French painting of the seventeenth, eighteenth and the fist half of the nineteenth century
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts can justly pride itself on its collection of old French painting. This part of the Museum has some 500 canvases representing all the main genres and schools of that period. Excellent canvases illustrate the art of the seventeenth-century Classicism, Rococo and Empire styles. Many important and typical paintings represent the work of Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Boucher, Joseph Vernet, Fragonard, Greuze, Corot and the magnificent Barbizon School. The pictures by Watteau, Chardin, Delacroix and Ingres are not so numerous, but are also important and characteristic. The development of French landscape painting is traced from Poussin throughout all this period. Excellent canvases by Largilliere, Nattier, Vanloo, Duplessis, David and his pupils give an idea of every stage in portrait painting from Louis XIV to the early nineteenth century.
The French collection was formed for the great part in the 1920s. But long before that many of its best pictures were known to the Russian public and influenced its aesthetic tastes: they began to appear in the Hermitage and in galleries of Russian noblemen 150 years before the establishment of this Museum.
The Hermitage art collection was started in 1763, when Empress Catherine II bought from J. E. Gotzkowski, a Prussian merchant, a collection of paintings that he had intended to sell to Frederick II, King of Prussia, but was unsuccessful as the royal treasury was in a deplorable state after the Seven Years' War. Though the bulk of that collection consisted of Dutch and Flemish works, it is thanks to it that the Museum owes its monumental canvas The Death of Virginia which was formerly attributed to Simon Vouet.
An important acquisition was the famous Briihl Collection which was purchased for the Hermitage in 1769. Count Heinrich von Briihl (1700—1768), Prime Minister of Saxony under Augustus III, had patronized the Dresden Gallery which during his term of office received its most important works. In his Dresden palace Briihl also had a large picture gallery where, among numerous Dutch and Flemish masters, were some notable French artists. (The pictures from Count Briihl's gallery were published as a collection of engravings under the title: Recueil d'estampes gravees d'apres les Tableaux de la Galerie et du Cabinet de S.E. Mr le Comte de Bruhl, etc., Dresde, MDCCLIV. (Only the first volume appeared; the second was not published because of the owner's death.)) From their works the Museum acquired Satire on Physicians by Watteau and The Denial of St Peter by Valentin.
The famous Crozat Collection was acquired for the Hermitage in 1772. Its purchase was negotiated in Paris by Diderot. Louis Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers (1700—1770), belonged to one of the richest families of France, which produced several generations of art enthusiasts and collectors. The Baron's uncle, Pierre Crozat, a banker who had been appointed royal treasurer, had gathered in his Paris mansion vast collections of drawings, paintings, stone carvings and sculptures. (A part of this collection was published by Pierre Crozat in two volumes of engravings under the title: Recueil d'estampes d'apres les plus beaux tableaux et les plus beaux dessins out sont en France dans le cabinet du Roy, dans celui du Due d'Orleans et dans d'autres Cabinets. A Paris, Imprimerie Roya-le, MDCCXXIX; second ed.: A Paris, chez Bazan, MDCCLXIII.) His excellent collection of painting, more than 400 canvases, was bequeathed to his elder nephew Louis Francois Crozat, Marquis de Chatel. Later its two parts were inherited by his brothers, but finally the famous collection was united again in the hands of the younger brother, Baron de Thiers. The new owner continued to enlarge it, and in his lifetime it won European renown. (A catalogue of the Crozat Gallery was published under the title: Catalogue des Tableaux du Cabinet de M. Crozat, baron de Thiers, . . A Paris, chez De Bure 1'Aine, MDCCLV.) The acquisition of this collection was probably the most important in the history of the Hermitage.
The French works from this collection, which were subsequently transferred to the Pushkin Museum, include Satyr and Nymph by Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with a Hermit by Francois Boucher, two pictures from Raoux's The Five Senses series— The Allegory of Smell and The Allegory of Taste, Resting in the Wood by Francisque Millet, Singing Lesson by Santerre, etc.
A number of very good Rubenses, Van Dycks, Rembrandts, and Murillos, seventy-odd works of the Italian school, almost as many German pictures, and twenty-two canvases by French masters of the seventeenth century came to the Hermitage in 1779 from the collection of Sir Robert Walpole (1676—1745), Prime Minister in the reign of George I and George II. Among the French paintings the most important were Poussins. One of them— The Magnanimity of Scipio—was transferred to the Museum in 1927. Earlier the Museum received another picture from the same collection — A Little Town in Latium by Gaspard Dughet. Until 1862 it had been in the Hermitage and after that in the Rumiantsev Museum.
The pictures from the collections of Briihl, Crozat and Walpole once formed the basis of the Hermitage gallery. Now many of them have been transferred to Moscow.
Very many French paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came to the Museum from old Russian collections nationalized after the October Revolution. The most important of them were the collections of the Yusupovs and the Shuvalovs.
