The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation demanded that one of the main museums in Russia check the expositions for the presence of a destructive ideology. The check is carried out on the complaint of the applicant, who expressed dissatisfaction with a number of exhibits of the Tretyakov Gallery. This was reported on January 31 by The Moscow Times, citing a copy of a letter sent by the Deputy Head of the Department of Museums and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Culture.
The author of the complaint, Shadrin, expressed the opinion that the exposition of the Tretyakov Gallery “does not fully correspond to spiritual and moral values”, in the halls “there are works that have signs of a destructive ideology”, and the exhibits cause deep pessimism, a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness.
In particular, he noted that in the works of the second half of the 20th century, there are scenes of “numerous funerals, including in the presence of marginal social elements”, “drunken alcoholism”, as well as “voluntaristic interpretations” of the images of Russian rulers and cultural figures.
The complaint also says that in the Last Supper cycle, which consists of 13 canvases, “it is impossible to understand who Judas is,” and the Pieta sculpture, created in 1978 by Alexander Burganov, is a “devilish interpretation” of a religious plot since the Virgin`s head is missing.
“We are dealing with a typical Soviet way of dealing with objectionable art – allegedly by a letter from the people, which is given an official move,” a Tretyakov Gallery employee, who asked not to be identified, commented on the letter to The Moscow Times.
In November 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the foundations of the state policy for the preservation and strengthening of traditional spiritual and moral values. The list of such values included human rights, patriotism, service to the fatherland, family, and the priority of the spiritual over the material.
One of the largest art museums in the world
The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the largest art museums in the world. The Moscow merchant Pavel Tretyakov bought the building in Lavrushinsky Lane in 1851, and five years later he founded a museum of the Russian art school in it.
In 1867, the gallery turned into a real museum, opening its doors to the public for the first time. Before that, only members of the imperial dynasty and their entourage could visit it.
Tretyakov Gallery was officially donated to Moscow in 1892. For his generous gift, Pavel Tretyakov received nobility from the emperor. However, Tretyakov refused it, saying that he would better stay a merchant.
In Tretyakov’s will, one condition was specifically stipulated – free admission to the art gallery.
In 1986–1995, the main building in Lavrushinsky Lane was reconstructed. Three years later, the first permanent exhibition of 20th-century art was opened in the building of the New Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val.
Today, the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery includes about 190 thousand works of the 11th-20th centuries. The gallery itself consists of 106 rooms, the expositions in each of them are carefully selected according to the artists and eras. Now the area of the Tretyakov Gallery is 35.6 thousand square meters.