen Apresyan
Galina Churak is an Art historian and heads the section of paintings from the late 19th - to early 20th century at the State Tretyakov Gallery. She shares with the Voice of Russia her impressions of the show. "It is very good that a wide spectrum of works spanning art from the 16th century to our days are on display for a mass audience. It is important that works of Russian painters are included in this international context. It is taking place not for the first time, but unfortunately, so far it has been not a widespread practice". According to Marina Churak, Russian art is not sufficiently known in the West, a historic situation that was shaped a long time ago by many factors. "One of the main causes was the notorious Iron Curtain, which blocked people as well as works of art from moving around openly", says Galina Churak, "we are now witnessing how people can freely move around the world, art now travels freely as well. And Russian art is gradually starting to open up to Western viewers, despite the fact that in this exhibition, the section on Russian art is quite modest, both in terms of quantity and quality of the selected works". Works of practically all styles and genres are presented in the halls of the Fine Arts
Cranach, 'The Virgin and Child with St. Catherine' © Photo: Armen Apresyan
"Old masters produce a very pleasant impression," Galina Churak points out. "As a person who specialises in classic art, I intentionally or unintentionally prefer the old masters. There are quite a few Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th centuries on show here. Pieter Bruegel the Younger, the wonderful work of Lucas Cranach, 'The Virgin and Child with St. Catherine' are examples of the highest standard. I don't think every museum has works of such quality. Besides that, one can see works by Alexey Yavlensky, an artist of Russian origin who belongs equally to the Russian and European schools of early 20th century art. Also on show are sculptures by Alexander Arkhipenko and Paolo Trubetskoy... Those artists, whose lives were connected to European art, helped reveal to the modern world the standard and
Rembradt, 'Joseph Telling His Dreams' © Photo: Armen Apresyan
quality of the Russian masters". The works of Fernando Botero are one of the star features of the fair. At present, Botero is the most famous and one of the most expensive Latin American artists of his generation. His art, deeply rooted in Colombian culture, is extremely popular all over the world. Leading world museums fight to own his paintings and sculptures, so full of sunny expression and good-natured humour. His sculptures decorate many European cities. Botero's works are very popular at art auctions and their prices often exceed a million dollars. There is only one work by Botero in a Russian museum; 'Still Life with Watermelon', which the artist himself presented to the State Hermitage and is on show in the hall of European and American 20th century art. Source: Voice of Russia