I have just got back from the exhibitions in the State Russian Museum. The museum itself houses an excellent collection of the Russian fine arts starting from icons and going up to the painting of the first part of the 20th century.
The current exhibitions are devoted to the works of the artists Makovsky, unorthodox Russian icons and Russian neoclassicism in the beginning of the 20th century.
The Makovsky family is a rare yet fascinating example of the inherited talent. The father and his four children all became distinguished artists both in the times contemporary to them and to us in the 21st century. I personally adore Konstantin Makovsky but need to admit that no one of his family drew worse than he did. It is just these abundant colors and positive subjects of his works that always attract my eye.
The exhibition on icons and objects of worship by unorthodox Russian believers was a surprise to me. Of course, I knew that the old rite survived after the reforms of Nikon in the 17th century. However it never occurred to me that there should have been something these followers kept in their churches. It turned out that they had quite a lot of interesting icons, unorthodox in their interpretation of the Holy Cross, spelling of Jesus name and usage of two fingers in blessing (instead of three fingers as it is a rule in the Russian Orthodox Church). Most of the secular stuff they used to have was expropriated in mid 19th century and was stored in local museums and private collections.
Neoclassism in Russia is represented by well-known Russian artists of the beginning of the 20th century and certainly is must-visit exhibition for everyone interested in this period of the Russian history. I personally do not like this style and therefore have to confess that these displays left me almost indifferent.
Anyway, these three exhibitions are a good combination of the versatile Russian artistic heritage and are worth a visit while visiting the Russian Museum itself (they share the same ticket). Oh, and the Russian Museum is one of the few in St.Petersburg which is open on Mondays.