icons masterpiices of russian art
The collection of Russian paintings at the State Hermitage contains around 3,000 items. Over a half of them are portraits, which provide priceless iconographic material for historians. The portraits represent a wide thematic range - from images of Tsars and Grand Dukes to those of military, civil and cultural figures, members of the clergy, aristocrats, country gentlemen and merchants. The chronological scope of the collection largely lies between the 18th and the early 20th century. The portraits of this period kept at the Department of the History of Russian Culture are extremely diverse and reflect nearly all the major Russian artistic trends. The Hermitage possesses works by major Russian masters of the 19th century, as well as paintings by less well-known artists, which serve to complete the picture of Russian artistic life of the time. The permanent exhibitions "Russian Art and Culture of the First Half of the 18th Century" and "Russian Art and Culture of the Second Half of the 18th Century", housed in the halls of the Winter Palace, display the masterpieces of 18th-century art. The Hermitage collection is adequately represented by the canvases by Andrei Matveyev, Ivan Nikitin, Louis Caravaque, Ivan Vishnyakov, Ivan Argunov, Alexei Antropov, Feodor Rokotov, Dmitry Levitsky, Vladimir Borovikovsky. Many works by these masters in the Hermitage collection have become textbook examples of 18th-century Russian art.