Prince Nikolai Yusupov (1751—1831) was the most prominent Russian collector and patron of arts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (In Yusupov's lifetime his art collections were in Arkhangel-skoye, his country residence near Moscow. There they were seen by Pushkin who dedicated to their owner his well-known poem To a Nobleman. In Arkhangelskoye these "idols and pictures" were shown to numerous visitors and soon became one of Moscow's cultural attractions. After Yusupov's death the majority of his artistic treasures were taken to the family's St Petersburg residence, where they were practically inaccessible to the public.) He spent many years abroad. After his arrival in Paris in 1772 he began to buy works of art, sometimes dealing directly with the artists. At that time he focused his attention on fashionable works by contemporary French masters — Boucher, Vanloo, Vernet, Lancret, and Lemoine. In 1778 his collection, not yet extensive, was seen and appreciated by Bernulis, a well-known scientist and traveler. (Johann Bernulis, Reisen durch Brandenbourg, Pommern, Preussen, Curland, Russland and Pohlen in den Jahren 1777 und 1778, Leipzig, 1780.)
During his diplomatic service as ambassador in Turin, Yusupov continued to buy paintings and statues both for his own collection and for the Hermitage. Later, in Paris, he gave a number of commissions to Greuze and bought pictures by Fragonard, Vigee-Lebrun, Hubert Robert and other contemporary masters. Changes in artistic tastes, to which he was always responsive, made him pay attention to works of the Neoclassic movement. Soon he was giving commissions to David and artists of his school — Guerin, Francois Gerard and Gros. He also took an interest in the extremely popular genre painters — Boilly, Marguerite Gerard, De Marne and others.
After forty years of continuous collecting, during which he met many artists and art connoisseurs and could always afford any purchase, Yusupov succeeded in forming an excellent gallery of Western European painting. A catalogue published in 1839, after the owner's death, listed more than 500 items, including canvases by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Tiepolo, Murillo, Correggio and other illustrious masters of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The French section in Yusupov's gallery consisted of 130 paintings. More than any other section, it reflected the owner's personal taste. It had certain lacunas: the art of Poussin or such eighteenth-century masters as Watteau and Chardin was not represented at all. At the same time it included all the main exponents of the Rococo style: Lancret, Natoire, Lemoine, Boucher and others. The principal stages in the development of French landscape painting were illustrated by excellent compositions by Claude Lorrain, Joseph Vernet, Le Prince and Hubert Robert. There were numerous pictures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries representing different genres, schools and individual artists. Yusupov's heirs made several insignificant additions to the gallery, but basically its character remained unchanged.
After the nationalization of 1918 the Yusupovs' palace in Petrograd was turned into a museum. In 1920, the museum published a new catalogue of the gallery. Four years later the museum in the palace was closed and a greater part of its collection went to the Hermitage and the newly established picture gallery of the Moscow Museum. For the Museum it was a very important acquisition. Among the pictures from Yusupov's gallery, received between 1924 and 1930, there were about forty French works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They included Largilliere's Portrait of a Lady, Lancret's Company at the Edge of a Wood, Lemoine's The Rape of Europa, Hercules and Omphale by Boucher and two of Claude Lorrain's best works — the famous companion pieces The Rape of Europa and The Battle on the Bridge. These canvases featured as important links in this section and greatly enriched the gallery as a whole.
The French section also received a number of pictures from the nationalized collections of the Shuvalovs and the Bariatinskys. For several generations members of the Shuvalov family had bought works of art. In Count Shuvalov's St Petersburg palace these works were not arranged in any definite system, their function was purely decorative.
This collection was started in the second half of the eighteenth century. It could not boast great masterpieces, but had interesting canvases, mostly productions of the Italian, Spanish, French and Dutch schools. The Museum received seventy paintings from Shuvalov's St Petersburg palace on the Fontanka. Among the twenty pictures that entered the French exposition the most important were Christ in the House of Martha and Mary — a work by Lafosse that had once belonged to Crozat, Chevalier de Malte by Tournieres, several excellent compositions by Hubert Robert, Portrait of Count Andrei Shuvalov by Greuze as well as a large genre scene by the same author— The Fisrt Furrow. All these works were important in that they either introduced new names or made the already existing displays more representative.
The pictures that came from the Bariatinsky Collection (Prince Bariatinsky's collection was partly housed in the family's St Petersburg mansion, partly in the country estate Ivan-ovskoye, in Kursk Province.) included Vouet's monumental work, The Annunciation. The beautiful, highly artistic portrait of Countess Darya Saltykova, signed by Drouais the Younger, formerly was in the collection of Prince Golitsyn. (One part of Prince Golitsyn's collection was in Moscow, the other part - in Bolshie Viazemy, the family estate near Moscow.)
