The Wanderers made a huge contribution to the development of Russian and world art, creating a completely new aesthetic scale and expanding the plot circle of easel painting. Boldly experimenting in technique and composition, these creators of the new formation turned to social issues, transmitting through art their point of view, as well as the mood of society. The merit of the Wanderers lies in the mainstream of artistic and educational work.
But why are these painters called "Wanderers" and where did they move? Let's try to figure it out.
From riot to travel
The history of the Wanderers or the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions began with a bold rebellion on November 9, 1863. The 14 most outstanding students of the Imperial Academy of Arts refused to participate in the competition for the big gold medal, which included a retirement trip to Europe. The painters did not want to complete the task on the proposed plot (Feast in Valhalla), demanding creative freedom in choosing a theme, in accordance with the "personal inclinations of the artist."
All 14 painters left the Academy, creating for the first time in the history of Russia an independent art society - the St. Petersburg Artel of Artists. In 1870, the Artel was renamed the Partnership of Traveling Art Exhibitions. The new association saw as its goal the organization of mobile traveling exhibitions that could travel through the provinces of Russia, introducing residents to art.
Principles and Goals
He headed the partnership of I. Kramskoy, together with other members of the association he prepared a charter, which was approved by the Minister of the Interior A. Timashev. According to the charter, the goals of the Wanderers (as they began to simplify to call them very soon) were good, aimed at the benefit of society, and to ourselves:
- organize exhibitions throughout Russia, including introducing the art of the province;
- to develop a love of art and aesthetic tastes among the people;
- make it easier for artists to market paintings.
Democracy reigned in the organization and board of the Partnership - all issues were resolved through voting at a general meeting of all members. The charter in its unchanged form lasted 18 years. All forthcoming amendments to the charter were aimed at narrowing democratic principles.
The leading direction was realism, and in many ways this realism was accusatory and dramatic. The authors in their works sought to raise acute social problems - class inequality, injustice, poverty, etc.
In the end, the freedom once proclaimed by the 14 rebels, slowly began to fade again - not everyone wanted to shout about problems. The Partnership did not attract those who were fond of European impressionism, lightweight plots, or those who wanted to conquer the foreign public, offering their works to competitions or exhibitions abroad. It’s enough to recall the negative reaction of the Wanderers to the work of I. Repin “What a scope” or to paintings by K. Makovsky, written for foreign salons.
At one time, the ranks of the Wanderers were: I. Kramskoy, I. Repin, K. Makovsky, N. Bogdanov-Belsky, A. Arkhipov, V. Serov, V. Vasnetsov, I. Levitan, V. Polenov, A. Kuindzhi, A. Savrasov, I. Shishkin and many others.
Someone left the ranks of the association rather quickly, like Makovsky, choosing other guidelines for themselves, someone devoted the whole life to the Partnership, like Kramskoy.
Over the years of its existence, an independent art association has organized 47 exhibitions. In addition to the main exhibitions, there was always an organization of parallel exhibitions for cities that could not get on the main list. Thus, the geography captured by the Wanderers was more than impressive.
Moving from one city to another, these exhibitions carried culture to the masses in the literal sense of the word, which affected the upbringing of society, was a powerful impetus for the development of patronage of art, and often became a platform for the education of new artists and painters who elevated Russian art to the most high level.