BEAUTIFUL LIFE MAGAZINE - Russian impressionism museum
Размер шрифта
Цветовая схема
Межбуквенный интервал
Межстрочный интервал
Version for the visually impaired
Temporary exhibition


20 June - 6 October

From 20 June to 6 October 2024 the Museum of Russian Impressionism will present the exhibition ‘Beautiful Life Magazine’, featuring ‘Capital and Manor’, the first Russian glossy magazine, issued from 1913 to 1917 and addressed at the aristocracy and high society. This exposition will include works published or described on the pages of the magazine, allowing us to view Russian art through the prism of tastes and preferences of the early 20th-century élite. Visitors will see paintings and graphics by Isaak Brodsky, Nicolai Fechin, Alexander Makovsky, Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva, and other artists. To coincide with the exhibition there is also a special project on the museum’s 3rd floor: here it is the turn of 21st-century artists ready to define their present-day concept of la dolce vita. 
The programme of the ‘Capital and Manor’ magazine stated: «The beautiful life is not available to everyone, but it nonetheless exists.» This life was revealed to readers as a kaleidoscope of balls, social events and country estates. Politicians, athletes, entrepreneurs, aristocrats, sophisticated debutantes and their high-status admirers, even pedigree pet animals, gazed from the centrefolds. These stories coexisted organically on the magazine pages with reports of previews and exhibition reviews, while the covers of all 90 issues were resplendent with colour reproductions of works by recognised old masters and contemporary artists.
The exhibition curators propose we take a closer look at the magazine, which usually remains in the shadow of art publications such as ‘World of Art’, ‘Apollo’ and ‘Golden Fleece’, although it represents a valuable historical source. This exhibition will feature pictures by famous masters — ‘common heritage’, according to the magazine’s editor-in-chief Vladimir Krymov, and also works by artists still unfamiliar to the modern viewer.
Sections of the exhibition refer to different features in the magazine and immerse visitors in the atmosphere of ‘Capital and Manor’. Nostalgia for the way of life on the country estate in the paintings of Stanislav Zhukovsky, Konstantin Vroblevsky and Sergei Vinogradov meets with the glittering life of capital cities in the works of Valentin Serov, Nicolai Fechin and Sergei Malyutin. Visitors will also appreciate theatrical subjects from the early 20th century, with sketches of scenery and costumes from leading artists of that era: Alexandre Benois, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Léon Bakst. The exhibition is complemented by extracts from articles, striking headlines, archival photos and advertisements from the magazine.
The exhibition will feature almost 100 works from 44 public and 12 private collections — the project brings together a record number of art collections for the museum, from Kaliningrad to Tomsk. The State Hermitage Museum, the State Russian Museum, the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Erzya Mordovian Republican Museum of Visual Arts, and others participated in the project.
Blind and visually impaired visitors can get acquainted with the exhibition on guided tours with audio commentaries, and by means of four tactile stations created with the participation of the museum’s inclusive programme partner, the Art, Science and Sports Charitable Foundation, as part of the Un Certain Regard support programme for the visually impaired. Three-dimensional models of the paintings are accompanied by scents based on works by olfactory artist Anna Kabirova. Upon completion of the project, these tactile stations will become part of the permanent exhibition at museums in Astrakhan, Arkhangelsk, Vladimir and St. Petersburg.
The special project on the museum’s 3rd floor invites us to reflect on what form the idea of a ‘beautiful life’ may take in contemporary art. Fashionable images and high society rituals, the chic and brilliance of everyday occurrence, irony and a nod at glamour and gloss are reflected in the works of Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov, Olga Tobreluts and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Kirill Kto and Misha Nikatin. Visitors can see works from the Ruarts Foundation, the Anna Nova Gallery, the Triumph Gallery, and important private collections. There will also be a chance for viewers to discuss different interpretations of the ‘beautiful’ at mediations.
Articles by curators Olga Yurkina and Yulia Petrova, theatre critic and journalist Sergei Nikolaevich and art critic Oleg Antonov are collected together in the catalogue to provide further information on the ‘Beautiful Life Magazine’: its history and heroes, the editor-in-chief Vladimir Krymov, and the role played by art on the magazine pages. Numerous archival photographs will also be included.
Yulia Petrova — Director of the Museum of Russian Impressionism
Olga Yurkina — Exhibition Department Specialist at the Museum of Russian Impressionism