The Leuchtenberg Gallery (The excellent collection of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg was brought to Russia from Munich in 1852. At one time it belonged to Eugene Beauharnais, the son of Empress Josephine, who considerably enlarged the vast collections inherited from his mother. For the most part he bought paintings by the Old Masters, but at the same time acquired some works by artists popular at the period. His son, Maximilian of Leuchtenberg, married to the daughter of Tsar Nicholas I, brought the whole collection to St Petersburg. From 1884 the paintings were displayed in the halls of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts.) was another important source from which the Museum received many French paintings of the Empire period. That gallery originated in the first half of the nineteenth century.
The large collections of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century painting, which contributed so greatly to the Museum's French section, were gathered exclusively by rich noblemen. They marked the early period of art collecting in Russia. Besides them there were other sources — numerous private collections of more recent times—which played an important role in the making of the gallery. These collections were the product of a different epoch which was characterized by other aesthetic ideals and a new approach to artistic heritage.
From the mid-nineteenth century the main figures in art collecting were not aristocrats but progressive intellectuals and men from the middle class who looked upon it as an important public cause. Their interest was focused primarily on works of the Russian school of painting, which in those years was successfully developing. Among the collectors active at that period were Fiodor Prianishnikov, Kozma Soldatenkov, Vasily Kokorev and Pavel Tretyakov. All these men set themselves the task of promoting national culture through propaganda of national art.
The interest in Western European artists, which had weakened temporarily, rose again in the late 1870s. Now, however, the collectors concentrated on contemporary realistic art, which had much in common with the Russian school, rather than on the Old Masters. Characteristic in this respect was the activity of Sergei Tretyakov (1834—1892) who had begun, like his brother Pavel Tretyakov, by collecting Russian paintings, but from the 1870s increasingly turned to works of the Western European schools. His collection was very popular both with professional artists and art lovers.
Sergei Tretyakov bought his pictures from Moscow antiquaries (Corot's Diana Bathing, for instance, was bought from the art dealers Boussod and Valadon) and in Paris, at art auctions or directly from the artists. In Paris he often consulted A. Bogoliubov, the author of well-known seascapes and the founder of the Radishchev Art Museum in Saratov. Bogoliubov lived for a long time in Paris and was well acquainted with French artists of the period, especially with the landscape painters of the Barbizon School. Following his recommendations Tre-tyakov bought for his collection a considerable number of paintings, among them The Sea by Courbet, Fromentin's Waiting for the Ferryboat across the Nile, and several works by Troyon and Daubigny.
A good and exacting judge of art, Tretyakov selected his pictures with purpose and system, not allowing himself to buy irrelevant or mediocre works just for the sake of increasing their number. As a result he created a collection of very high artistic quality. Covering the development of French painting from the 1830s until the 1870s, it gave an idea of the most progressive artistic trends of that period. The leading masters of the time, from Gericault and Delacroix to Courbet, Millet and the Barbizon group, were represented by notable works. "Pavel Mikhailovich's brother," wrote Alexei Bakhrushin, a man of theater and literature, "collects paintings by contemporary foreign masters; he does not have very many of them, but all are first-rate." (А. П. Бахрушин, Кто что собирает?, Moscow, 1916, p. 22.) All those who were fortunate to see Tretyakov's collection noted its unique character.
In 1892, on the death of Sergei Tretyakov, all his collections, including eighty-four paintings by Western European masters, were bequeathed to the Moscow Municipal Gallery of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov. In the Gallery the foreign paintings were displayed in special rooms. In 1925 they were transferred to the Museum and occupied a prominent place in the French exposition, forming a kind of link between the sections of old and new art.
Excellent works by Corot and Barbizon painters came to the Museum from the collection of P. and V. Kharitonenko (from 1920 it had belonged to the Rumiantsev Museum).
Among the Russian collectors of Western painting active at the turn of the century Dmitry Shchukin (1855—1932) (Six Shchukin brothers, the sons of a Moscow merchant, all were devoted collectors of art. Dmitry Shchukin's gallery was displayed in his Moscow house, in Staro-Koniushenny Lane.) was a prominent figure. His first acquisitions, made in the 1880s, marked the beginning of a career that was to last for over thirty years. Shchukin bought most of his pictures in Germany. There he could seek counsel from such authorities on art as Bode, Tschudi and Friedlaender and was able to find some works of remarkable quality. After many years of unceasing activity Shchukin created what could be properly termed a museum. In 1914 he made a will in which he bequeathed his collection to the Rumiantsev Museum. When the collection was nationalized after the October Revolution and formed the basis of the Museum of Old Western Painting, its former owner was appointed special curator. In June 1922, the collection was transferred to the Rumiantsev Museum and later came to the Museum of Fine Arts. On the day when the Museum opened its picture gallery, the People's Commissariat for Education appointed Shchukin a member of the Museum Board and curator of the Italian section. Besides paintings, Shchukin's collection gave the Museum a great number of drawings, sculptures and works of applied art. The collection of painting consisted of 125 works of which 20 belonged to the brush of French masters. The most notable of these were Chardin's grisaille Autumn, reproducing a bas-relief by Bouchardon, Boucher's pastel A Woman's Head, Lancret's exquisitely colored picture Portrait of a Lady in the Garden, a large full-dress portrait of Adelaide of Savoy by Francois de Troy, several decorative canvases by Hubert Robert, and excellent works by La Joue, Le Prince, Taraval and other eighteenth-century painters.
