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Peter The Great. The Foundation Of St. Petersburg

Painting, 1838, 351×260 cm

Description of the artwork «Peter The Great. The Foundation Of St. Petersburg»

"Peter The Great. The Foundation Of St. Petersburg" - large-scale (260 to 351 cm) the painting, decorating the Grand staircase of the State Tretyakov gallery. It involves some interesting stories.

"Peter the Great..." - the only picture Venetsianov in the historical genre
This painting is not characteristic of the work of Venetsianov. Not having received academic art education, he was by no means a master of historical painting, specializing in portraits and rural genre. What made him undertake a project of this responsibility and complexity, what was the image of Peter, not having the necessary experience and aptitude.

Venetsianov got the idea to write "Peter the Great" for the competition, announced by the authorities of St. Petersburg. His sponsor was the millionaire Anatoly Demidov. The winner was awarded the prize of 8 thousand rubles – very large for its time amount. This can improve the faltering financial Affairs of an artist, spends all available funds for the redemption from the bondage and learning the art skills, capable farmers.

For paintings Venetsianov asked the Imperial office to give him suits of Petrine era.
Feeling insecure in the historical genre, Venetsianov official letter asked me to give him suits of Petrine era. He expected to wear them on sitters and due to this to achieve credibility. But I got the Royal office failure. The maximum that he was allowed to, is briefly to sketch the costumes in the store, why velvet coats Peter and his court do not look too convincing.

Too regular features of Peter are suspect
The award Venetsianov and has not received, although the competition was very strong. The Board of the Academy decided not to award anyone first prize.

Modern experts have repeatedly recorded the strangeness of "Peter the Great". First, the yellow-green sky was written not in venetsianovskoy. Secondly, astonished at the proportions of the stone (later it will be at the base of the "Copper rider"): for unknown reasons, in the picture it looked much smaller than it was in reality. Thirdly, painfully correct and mushy and therefore not expressive enough looked in the face of Peter (Venetsianov, by the way, portrayed it is not the first time).

The experts conceived the suspicion that the top layer of paint might not belong to the brush of Venetsianov, and to be later as "stratification". Made radiograph confirmed this assumption: under the second layer is hidden behind another. After a tense deliberation the restoration Council had made a risky decision to make a "clearing" of the canvas.

The top layer of paint, "Peter the Great" is not Venetsianova
The result though was somewhat predictable, still shocked: Thunder-stone in the original was indeed larger and proportional, and the face of Peter, the artist painted a much more brutal, but more emotional and alive. It turned out that earlier on the canvas, broke and unknown would-be restorer, correcting the situation on your own risk, "corrected" the work of Venetsianov.

In 2005-2006, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Tretyakov gallery, has been planned restoration of paintings. The above-described discoveries have been forced to make the restoration more profound and large-scale (report on the restoration of paintings Venetsianov and the new face cloth). The painting was returned to its original form. Updated "Peter the Great" returned to its former place at the entrance to the Tretyakov gallery.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Genre scene

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1838

Size: 351×260 cm

Artwork in selections: 12 selections

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