Dreams about freedom. Russian & German Romanticism - an exhibtion in the Tretyakov

This peculiar exhibition in the New Tretyakov (Krymsky Val, 10, entrance is on the side of the building) will be opened until August 22nd.

To say the truth I used to pass this era paintings in the museums. After visiting this exhibition in the New Tretyakov, I understood how deeply wrong I was considering the Romanticism less intriguing, than, say, the artistic experiments of the end of the century. This show compares German and Russian art of the same period (from the Napoleon's wars - to the 1840ss) finding some mutual themes and problems it explored.

One of such themes is rise of self-recognition of European nations. Napoleon's wars redraw the map of Europe. In the fractured nations of Germany an understanding of the country's own identity served as the foundation for the country’s self-consciousness. The same was happening in Russia, which, after the military campaign of 1812, established itself as a leading European power and left behind a slavish gallomania (love for everything French). Both German and Russian artists exalted the beauty of their native lands, depicting ordinary (but so dear) forest clearings, river and ocean shoresand and limitless fields of their motherlands instead of painting some idealized landscape.

Another common point both countries' artists shared was an interest to childhood. Until the Romantic period, childhood was seen as a period that was to be overcome as quickly as possible in order to become a full member of society. The Romantics’ achievement was in opening up a child’s world and redefining childhood the most important step in human life. Children was seen as a full-fledged personalities but nevertheless as children rather than tiny adults.

Some of the theme on the exhibition are illustrated with a contemporary artist's work on the same subject. For example, "Impossibility of freedom" has a video clip showing a man walking in circles ankle-deep in liquid concrete which gets thicker and thicker... Its message is explained both in Russian and English - as well as for all other exhibits.


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