Much poorer was the collection of G. Brocard which was acquired by the Museum in the first year of its existence. Though numerically it was one of the biggest acquisitions, only a few of the pictures were good enough to be included in the exposition. The illustrious authorship of the paintings given in the catalogue was in many cases unconfirmed. The owner himself "took liberties" with the pictures, having them cut to a desired size or adding details at his will. Subsequently the Museum had to dispose of such works.
The large collections mentioned above supplied the bulk of the material for the French section which covered the period from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century.
Besides these additions a number of interesting works were received from different organizations, archives and local museums. Two characteristic examples are the composition The Battle of Poltava by Nattier, a gift of the Sychovka town museum, and Portrait of Prosper Cre-billon by Joseph Aved, a contribution of the Tiutchev Memorial Museum in Muranovo.
Another important source of enlarging the French collection was the policy of purchases that has been pursued by the Museum since the late 1940s. The acquisitions from recent years included several excellent landscapes by Gaspard Dughet, Joseph Vernet and Hubert Robert, portraits by Voille and Mile Riviere, Van der Meulen's composition The Entrance of Louis XIV into Vincennes, works by Charles Jacques, Eugene Isabey and The Maypole Celebration by Jean-Baptiste Pater — a charming canvas that several times during the eighteenth century had been bought for the best Paris collections, but after an auction of 1805 had disappeared.
The best works from the French display of paintings of seventeenth to mid-nineteenth century are reproduced in the book. Below we intend to characterize this collection as a whole. Special emphasis will be laid on its masterpieces, the genres that are represented with greater fullness, and the work of the most important artists.
Different from the paintings of the French Renaissance, rather limited in scope and haphazard, the collection of seventeenth century painting is remarkable for its diversity and high quality of works.
Very notable is the part devoted to Nicolas Poussin in which the art of the great French master is illustrated by pictures of different periods and genres. The earliest of the pictures is The Victory of Joshua over the Amorites. Together with another biblical composition, The Victory of Joshua over the Amalekites, it was purchased for the Hermitage in the eighteenth century. According to Bellori and Felibien, the artist's first biographers, they could have been painted soon after his arrival in Rome in 1624. The importance of these works is enhanced by the fact that this period in the artist's career still presents many problems to the scholars. It is significant that The Victory of Joshua over the Amorites was chosen for Poussin's memorial exhibition in Paris (1960).
The next stage in the painter's work is represented by Satyr and Nymph, a picture from the Crozat Collection, and Rinaldo and Armida with a subject taken from Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. With its companion piece, Tancred and Erminia, it was bought for the Hermitage in 1766. The vitality of style, the beauty of the faces and figures, and the vigorous coloring executed with powerful strokes of red, blue and yellow united by the general golden tone all reveal the influence of Titian, which is evident in many of Poussin's works of the late 1620s and early 1630s.
The Magnanimity of Scipio, a canvas from the Walpole Collection, is believed to have been painted between 1643 and 1645, after the artist's visit to Paris made by order of Cardinal Richelieu in the early 1640s. This is already the creation of a mature master, and here the Classicist principles of Poussin are set forth with almost mathematical precision. The episode chosen by the painter has a definite ethical message: the triumph of honor and duty over blind passion. The two-dimensional design resembles antique bas-relief compositions. The subject is rendered with utmost clarity, the pose and gestures of each personage indicating the role he plays in the developing drama. The sensuous effects of the "Titian cycle" give way to local harshness of color and sharp, vigorous drawing. The figures are nothing but embodiments of definite human qualities.
The monumental work, Landscape with Hercules and Cacus, is characteristic of the artist's late period. Together with another Poussin picture, Landscape with Polyphemus, it was acquired in 1772 for the Hermitage. The pictures were bought from Marquis de Conflan in Paris for 3,000 livres. Landscape with Polyphemus was dated 1649, and it was believed that
Landscape with Hercules and Cacus as its companion piece was painted about 1650. A stylistic analysis made by A. Blunt, one of the leading authorities on Poussin, showed, however, that the picture must have been produced at least five years later. In recent publications it is dated even as late as 1659—60. Landscape with Hercules and Cacus is undoubtedly one of the artist's greatest achievements. The scene includes a motif from Virgil's Aeneid, but actually it is devoid of narrative or allegorical element. What we see is a broad and majestic portrayal of nature in all its primeval power and beauty.
Good examples of seventeenth-century Classicist landscape painting are Landscape with a Flock of Sheep by Francisque Millet, which came to the Museum from Sergei Obraztsov's collection in 1960, and Gaspard Dughet's A Little Town in Latium. The latter picture belonged to the Walpole Collection "and in 1778 was reproduced in an engraving by J. Mason—a sure proof of its popularity at the time.
