Great French Painting in the Hermitage

Great French Painting in the Hermitage

Great French Painting in the Hermitage

Great French Painting in the Hermitage

Excerpt

The main emphasis in this panorama falls on modern painting. Although the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries include superb works by Le Nain, Claude, Poussin, and Watteau, and although these masters are accompanied by a full retinue of their lesser contemporaries, it is the Impressionists and their successors who can lay claim to an unquestioned supremacy by virtue of their quality and their number. The Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the period from David to Manet are only fragmentarily represented.

Yet, it has been possible, in this book, to survey the entire course of French painting from Poussin to Matisse, and to illustrate it for the most part by its principal masters. 2 Indeed, some of these appear with several of their masterpieces. But in compiling this series of reproductions, the first to give the public an adequate idea of the treasures of French painting in Russia, it has been necessary not to exceed certain limits in bulk and price. As a result, dozens . . .

As our title indicates, the pictures reproduced and discussed in this book belong for the most part to the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. But recent exchanges between this Museum and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow -- the purpose of which has been to achieve a balanced representation of the French school in each of them -- justify our surveying the French paintings in the two great public galleries of the U.S.S.R. as a homogeneous whole. Thus, both reproductions of, and references to, a number of important pictures belonging to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow will be found in this book.

To enhance the documentary interest of the book, seventy pictures have been reproduced in a separate section which supplements the text with its illustrations. These additional reproductions are referred to as figures, the large ones in the text are called plates.

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