Hermitage Collection: 1800s
The tradition of collecting art in Russia, began by Catherine the Great, evolved into state policy during the ninetieth century. On February 7, 1852 the New Hermitage Museum was opened to visitors, making it the first Russian public museum. Today's collection of ninetieth century paintings at the Hermitage is comprised of artwork owned by various collectors of the Russian elite who lived in St. Petersburg in the 1800s. After Lenin’s degree of nationalization in 1918 private collections such as those of Tsar Alexander III and Nicolas II, Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna and the Yusupov family were transferred to the Hermitage. The remarkable Kushelev Collection, which was bequeathed to the Imperial Academy in 1862, was transferred to the Hermitage Museum 1922 and became the real core of the Hermitage’s collection of nineteenth century European art.
Art Movements of the Ninetieth Century
During the 1800s Europe witnessed some of the most significant developments in the history of art and the Hermitage’s collection testifies to the tremendous creative innovations that took place during these years. The collection of ninetieth century painting amounts to approximately 1,000 paintings and represents the following art movements: Neoclassicism (1750-1850), Romanticism (1780-1850), Realism (1848-1900), Orientalism (1800-1890), Impressionism (1865-1885) and Post-Impressionism (1885-1910). Some of these paintings were in vogue when they were painted and some were not.
The collection of masterpieces that upheld the “ideal” of beauty, sanctioned by the Paris Salon, are represented by the art movements of Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Orientalism. One such piece is a tender painting by Paul Delaroche, A Christian Martyr Drowned in the Tiber During the Reign of Diocletain (1853). Delaroche never recovered from the death of his wife in 1845 and thereafter painted nothing but dead young women. The collection also includes one of Charles Chaplin’s many bird nest paintings, Young Girl with a Nest (1860), and Jules Lefebvre’s excuse to paint a nude woman, Mary Magdalene in the Cave (1876). Pushing the limits of Romanticism into a whole new movement called Orientalism is Ferdinand Roybet’s Odalisque (1870).
The whole article at https://musings-on-art.org/hermitage-museum-collection-1800s
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