The most remarkable among the Museum's Lorrains are The Rape of Europa antl The Battle on the Bridge, both coming from the Yusupov Collection. These are companion pictures signed and dated 1655. Commissioned by Cardinal Chigi (later Pope Alexaner VII), they belonged to his heirs until 1798, when they were bought by Yusupov. Another variant of The Rape, dated 1667, is in the Royal Collection in Buckingham Palace (London).
A work of high artistic merit is Landscape with Apollo and Marsyas. The picture was once in the Crozat Collection and came to the Museum from the Hermitage. Showing a woodland scenery, it strikes more intimate and lyrical notes than the previous two pictures with their broad and shining expanses of the sea.
A good example of the democratic trend in the art of the 1600s—1650s is Valentin de Boulogne's large canvas The Denial of St Peter, representing the evangelic legend in a period setting. A group of soldiers who are playing dice in a dimly-lit room, dramatic contrasts of light and shade — all this calls to mind the favorite motifs and effects of Caravaggism. The Museum does not own any original productions of Louis Lenain, but it has several works of his school. The author of The Fight could be Mathieu Lenain or some master of a later period — the problem still awaits its researcher. The motif as well as some details of this interesting picture are evocative of Claude Gillot's Scene avec deux porteurs de chaise. A fine specimen of Vouet's decorative style is The Annunciation. Its outward effects and dispassionate mastery are presages of academic art. Much more dynamic and vigorous is The Death of Virginia. The picture was one of the first acquisitions of the Hermitage. At present its traditional attribution [is disputed: some of the authors ascribe it to Jacques de Lestin.
The academic art of the late seventeenth century is represented in several large monumental canvases, mostly with biblical subjects. The most notable are Noah 's Sacrifice by Se-bastien Bourdon, The Presentation in the Temple by Laurent de la Hyre, The Judgment of Solomon by Louis Boullogne. These as well as some other works show the influence of Pous-sin's Classicism and the Baroque tendencies derived from Vouet.
The works of Charles Le Brun in the Museum collection show the art of the founder of the Royal Academy from a rather unusual angle. These are The Crucifixion, an early canvas dated 1637, and the dynamic profile portrait of Moliere.
A noteworthy part of the collection is the gallery of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century portraits. A contrast to the formal portraits by Largilliere and [Francois de Troy, with their rich finery skillfully conveyed through the texture of the paint, is the austere monastic image of the moralist writer Jeanne Marie Bouvier by Elisabeth Cheron. A foil to Duchess de La Val-liere Represented as Flora is Tournieres's Chevalier de Malte. The first portrait, deliberately artificial and decorative, preludes mythological disguises in portraits of the eighteenth century, the second is obviously related to the realistic tradition of Dutch art.
The conventional approach, characteristic of the time, is combined with subtle psychology in the formal portrait of a man in a red gown by an anonymous painter. The same penetrating insight into the character of the sitter is revealed by Rigaud in his likeness of Fontenelle. Whatever doubts may arise as to its traditional attribution, it must be admitted that it is a good and vivid portrayal. The small piece, Portrait of a Horseman in Blue, cannot compare with the aforesaid works in power of characterization. But when you look at this figure, playful and elegant, reminiscent at once of a court rout and a masquerade, you see a whole epoch come to life before your eyes.
Van der Meulen, painter of battle scenes and Court Painter to Louis XIV, is represented by several characteristic works. Beside his effective canvases we see Nattier's The Battle of Poltava — the only known battlepiece of this famous portraitist. The picture was commissioned by Peter the Great, who sat for his portrait in Nattier's studio in The Hague. In Russia it soon disappeared, and its whereabouts was not known until after the October Revolution, when it was discovered at the museum of Sychovka, a town in the Smolensk region. (It was found in Meshchersky's estate Dugino.) In 1926, it was handed over to the Museum. The "Rubensite" Charles de Lafosse is one of the historical painters of Louis XlV's time. The Museum owns several excellent canvases ascribed to this master of coloring, five of them are authenticated. They show the painter's art in evolution, from the early works executed in the traditional style of academism to Susannah and the Elders, obviously inspired by Rembrandt, using his glowing tones and vibrating light but handled by Lafosse in his own distinctive manner.
The section of eighteenth-century French art is remarkable for its size and diversity. Canvases illustrating all the artistic genres and trends of the time give a vivid and comprehensive picture of the French school at this stage of its development.
