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The State Tretyakov Gallery

The Present and the Future in Portraits of the Past: cultural leadership in modern world

 In 2016 the State Tretyakov Gallery with the support from the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery (London) present a new format of an educational project as an instrument of museum promotion.

The Tretyakov Gallery will become a center for public discussions on value of culture and cultural leadership, a momentum for which is given by the invited exhibition Elizabeth to Victoria: British Portraits from the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery (London).The exhibition that will take place from April till July 2016 and will feature portraits of outstanding British historical and cultural figures who can be referred to as “opinion leaders” of 16th – 19th centuries. Each portrayed person made a significant impact on social, philosophical and artistic views of their days. Most of their discoveries, ideas and achievements continue influencing peoples’ lives even in the 21st century. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of lectures, workshops and documentaries dedicated to prominent figures in British history.

The basic concept of the National Portrait Gallery in London (to present portraits of famous British men and women) is similar to the idea of Pavel Tretyakov, the founder of the Russian art museum, to set up a portrait gallery of ‘faces that are dear to the nation’. Russian artists’ masterpieces portraying key figures of our country will be displayed at a reciprocal Tretyakov Gallery exhibition Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky  in London (March – June 2016). Tretyakov himself, as well as other writers, composers, theatre workers whose portraits he commissioned, are considered to be those cultural leaders who shaped the Russian national identity.

Both collections of portraits of most eminent British figures presented at the Tretyakov Gallery and of most influential Russian people displayed at the National Portrait Gallery initiate a conversation on the role of personality, value of individuality and importance of one person’s efforts in development of a nation and its culture, and in setting up socially important priorities.    

Who can we call a cultural leader today? What role does s\he play in formation of modern society values? This exhibition of portraits of prominent people of the two countries extends an invitation to reputed and influential representatives of Russia and Great Britain to talk about the meaning of culture and role of cultural leaders in the past, present and future.

Simultaneous programs for both exhibitions include workshops and discussions with Russian and British experts and practitioners specializing in cultural and cultural policy areas.

The Tretyakov Gallery experts will conduct the following events for their colleagues from the National Portrait Gallery in London within the framework of the exhibition professional program:

  • Lecture Sense of a face. Opinion leaders in Russian culture of the late 19th century: ideas, issues, timeliness.
  • Master-class Faces dear to the nation. Portraits of outstanding people of the past and the current generation. How to talk to kids about the role of a personality in history.

Concurrent program of the Elizabeth to Victoria exhibition in Moscow will combine a series of events both for the employees of the Tretyakov Gallery and for the public:

  • Lecture and master-class by the National Portrait Gallery experts Influence of a personality on cultural processes undergoing in the country in the past and nowadays. British perception of cultural leadership: traditions and innovation.
  • Series of public lectures about key British historical figures and film presentations British classics on Russian screens.

Russian and British experts in culture and cultural policy will also lead a number of workshops and discussions on The Present and the Future in Portraits of the Past: Cultural Leadership in Modern World.

The project will be presented at the Museum Guide Forum, which will take place during the XVIII International Festival InterMuseum-2016 in May 2016.