Academy of Arts’s Museum holds one of the Russia’s biggest collection of the academic study drawing of the 18th-20th centuries the basis of which is formed by studies made by the scholars and graduates of the Academy from plaster casts and from models, replicas of outstanding works of the graphic art, as well as independent compositions. This unique collection let us track the path of development of the national school of arts from the time of establishment the Academy in the middle of the 18th century up to the present time. This material is always in demand and the evidence of this is regular participation of the drawing fund’s items in numerous exhibitions both in Russia and abroad.
But importance of the study drawing collection is far more than its tutorial advantages, as far as certain works comprised in this collection have obviously their special artistic value. First of all among these works one can find beneficiaries’ works of the founder of the academic school of arts A.P. Losenko and one of the first professors of the Academy P.I. Sokolov made by the masters after completion of the study during their training abroad. These papers together with their skillful sketches and studies were bought by the Academy from painters’ relatives in the end of the 18th century. Studies made from antiques and from models, replicas of the paintings of Renaissance and Baroque epochs are not only characterized by high professionalism, but seem to absorb the air of Rome itself – the unique depositary of the mankind cultural heritage of many centuries.
The drawing collection also holds studies of models made by outstanding Russian painters of the first half of the 19th century – professors of the Academy К.P. Bryullov, О.А.Kiprensky, А.I.Ivanov, А.Ye.Yegorov, V.K. Shebuyev, F.А.Bruni. Some of the studies are: sketch to a famous “Genius of Arts” of Bryullov, “Group of Two Models” of Bruni which brought to the thirteen-year old author a high reward – silver medal and “The Back of the Model ” of Yegorov which is unconditionally distinguished as one of the best paintings for the whole history of the Academy’s existence.
The museum’s collection also holds many study drawings of the second half of the 19th century. Among the works many of which were left in the Academy as samples there are drawings of subsequently prominent artists and teachers P.P.Chistyakov, V.Ye.Savinsky, N.S. Samokish, К.Ye.Makovsky, F.А.Malyavin, B.L. Grigoriev, Sh.L. Abugov.
Model studies of the Academy’s students and beneficiaries of the beginning of the 20th century are very often examples of a successful combination of academic traditions and best achievements of European schools of arts, for instance, sketches made coal of D.N. Kardovsky in the school of A.Aschbe in Muenchen and magnificent sanguine of V.I. Shukhayev and A.Ye. Yakovlev, the graduates of the studio of Kardovsky in the High College of Arts of the AA.
Collection of the drawing is far more than only study works. A big and a various portrait gallery of the museum comprises watercolors of P.F. Sokolov and K.Gampeln, I.N. Kramskoy, V.Ye. Savinsky and A.P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, silhouettes of Ye.S. Kruglikova. The Academy for many years has been practicing collection of paintings of its important members and teachers which were usually painted by the painters directly connected with the Academy. This collection was continuously replenished by the portraits of the students and the graduates. Among these paintings are the works of I.Ye.Repin (including the portrait of the AA’s president Great Princess Maria Pavlovna), dynamic pencil drawings made by Academy for many years has been practicing collection of paintings of its important members and teachers which were usually painted by the painters directly connected with the Academy. This collection was continuously replenished by the portraits of the students and the graduates. Among these paintings are the works of (including the portrait of the AA’s president Great Princess Maria Pavlovna), dynamic pencil drawings made by К.А.Somov and from his classmates of the studio of I.Ye. Repin, and his own pastel portrait made by his close friend and Repin’s student Ye.N. Zvantseva, salon “Portrait of the Architect M.I.Roslavlev” by S.A. Sorin, less popular portraits of I.Ye. Repin and М.А.Vrubel of time of their scholarship in the Academy and many other works.
The Museum keeps a rich collection of pencil drawings made by prominent Russian landscapers of the second half of the 19th century - F.А. Vasilyev and I.I. Shishkin, their works were specially acquired by the Academy as samples for the class of the landscape. A charming urban landscape of A.P. Ryabushkin “Winter Morning” is made with gouache in the style of the national historicism. This technique was also used in the border of the 18th-19th centuries by an academician of the landscaping G.Ye. Novikov for six replicas from the paintings of Sem.F. Shchedrin – views of St. Petersburg and its suburbs with their magnificent monuments of architecture. These papers which probably, in time of their creation, were purposed for gifting to high-ranking persons, are, as a matter of fact, independent works which combine color scheme with romantic interpretation of an artistic image.
Works made by Russian painters during their traveling throughout Russia and all over the world play an important role in the collection of the drawing. Unique artistic and ethnography meaning have water colors of М.Т.Tikhanov made by him during the round-the-world expedition on the boat “Kamchatka” commanded by V.M.Golovnin in 1817-1819. Of big interest due to their historic value represent the pencil drawings of the brothers G.G. and N.G. Chernetsovs made in the 1830s-1860s during their trips around Russia, Italy, Near East and the Caucasus drawings of G.G.Gagarin, though also among these works you can find rather expressive papers. Chronicle of the Caucasus War, life and lifestyle of the Caucasus nations are presented in watercolors and drawings of the academician F.F.Gorshelt who travelled around the Caucasus in 1858-1863 as a volunteer of the Russian army.
Theater and decorative art, as well as the book graphics are majorly represented by the works of the beginning of the 20th century with the most distinguishable works of L.S. Bakst and I.Ya. Bilibin. Unforgettable impression is left by painted by V.M. Khodasevich in 1927 sketches of costumes for the comedy of Plavt “Twins” made in watercolors, gouache and appliqué.
From the moment of its foundation the Academy’s collection of arts was purposefully replenished with paintings of West Europeans masters. Acquaintance with their works developed good artistic taste of students and helped master graphic basics. First-class studies made from models and sculptures of C.J. Natoire, L.Jouvenet, G.F.Schmidt were replicated by several generations of scholars. In 1767 the Academy’s President I.I. Betskoi handed over to the subordinate institute 31 albums with numerous paintings of Italian, German and French painters of the 15th-18th centuries. Among the works of unknown artists there are the papers of such masters as J. Palma-senior, L.Cambiaso, A. Carracci, J.Amigoni, P.Batoni. .
The Museum disposes of one of the world’s most distinguishable collection of the drawings of J.B.Greuze which is inferior only to collections of the Hermitage and Louvre. It was bought from the author by Betskoi and gifted to the Academy in 1769. It comprises preparation sketches to many prominent paintings of the artist, such as “Village Engagement”, “Paralytic or the Fruit of the Good Education”, “Comeback of the Drunk”, “Paternal Curse”.
The true pride of the Museum’s collection are three works of A.R. Mengs. These are the preparation cartoons to the paintings of the villa Albani and the Cabinet of manuscripts of the Library of Vatican in Rome. In 1781 they were handed over to the Academy from the Hermitage by order of Katherine II and were kept in the classes of the drawing as samples.
An absolutely special in its meaning exhibited item is connected with the name of this Empress; it’s made on the parchment and decorated with magnificent miniature paintings hand-written first Charter of the Academy of Art of 1764 provided with an autograph of Katherine II. It takes a distinguishable place among the relicts closely connected with the history of the Academy, such as the watercolor sketch of the plafond in the Conference-hall made by the Professor V.K. Shebuyev, view of the modeling class depicted by A.G. Venetsianov, sketches of the ceremonial decoration of the main façade of the Academy’s building made by М.А.Vrubel in his scholar years in the AA – relics which, as a rule, have both historic and a great artistic value like any other work produced by the Academy for 250 years of its existence.