There are two early works by Antoine Watteau—Satire on Physicians and The Bivouac. Popular characters and scenes from Italian and French comedies were the subjects in many of the master's pictures. Satire on Physicians is probably nothing else but a scene from Moliere's Le Malade imaginaire or Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, which were popular in Watteau's time. This farcical scene shows the characteristic features of the artist's early work: elongated figures, a somewhat constrained composition, prevalence of subdued dark tones. It probably belongs to the period of Watteau's apprenticeship in the Paris workshop of Gillot. The Bivouac was painted in 1710 as a recollection of a trip to his native Valenciennes which shortly before that had been a war arena. Portraying a group of soldiers during a halt, it has none of the effects peculiar to battle paintings of that period. At the same time it is rich in narrative details, unprettified and keenly observed. Here Watteau already displays his remarkable gift of a draughtsman. Expressive representation of poses and gestures is combined with exquisite hues of the color scheme to lend the picture a highly poetic quality.
Unfortunately, the Museum cannot boast of any fetes galantes to which Watteau owed much of his popularity. On the other hand, this genre is generously illustrated by the works of his followers such as,Pater, Quillard and Lancret.
Pater's Maypole Celebration, which was acquired by the Museum in 1966, is undoubtedly one of his best works. Here, as in all his work, Pater does not display a gift for portraiture, but the rare beauty of colors testifies to his being a worthy pupil of Watteau. In the mid-eighteenth century the picture was in the Paris collection of Due de Choiseul which was sold at auction in 1772. After 1805 the painting was lost. An engraving, which for 150 years was the only remembrance of Pater's picture, helped to identify it when the canvas was again offered for sale After its purchase it was found out that for some time it had belonged to A. Likha-chov, an archaeologist and art collector who lived in Kazan and died in 1894. He must have bought it during one of his visits to France in the 1860s or 1870s.
The Museum's four Lancrets are works of very high artistic quality, in no way inferior to the best specimens of the master's art displayed in the Hermitage, the Louvre or the Sans Souci Palace in Potsdam. The attraction of Quillard's Pastoral Scene is the poetic landscape with a fine lacework of silver and bluish tones.
In the display of decorative Rococo painting we find the works of Raoux, Taraval, Vanloo, Natoire, Lemoine and other masters. Its most important exhibits, however, are eight canvases by Francois Boucher, representing practically every facet of his art. The earliest of them is Hercules and Omphale. In this youthful work there is already something that characterizes Boucher as a pupil of Lemoine and also an admirer of Rubens: a bold, vigorous stroke, saturated colors, a daring, energetic execution. Next comes Jupiter and Callisto (1744), a composition in predominantly light colors, somewhat motley and harsh. It is an example of the artist's later period, when his types were becoming increasingly conventional and the pictorial surface acquired enamellike smoothness. The pastel portrait, A Woman's Head, combines the features of the female type common to many of Boucher's works with an attempt at individualization. There are two landscapes in the collection, both remarkable for elegance and masterly composition. Landscape with a Hermit, with the subject taken from La Fontaine, is known to have been displayed in the Salon of 1742.
The art of Chardin, unfortunately, is not represented by any of his genre scenes. The Museum possesses only two still lifes, both of high artistic merit. Still Life with the Attributes of the Arts comes from the Petersburg collection of Princess Paley. The artist's works on the same subject, but differing in size and composition, are kept in the Hermitage, the Louvre and the Musee Jacquemart-Andre. A delicate, airy handling and fine harmonies of values make the Pushkin Museum picture one of the master's most successful works (H. Lapauze, Ingres, Paris, 1911, p. 352.).
As a recorder of the life of tiers etat Chardin influenced the art of Subleyras and Lepicie. Dumont's Savoyarde is another example of this realistic democratic trend. The picture was shown by the artist in the Salon of 1748.
The work of Greuze was tremendously popular with the contemporary public, largely due to dreamy-eyed, semidraped figures of young girls of mawkish sentimentality. Greuze, who had a gift for making his subjects at once moralizing and entertaining, was particularly valued by patrons of art. Thus, the gallery of Nikita Demidov, the grandson and heir of the founder of metallurgical works in the Urals, possessed twenty-five canvases by Greuze. Almost as many were included in the collections of Yusupov and Shuvalov. The half-length portrait of Andrei Shuvalov, which was acquired by the Museum from the Shuvalov family collection, testifies to Greuze's outstanding mastery as a portrait painter. The First Furrow, showing the marked influence of Rousseau's philosophy, is one of the most significant works in the artist's late years. The picture appeared in the Salon of 1801. The contrast between these two pictures and the canvases on gallant subjects, in the lighthearted and sometimes frankly erotic vein, received from the Yusupov Collection, is an indication of the dual character of this master's art.
The vivacity and temperament of Fragonard's art are vividly illustrated in the three small-scale pieces included in the exposition. Two of them—A Poor Family and A Little Organ-grinder — come from the Yusupov Collection, which contained four Fragonards (the other two were transferred to the Hermitage). The third work—a small study entitled At the Fireside— was discovered in post-revolutionary times by the Mozhaisk District Board of Education. The picture is not signed, but the authorship of Fragonard can hardly be disputed. Everything in this small masterpiece is pervaded by a real sense of life: the dynamic diagonal composition and the bright flashes of color against the dimly-lit brownish background.
