Named after Pavel Tretyakov, the Tretyakov Gallery, in Moscow, is one of the most important art museums in the world. It houses a large collection of art, including about 2,000 Russian art works donated by its namesake. Tretyakov donated the works from his private collection during the late 19th century. From there, the collection grew and grew and the gallery now houses works from the 11th century right up to the 20th century. The collection includes works from famous Russian Realists and Impressionists, plus art nouveau works, landscapes, portraits and sacred icons.
Tretyakov made it his mission to promote national art and it is to him that some of Russia's most noted artists during that time owe their success. Tretyakov bought paintings and sculptures for his extensive collection. He then opened his collection to public viewing, so that anyone can come and appreciate Russian artistry.
The museum was formally opened to the public in 1892. The building, which is newly restored, is an attraction in itself. It is designed in the art nouveau tradition and is quite gripping and fanciful. The original home of Tretyakov forms part of the gallery. The first floor features watercolors and drawings harking back to the 18th to 20th centuries. There are also icons that come from the late 14th and early 15th centuries – most of these are creations of Andrei Yublyov. There are also icons by Daniel Chorny.
On the second floor, you can find paintings and sculptures from the 18th to the 20th century. Bask in the amazing artistry of Dmitry Levitsky, the naturalist and romantic masterpieces of Mikhail Lebedev or Silvester Shchedrin. Among the Russian masters that have their works here are: Vasily Perov (Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyesky), Viktor Vasnetsov, Nikolai Ge, Vasily Polenov and many others. You can also see the Volga Boatmen (by Ilya Repin), the Vision of the Youth Bartholomew (by Nestorov) the Symbolist painting The Princess Bride (by Mikhail Vrubel), and the magical Girl with Peaches and Girl in Sunlight (by Valentin Serov). There are also paintings by Nikolai Konstrantinovich Roerikh.
The present collection is so vast that the original gallery was first enlarged, then an entire annex was built. The plaques explaining the works are all in Russian. You can, however, buy a guide book or rent an audio guide so that you can explore the museum and appreciate the works with English explanations. The gallery is open on Tuesdays until Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., but be reminded that you can only buy tickets until 6:30 p.m.