The National Portrait Gallery will display an exhibition of Russian portrait works as part of a cultural exchange with Moscow it has been announced.

Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky  will take place at the Gallery from the 17th March to the 26th June 2016. The exhibition will feature a number of works featuring key figures from Russia’s golden age of the arts, between 1867 and 1914 – on display for the first time in Britain. The portraits come from Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery, which will be hosting a display of a selection of portraits of famous Britons from the National Portrait Gallery at the same time.

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Ivan Morozov by Valentin Serov, 1910. Copyright: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

To celebrate the 160th Anniversary of the foundation of both galleries, the Russia and the Arts exhibition in London will coincide with the exhibition Elizabeth to Victoria: British Portraits from the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, running at the State Tretyakov Gallery from the 21st April until the 24th July 2016.

For the exhibition, the State Tretyakov Gallery will loan the National Portrait Gallery 26 of Russia’s most highly prized portraits including those of: Akhmatova, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy and Turgenev.

These portraits were completed by some of Russia’s best known artists such as Nikolai Ge, Ivan Kramskoy, Vasily Perov, Ilia Repin, Valentin Serov and Mikhail Vrubel.

Meanwhile, the National Portrait Gallery will be loaning portraits of Dickens, Newton, Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth I, Cromwell and Darwin for the Russian exhibition.

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Anna Akhmatova by Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaia, 1914. Copyright: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery said: ” These two exhibitions in London and Moscow form an important act of cultural exchange for both institutions. Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky at the National Portrait Gallery surveys an extraordinary period of vibrancy in Russia’s cultural life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ”

Meanwhile, Zelfira Tregulova, General Director of the State Tretyakov Gallery commented: “We are certain that our projects with the Gallery today will form the basis of a long-standing relationship, and that we will have the opportunity to broaden the perceptions of both British and Russian audiences about the character of cherished figures in each country.”

Russia and the Arts will explore how Russian portraits enjoyed a golden age from the late 1860’s right up to the First World War. Visitors will also be able to see how the Realism of the 1870s and 1880s was then complemented by the development of Russian Impressionism and Symbolist painting.

Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky opens at the National Portrait Gallery from the 17th March 2016 and will be on display until the 26th June. 

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