A similar motif of a fireplace and stooping female figures can be found in some drawings made by Fragonard during his first Italian trip. A Poor Family and A Little Organ-grinder, showing a certain influence of Sentimentalism, are marked by freedom and freshness of handling, lyrical feeling combined with sly humor. This raises them above excessive sentimentality which was so common in works of contemporary painters.
Landscape and portraiture are the most fully represented genres in the section containing French eighteenth-century painting.
The magnificent canvases by Drouais the Younger, Vanloo, Aved, Nattier and Tocque carry on the tradition of formal portrait painting ascending to Rigaud and Largilliere. Examples of a newer tendency are the works by Subleyras, Greuze, Labille-Guiard, Vigee-Lebrun and Voille. These artists prefer to place the models in their ordinary setting. The gallery of portraits is completed by the portrait of Louis XVI belonging to the brush of Duplessis—a work remarkable for its fearlessness and force of psychological interpretation.
The gallery of landscapists is dominated by two names: Joseph Vernet and Hubert Robert. The reason why these generally recognized masters are represented by numerous works both at the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum was their great popularity in Russia. The Museum owns thirteen Vernets illustrating all the stages in the artist's career. The three best works, dated 1746, come from a series of eight pictures that was commissioned by Marquis de Vil-lette. Two of them — Sunrise and Sunset — still show an attachment to the Classical tradition of Claude Lorrain, combining it, however, with a more accurate and direct representation of the actual scenery. Landscape in the Style of Salvatore Rosa, an indication of the impact which the Italian master had on eighteenth-century painting, is a romantic composition with rocks, a cataract and armored warriors. A contrast to it is View in the Park of Villa Pam-phili — a scene in a corner of contemporary Rome, faithfully rendered and animated by the tiny figures of people who fill the paths and avenues of the park. In the "shipwrecks" of the master's later period the devices and composition become somewhat trite. There was a time when the demand for these theatrically romantic scenes was so great that Vernet was not able to meet all the commissions.
In the time following that of Vernet a notable figure in French landscape painting was Hubert Robert. The Museum owns a considerable number of his works, not all of equally high artistic merit. The best of them are marked, however, by genuine poetical feeling and artistry. A painter as prolific as Vernet, Robert had an extraordinary imagination and ingenuity in composition. He never repeated himself; the works collected in the Museum are another proof of this. The highly decorative style of his work made him a popular painter of murals. His success in Russia was probably even greater than that of Vernet. In St Petersburg he executed panels for the interiors of Shuvalov's palace. His work in Yusupov's country residence Ar-khangelskoye is the only surviving example of this kind in the master's legacy.
The works of David, completing the exposition of eighteenth-century French painting, illustrate the two main lines of his art — historical and portrait painting. Andromache Mourning over Hector is a smaller version of the picture that David presented in 1783 to the Academy upon application for membership. This work already has all the distinctive features of Neo-classicism which was to reform French art on the eve of the 1789 revolution.
The portrait of a young man, which at different times belonged to large Paris collections and was previously in the gallery of Sergei Tretyakov, was catalogued as Portrait of Ingres as a Young Man. At present the identity of the sitter is disputed by many French authors. But, whoever his model was, the great artist has created an image of remarkable spiritual power, which embodies in itself the features of the new romantic generation whose heroes live in the novels of Stendhal, Balzac and Musset.
The Museum exposition gives a very good idea of the art of Neoclassicism. It includes works of all notable artists of the time, with the exception of mature David. We can see here pictures of different trends and genres, from full-length formal portraits and mythological compositions by Gros, Guerin, Regnault and Wicar to landscapes and genre scenes by minor artists such as Granet, De Marne, Swebach, Drolling and Marguerite Gerard.
The huge equestrian portrait of young Prince Boris Yusupov, the work of Antoine Gros, was commissioned by the model's father, Prince Nikolai Yusupov, during his last sojourn in Paris. When visiting the Salon of 1808, the old prince was captivated by a portrait of Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, galloping on a mettled steed. He asked the painter to copy the horse exactly in the portrait of his son. The young prince is dressed in an exotic "Tartar" costume—a reminder of the fact that the family was of Tartar extraction. Though not the artist's best achievement, the picture is interesting as an early manifestation of Romanticism in the field of portraiture.
Next to the works of renowned portraitists (Portrait of Princess Maria Kochubei by Francois Gerard, etc.) we see likenesses painted by less-known artists: Laurent Mosnier and Mile Riviere.
Mosnier, who emigrated from France during the French revolution of 1789, came to St Petersburg in 1802 and soon became a professor of the Academy. His portrait of Ekaterina Mu-ravyova and her son is imbued with the warmth of genuine feeling.
Mlle Riviere's Portrait of a Lady with a Lyre is different from the previous work in that it represents a typified image reflecting the prevailing tastes of the epoch, its aesthetic ideal. Our knowledge of the artist's life is very scarce: we know neither her first name nor the dates of her birth and death. But it is known that she took part in several Salons where invariably she was a success. Anyway, her Lady with a Lyre with its precise drawing and pondered composition is an indication of a good classical schooling which characterized the works of even the less talented followers of David.
