From 25 September 2016 until 2 April 2017, the Drents Museum introduces the Dutch public to a group of artists that revolutionised the Russian art scene at the end of the nineteenth century: the Peredvizhniki. In turbulent times in which rich and poor were worlds apart, these artists chose to let ordinary people take centre stage in their art. The painting Barge Haulers on the Volga by Ilya Repin is generally regarded as one of the most important works in the history of art. The Drents Museum will show no fewer than 73 paintings by 36 artists from this group. These masterpieces are part of the collection owned by the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Peredvizhniki Group
In 1870 a number of painters joined forces in response to the artistic viewpoints and methods of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. This group included major painters such as Ilya Repin, Vladimir Makovsky, Arkhip Kuindzhi and Valentin Serov. They did not form a school with a specific agenda as such; rather, they sought more independence from state control. These artists wanted more freedom in the way they worked and in their choice of venues for their exhibitions. They called themselves ‘Peredvizhniki’, or wanderers, and also the ‘Association of Travelling Art Exhibits’. Their exhibitions were not limited to St. Petersburg and Moscow; they visited a number of other cities all over Russia.
The Peredvizhniki depicted the lives of ordinary people, and they did not shy away from subjects such as harsh conditions, social injustice and hunger. They also breathed new life into portraiture as an art form. They chose not only the cultural and intellectual elite, but also family, friends and ordinary people as their subjects. Nature and landscapes also featured in their view of realism. They painted the Russian countryside in all its grandeur, in fresh and bright colours. The spiritual aspects of nature and religion in particular became an important part of their work. Lastly, their work was also influenced by stories from Russian history and folklore. These elements met with a modern and patriotic approach in the art of the Peredvizhniki.
In relation to our own collection
Dutch art from 1885-1935 takes a prominent role in the collection of the Drents Museum. Peredvizhniki - Russian Realism and Repin 1870-1900 is the second exhibition in the series Art around 1900 in International Perspective at the Drents Museum. The Glasgow Boys - Scottish Impressionism 1880-1900 was the first exhibition in this series (2015-2016).
An accompanying catalogue to the exhibition Peredvizhniki will be published under the same title by WBOOKS of Zwolle.