The presentation of Vereshchagin's painting "The execution of Conspirators in Russia"

1 Aug 2018
Description

The State Museum of Political History of Russia hosted a presentation of Vasily Vereshchagin's painting "The execution of conspirators in Russia". In 2017, the canvas was given to The Tretyakov Gallery for restoration and participation in the exhibition, dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the outstanding Russian painter. At the end of the exhibition, the picture was returned to The State Museum of Political History of Russia. Now it will be available for the citizens of Saint-Petersburg and guests of the city.


At the presentation, the museum's general director Evgeni Artemov recalled the history of the picture, which was written by Vereshchagin in 1884, three years after the execution at the Semenovskiy parade ground in Saint-Petersburg of the members of «Narodnaya Volya» who organized the assassination of Alexander II. Critics saw in the picture panegyric to regicides, so it fell into the number of the works banned being imported into Russia. Vereshchagin's work was resold several times, one of the owners managed to bring the picture to Saint-Petersburg though, but the police confiscated it. In 1921, the canvas was transferred to the Museum of the Revolution. The picture was exhibited until 1977, after which many decades it was not exhibited. "Now Vereshchagin's work will return to its place, to the museum exposition, it will happen literally in a month,"- Artemov said.


The main curator of The State Museum of Political History of Russia Svetlana Khodakovskaya thanked the staff of The Tretyakov Gallery for the work that was done to restore the canvas. "Now this is the most expensive thing in the museum collection," - she said.


The restoration of the painting was very serious: the canvas was under a thick layer of yellow polish, that took a lot of effort to remove, says the restorer of The Tretyakov Gallery, Alexandra Orlovskaya. Due to this, the author's intention was restored, numerous details of the picture became visible.


The exhibition of Vereshagin in The Tretyakov Gallery has prepaired for three years, it was represented by 500 exhibits from several museums and private collections. Two pictures from the "Trilogy of the executions" by Vereshchagin - "The execution of conspirators in Russia" and "Crucifixion on the cross of the Romans" - aroused great interest. Curator of the exhibition project "Vasily Vereshchagin" in The Tretyakov Gallery Svetlana Kapyrina said that these works attracted the attention of viewers and journalists and became the culmination of the exhibition: "Many people do not know Vereshagin, we are very grateful to The State Museum of Political History of Russia for cooperation." The fate of the third picture from this cycle - "Suppression of the Indian Uprising by the British" - is still unknown. Specialists are looking for her prints in the USA.


There is an interesting artistic solution is the "Execution of conspirators in
Russia." Before the restoration of the canvas, snowfall was practically
not visible, recalls Kapyrina. And this detail is important for understanding
the work. At the time of execution of the members of «Narodnaya Volya» on April
3, 1881, Vereshchagin was not in Saint-Petersburg. He arrived in December 1883,
went to the Semenovsky parade ground and asked the policeman for the details
how the execution took place. "At that time, snow began to fall,"
says Kapyrina, "but on the day of the execution, according to the memoirs
of contemporaries, there was no snow, the effect of white snowfall, which seems
to cover a heavy spectacle, was used by Vereshchagin as an artistic reception. The
artist pushed the actual execution to the background."