Rembrandt in Russia in the 19th Century: Prints and their Collectors
From Jack Allen on May 4th, 2021
The lecture will be devoted to the phenomenon of 19th-century Rembrandt prints collecting in Russia, discussing three major figures – geographer, man of law and an amateur etcher, all of them - from the Russian hereditary gentry. All three of them were born in old Russian capital, the city of Moscow, all three spent a lot of time abroad but the nature of their collecting seems to be quite different. Senators Petr Semenov-Tjan-Shansky (1827-1914) and Dmitry Rovinsky (1824-1895) being on the state service from their early years, are famous as an active participants of the Great Reforms of Alexander II (1861-1864), acting in the process of liberation of peasants from serfdom, elimination of legal corporal punishment and establishing an institution of jury trial in the absolute monarchy of Russia. The third hero of the lecture, hereditary collector Nikolaj Mosolov (1846-1914), who multiplied the collection of his father and grandfather, was a freelancer etcher, Rembrandt’ fan, who could allow himself to devote all his life to the art of printmaking. Their collection had a very different fate. The ones created by Rovinsky and Mosolov (today, respectively, in the Hermitage at St Petersburg and in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow by the will of collectors) are preserved in relative intact. Rembrandts (as well as Durers) from Semenov collection, which was sold by him directly to the Imperial Hermitage (1910), were mostly sold by the Soviet government in late 1920s. How these three assembled their collections in Russia and in Europe, how they used them and how they studied them will be the main topic of talk on April 22, 2021.
Roman Grigoryev is a professor of Art History in European University at St Petersburg (since 2000), and a head of a Print section of Western Art Dept. in the State Hermitage museum (since 1998). Graduated from Russian Philology Dept. of Tartu University (those time in Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic), diploma topic “Artistic image of poet-hussar in the poetry of Denis Davydov”, tutor – professor Jury Lotman. Postgraduate course in the Hermitage (1983-85), doctorate degree in Art History from State St. Petersburg University (1996, dissertation topic “Battle prints in Russia: XVIII – early XIX centuries”). Curator of Netherlandish School Prints collection (since 1992). A member of Curators of Dutch Art Association (CODART) since 1996, coordinator of the Russian-Dutch international project under the UNESCO aegis “Conservation and study of the Rembrandt’s prints from Dmitry Rovinsky collection” in Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (1997), adviser in Grant program for Eastern Europe, American Council of Learned Societies (1998-2003), J. Paul Getty postdoctoral nonresidential fellow (2003-2003, Rembrandt’s Prints Reconsidered: The Pictorial Rhetoric of an Etched World), Clark Art Institute fellow (June 2003), Collaborative partner in research project of University of Cambridge, University of Amsterdam and State Hermitage Museum/European University at St Petersburg “The Power of Print: Dutch Propaganda for a new Russia” (2012-2115).