The State Tretyakov Art Gallery

Tretyakovka – it’s the affectionate name Muscovites use to call the State Tretyakov Gallery – one of the world’s largest collections of Russian Fine Arts.

The Gallery is named after Moscow’s famous merchant and manufacturer Pavel Tretyakov. He started to collect works of contemporary artists in 1856, setting a goal to “collect the Russian Art School as it is in its gradual development”. Therefore the Museum’s history is believed to begin in 1856. In the early 1860s the collection was expanded with paintings from artists of the 18th to early 19th centuries and, later, with relics of Old Russian Art. In the late 1860s Tretyakov decided to gather Russian artists in the work on a portrait gallery of the most eminent people of the nation, “writers, composers and the Art’s persons in general”. It was an attempt to create a genuine national portrait gallery. It is believed that creation of such a portrait gallery was inspired by the opening of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Tretyakov had visited it during his trip to the United Kingdom.

The gallery was originally conceived by Pavel Tretyakov as the national museum of the Russian Art that would be open for a vast majority of population. In 1892 Pavel Tretyakov presented his gift to Moscow. He handed over his collection to the city as well as his brother Sergey Tretyakov’s collection which he received under his brother’s will. There were mostly West-European artists’ pictures and sculptures in Sergey Tretyakov’s collection.
The collection of the gallery comprised of 1287 art and 518 graphic works, 9 sculpture of Russian masters, 75 pictures and 8 drawings of the late 19th century European artists, mostly French and German ones.
In August 1893 the Museum was opened for free public inspection. Since that time and until 1918 the Museum was named the Moscow Municipal Art Gallery of Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov.

At the present moment the Tretyakov Gallery’s collection numbers more than 130,000 exhibits including over 50 thousand works of art of the 20th century. In 1985 the decision was made to merge the Tretyakov Gallery and State Art Gallery which was situated in the historical building at the Crimean Embankment and to preserve the historical name – the State Tretyakov Gallery. Still, like in the old times, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Lavrushinskiy Lane, one of the leading scientific and art centres of Russia, remains the good old “Tretyakovka” for all Muscovites. Moscow tours