Portraying Russia’s history

KRUPSKAYA Nadezhda 

Russia has started a grandiose project of presenting the country’s history through a large gallery of painted portraits of several epochs.
The idea of this exhibition appeared a rather long time ago, but, at first, many people argued whether this should be a web project or a ‘live’ exhibition of original portraits. Finally, it was decided to present the project in both forms.
The web portal called “National Portrait Gallery” is constantly expanded with new portraits.
The parallel ‘live’ exhibition in the Moscow Historic Museum, which will last until mid July, is growing probably not that fast, but growing as well.
Both exhibitions are drawing people’s lively interest – especially the web portal, where every picture is accompanied with a detailed annotation.
The Director of the famous Moscow Tretyakov Gallery Irina Lebedeva says:
“Our main task is to revive people’s interest in Russia’s history. Young people are often not very interested in history, by they spend much time in the internet – and we’ve decided that it is probably the best way to stir their interest in history through a project on the web.”
The idea of the web portal put an end to the concern of some museum workers that portraits from their museums may be taken to the exhibition in the Historic Museum for ever. Of course, there is no need to move a picture from one museum to another to put its reproduction on the Web.
True, some pictures will still be taken from several museums to the ‘live’ exhibition, but only for some time.
Director of the Historic Museum Alexey Levykin says:
“The main portrait gallery of such a great country like Russia cannot consist of copies or of second-rate pictures. It should have only masterpieces and only originals. Otherwise, our people just wouldn’t understand it. We have already received many positive comments about our exhibition – but this is because we present only originals and only masterpieces.”
Both exhibitions, the ‘live’ one and the one on the web, are supervised by a special commission, which is sponsored by the state. It is for money provided by the state that many of the exhibits have been acquired – for example, a large collection of portraits which was bought from Russian emigrants who live in Germany. ...

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