The history of the collection (part 2)
Gradually collecting works of art captures a wider range of Russian nobility. Since the second half of the XVIII century, well-known private collections of counts Stroganov, princes Golitsyn, Yusupov and many other aristocratic families have their origin. The famous collection of Nikolai Borisovich Yusupov was placed both in the St. Petersburg Palace on Fontanka, built according to the project of Giacomo Quarenghi, and in the Arkhangelsk estate near Moscow and in the Moscow house of the Prince in Kharitonevsky lane. It is believed that Yusupov gave preference to French painting, but numerically it is markedly dominated by the Italian school (8). The greatest interest here represented the work of masters of the XVIII century, in particular, the Roman painter Panini, who in the genre of landscapes with motifs of ruins was the predecessor of so highly valued in Russia Frenchman Hubert Robert. A group of paintings by painters of the Venetian school – Sebastiano Ricci, Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Gaspare Diciani and a number of others-differed in Yusupov’s collection especially high artistic level. His real pride was the paintings of Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, including the small composition “Death of Dido” by Tiepolo’s father, which is now stored in the Museum. Many of the paintings in his collection Nikolai Borisovich purchased directly from artists, visiting, for example, in Rome, the Studio of the then famous Pompeo Batoni. In 1831, after the death of Nikolai Borisovich, located in the Arkhangelsk collection was taken by his descendants to St. Petersburg and since then almost not replenished with paintings by old masters. In 1924, the collection was divided between the Hermitage, the Moscow Museum of fine arts (now the GMII) and the Arkhangelskoye estate Museum. Some of the works fell into other Russian museums, or through Antiques was sold abroad.
The collection of count Alexander Sergeyevich Stroganov was also famous for its Italian section, which retained its integral form until the revolution of 1917 (9). Then for a short time in the Stroganov Palace was a Museum; in 1922, the paintings stored there were transferred to the Hermitage, and from there almost immediately a number of works went to the Museum. It is from this collection that Bronzino’s famous “Holy Family with little John the Baptist”, more commonly known as the “Stroganov Madonna”, comes. Thanks to the collecting activities of another branch of the Stroganovs in Russia was the composition “Mourning” CIMA da Conegliano, received by the Hermitage under the will of S. Stroganov. This altarpiece was painted for the Carmelite monastery in Venice, where it remained until 1799.
The works of Italian masters were the glory of one of the most famous private collections in Europe of the XIX century, the gallery of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg, which also left its mark on the history of the Museum’s art gallery (10). The history of the collection of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg dates back to the famous collection of Napoleon’s wife, Empress Josephine in the castle of Malmaison. From her daughter Hortense, Duchess de San Le, the Hermitage acquired about seventy paintings, among which was presented at the exhibition “Saint Sebastian” Guercino.
A keen collector was Eugene Beauharnais, Josephine’s son from his first marriage. As Viceroy of Italy, he had the opportunity to make an excellent collection of paintings of the Italian school, which numbered many outstanding samples. After his marriage to the Bavarian Princess Amalia Auguste Beauharnais received the title of Duke of Leuchtenberg and moved to Munich, where he moved all the paintings. In 1853, the Assembly again changed its location and this time it came to St. Petersburg, because by that time it had passed into the possession of the daughter of Emperor Nicholas I, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, who married Maximilian of Leuchtenberg, son of Eugene. After the death of the Grand Duchess in 1884, her son, Nikolai Maximilianovich Leuchtenberg, transferred the collection to the Academy of arts for safekeeping, where it was first able to meet the General public. In 1917, by order of the Provisional government, the collection moved to Moscow, and a number of paintings were immediately transferred to the Rumyantsev Museum, and then along with other works came to the Museum. A particularly notable group are the works of the Venetian school, of which the exhibition shows the “Circumcision” of Vincenzo Catena – one of the best repetitions of the composition, Dating back to the original Giovanni Bellini.
The formation of the collection of Italian paintings in the Museum owes mainly to the Moscow collecting, in full force declared itself in the second half of the XVIII century. English traveler Clark, who visited Russia in the early XIX century, was amazed by the number of paintings that he saw in the old capital, not only in the palaces of the nobility, but also in the houses of merchants, and the Russian historian and writer PP Svinyin wrote that “one England can compete with Moscow in the number and quality of original paintings” (11). In this atmosphere, the idea of creating a public Museum in the old capital was born and gradually took shape. For the first time it was embodied in 1810, when in a specially rebuilt building ensemble Golitsyn hospital was opened gallery, numbering about 500 paintings, as well as a large number of works of applied art. A. M. Golitsyn, the founder of the gallery, bequeathed it to the city “for the pleasure of the public” and “for the benefit of Russian artists who do not always have the opportunity to see good original paintings.” But in 1817, soon after the death of the founder of the gallery, began auction sale of the collection, the proceeds of which went to the hospital (12). Part of the works at this auction was purchased by members of the extensive Golitsyn family. The Trustee of hospital S. M. Golitsyn at which just there was a sale of works had own collection. His cousin, M. p. Golitsyn, also made himself a remarkable collection, with the light hand of P. p. Svinyin christened “Moscow Hermitage”.
S. M. Golitsyn founded a public Museum on Volkhonka, located in the ancestral city estate and opened to the public in 1865. The original decoration of the Museum was the famous Golitsyn triptych Perugino, now in the National gallery of art in Washington. The Golitsyn Museum in Moscow existed until 1886, when the entire collection was sold to the Hermitage (13).