In Russia, pastel technique appeared in the second half of the XVIII century, but never reached such popularity as in Europe. The first pastors known to us were invited foreign masters – G.-F. Schmidt, V. Eriksen, Gagelgans, I.-G. Schmidt, I. Bardou and their younger contemporary K. Bardou. Many of them were portrait painters. Their works are executed at a good professional level, in the tradition of cabinet portraiture. They are characterized by a picturesque solution, they carefully wrote out individual features, finely modeled faces, powdered wigs, carefully detailed clothing, thin foam of lace, the mysterious sparkle of orders, the gentle shimmer of tones typical of pastels. In these small, often paired, family portraits that once adorned the walls of Russian noble nests, live human faces, famous and unknown, appear in front of the viewer – people who have gone down in history but have not sunk into oblivion, thanks to artists who have preserved their appearance for posterity. Continue reading
The collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery contains about 800 pastels, some were purchased by P.M. Tretyakov.
Pastel must be stored under glass. It is very vulnerable: it can fall off from a concussion, all kinds of travels are dangerous for it, it is disastrously affected by direct sunlight, temperature extremes, excessive dryness or humidity. Constant concern for the safety of “loose” pastel works does not allow them to be often and continuously exposed. To see them in the halls of the museum is a rare and significant event.
The word pastel comes from Italian pasta – pasta or pastry. This is the name of the material for drawing, the technique in which the artist works, and, finally, the artwork drawn with pastel pencils. Continue reading
Under Catherine II, in 1764, a new detailed Charter of the Imperial Academy of Arts was adopted, and the close sovereign Ivan Ivanovich Betskoy became president. The Empress wrote: “For better encouragement and success, We, having taken this Academy into Our patronage … determine it to be under our sole Imperial jurisdiction, providing it with the amount necessary for its maintenance.” In the early period of the reign of Catherine II, a kind of “state utopia” of enlightened Russia arose, and the Academy of Arts had to play an important role in creating a visible image of the transformed empire.
Catherine II described her reign in a letter to her permanent correspondent, ambassador of the tiny German state of Saxe-Goth in Paris, Baron Melchior Grimm, ironically alluding to one of La Fontaine’s fables and, in addition Continue reading