Pierre Narcisse Guerin, one of the pillars of the Neoclassical style, is represented by two works. Aurora and Cephalus differs only slightly from the Louvre picture of the same name. It has a tinge of romantic mysteriousness, but on the whole accords with the rules of orthodox Classicism. The execution of the other work, Aeneas and Dido, is marked by greater freedom and artistry. It is a small but beautiful study for Aeneas and Dido which is in the Louvre.
A great contrast to these compositions in the grand manner is the work of numerous historical and genre painters who did not win academic laurels but were a success with the public. The Museum owns a large canvas by Granet, the author of The Inner View of a Gallery in a Capuchin Monastery which in its time enraptured the Russian artist Alexei Venetsianov. His work belonging to the Museum— The Painter Jacques Stella in Prison — was exhibited in the Salon of 1810 and was bought then by Empress Josephine; later it was housed in the Leuchtenberg Gallery.
The leaders of French Romanticism, Gericault and Delacroix, or their famous opponent Ingres, are represented, unfortunately, by very few works. This serious gap is explained by the fact that in the period between the 1820s and 1850s the collecting activity of aristocrats was on the wane, while the new interest in art connected with the ideas of enlightenment, which were disseminated by democratic elements in the Russian public, did not reach its peak until the 1860s and 1870s. For this reason only comparatively few works of the Romantic school found their way into Russian collections. At that time its leading masters, such as Gericault and Delacroix, were still practically unknown in Russia, and romantic painting was mostly illustrated through the works of less important, though fashionable, painters, such as Couture, Paul Delaroche, Horace Vernet and others.
Gericault's Study of a Male Model and Delacroix's After a Shipwreck are the only examples of their art in the Museum. Like Portrait of Ingres as a Young Man(?) by David, these two pictures came from the collection of Sergei Tretyakov who, as we know, acquired representative works of all notable French painters of the period.
Study of a Male Model, an excellent piece with plastic modeled forms and dramatic highlights, evidently belongs to the time of Gericault's apprenticeship in the workshop of Guerin. The small canvas by Delacroix presents a rather interesting approach to the theme with which the artist concerned himself over many years, from Dante's Barque to The Boat of Don Juan and numerous versions of Storm on the Gennesaret Lake. The work was displayed in the Salon of 1847.
The Museum collection of Corots is large and representative. Originally it included seven highly successful works among which were two masterpieces: A Gust of Wind and Chateau de Pierrefonds. Subsequently it grew as a result of purchases and transfers from the State Museum Reserve, and now consists of fourteen pictures ranging from early works of the first Italian period to pictures of the 1870s, one of which is Diana Bathing. All these provide a very convincing illustration of the importance of Corot as one of the greatest French landscape painters of the nineteenth century. The Museum also houses very good and characteristic works by Theodore Rousseau, Diaz de la Pefia, Dupre, Daubigny and Troyon.
Ingres's Virgin Adoring the Eucharist (1841) was commissioned by the successor to the Russian throne, the future Tsar Alexander II. Evidently at the court it was found too "catholic" and very soon was sent to the Academy of Arts. Ingres's angry note referring to the reception given to his picture and to the way it was displayed at the Academy is cited by Lapauze. (In the Tretyakov Gallery Catalogue it was listed as The Sea at the Shores of Brittany.) The picture came to the Museum from the Hermitage. Thirteen years after the execution of this first variant the artist painted a new version in which he substituted images of angels for the figures of Russian saints. This later work is now in the Louvre.
The last link in the display of old French painting belongs to the leaders of the realistic trend — Courbet and Millet. Most of their works in the collection are landscapes representing a new stage in the evolution of the genre which was illustrated in the gallery by so many good examples from the seventeenth century on. Millet's Brushwood Gleaners (Charcoal Burners) is a very characteristic work, remarkable for brilliance of painterly technique. The Museum's four Courbets include a youthful and little known but very interesting canvas, In a Hammock. The best in the collection are The Sea,lK which A. Bogoliubov bought in Paris for Tretya-kov's collection, and A Hut in the Mountains, a production of Courbet's last years spent in Switzerland. A broad handling of form allied to an expressive elaboration of detail give this small and modest piece a sense of monumentality which makes it comparable with the large seascape. The intensity of color, the richly treated paint surface and delicate effects of lighting — the distinguishing marks of A Hut in the Mountains — gave Yakov Tugendhold, an eminent Russian art historian, good reasons to describe it as "one of the starting-points of all contemporary French painting." (Я. Тугендхольд, "Французское собрание С. И. Щукина", Аполлон, St Petersburg, 1914, 1-2, p. 8.)
Thus we come to the end of our review of French painting from Poussin to Courbet, which was based on the material of the Museum collection. The following pages deal with the second part of the exposition — works by the leading masters of the modern times.
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