The State Tretyakov Gallery (Russian: Государственная Третьяковская Галерея) is an art gallery in Moscow, Russia, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world.
The State Tretyakov Gallery is the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world. It is located in one of the oldest directs of Moscow – Zamoskvorechye, not far from the Kremlin. The Gallery’s collection consists entirely of Russian art and artists who have made а contribution to the history of Russian art or been closely connected with it. The collection contains more than 180 000 works of painting, sculpture and graphics, created throughout the centuries by successive generations of Russian artists.
The gallery’s history starts in 1856 when the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection, which might later grow into a museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov presented his already famous collection of approximately 2,000 works (1,362 paintings, 526 drawings, and 9 sculptures) to the Russian nation.
Russian art works, ranging in date from the 11th to the early 20th century, are on the show in Gallery’s historic building on Lavrushinskiy Pereulok. New building of the Tretyakov Gallery at Krymskiy Val houses a unique museum exhibition of national 20th century art. Being built up to the 150 anniversary of the Tretyakov Gallery, an exposition meets all modern requirements of showing contemporary art.The exhibition is opened by the works of Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, the artists of the association “Bubnovy Valet”, whose creativity marks the beginning of the new Avant-Garde movement in Russia. The world – known artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Chagall, Kazimir Malevich (the painter of the “Black Square”) and artists of neoclassicism are also well represented. The hall with the reconstruction of the well-known exhibition of “OBMOHU” (Association of young artists) of 1921 is devoted to constructivism of the 1920th.The art works featuring “social realism” – an official style of totalitarian era in 1930-50s – are widely shown in the Gallery. Objects, installations, photographs, conceptual art created since 1950 up to now, are also represented as alternative directions of the Soviet art evolution.
The façade of the gallery building was designed by the painter Viktor Vasnetsov in a peculiar Russian fairy-tale style. It was built in 1902–04 to the south from the Moscow Kremlin. During the 20th century, the gallery expanded to several neighboring buildings, including the 17th-century church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi.
The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits, ranging from Theotokos of Vladimir and Andrei Rublev’s Trinity to the monumental Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky and the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich.
In 1977 the Gallery kept a significant part of the George Costakis collection.
In 1985, the Tretyakov Gallery was administratively merged with a gallery of contemporary art, housed in a large modern building along the Garden Ring, immediately south of the Crimean Bridge. The grounds of this branch of the museum contain a collection of Socialist Realism sculpture, including such highlights as Yevgeny Vuchetich’s iconic statue Iron Felix (which was removed from Lubyanka Square in 1991), the Swords Into Plowshares sculpture representing a nude worker forging a plough out of a sword, and the Young Russia monument. Nearby is Zurab Tsereteli’s 86-metre-tall statue of Peter the Great, one of the tallest outdoor statues in the world.
Near the gallery of modern art there is a sculpture garden called “the graveyard of fallen monuments” that displays statues of former Soviet Union that were relocated.
There are plans to demolish the gallery constructed in the late Soviet modernism style, though public opinion is strongly against this.
In May 2012, the Tretyakov Art Gallery played host to the prestigious FIDE World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand as the organizers felt the event would promote both chess and art at the same time.