Dates: Nov. 17, 2018~ Feb. 17, 2019
Hours: Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 / 09:00-16:00 on Feb. 4
Final admission: 16:30 / 15:30 on Feb. 4
Venue: Exhibition Area II, 1F, Library Building, National Palace Museum
History of Pushkin Museum
At the end of 1896 the terms and conditions for a competition to design a building for a museum of fine arts bearing the name of Alexander III and affiliated to Moscow University appeared in the St. Petersburg and Moscow press. That was the moment in the Museum's history when the plan devised by Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev (1847-1913) for the creation of an art museum for the general public and the promotion of education ceased to be a mere dream and began to take real shape.
Nineteen architects from several different towns in Russia entered the competition. Fifteen of their designs were examined in detail and seven singled out for awards. One of the seven architects involved was selected by the University board to build the museum – a young but already well-known Moscow architect, Roman Ivanovich Klein (1858-1929). It was he who then proceeded to elaborate final plans for the project.
The building was erected in accordance with the latest requirements of building technology and museum design. On the outside it had the appearance of a Classical temple on a high podium with an Ionic colonnade along its façade. Its glass roof ensured that there was sufficient daylight in the first-floor galleries and the two atrium- courtyards.
Ivan Tsvetaev himself was to play a considerable role in shaping the Museum's appearance, being interested not merely in its architecture as such but also in its educational function as a reflection of the history of architecture. Anxious to avoid the kind of eclectic combination of different styles popular at that time, Tsvetaev, when drawing up the terms and conditions for the architectural competition, had insisted that the plans submitted by those entering should be either in the Classical style or that of the Renaissance period. It was also specified that the decoration of the interiors should incorporate elements of a range of historical periods in keeping with the items on display.
Children 6 years old and older and R.O.C. students with valid student ID（excluding masters and PHD）
R.O.C. citizens 65 years old or older with valid ID
People with disabilities and one accompanying person
Children under 6 years old with valid ID
※ Discount policies cannot be combined.
※ 10% off ticket discount is available when purchased Regular ticket by CTBC Bank credit card.
Coming to Taiwan from Moscow’s Pushkin Museum, renowned for its collection of prized French paintings, are 65 landscape paintings from the 17th to the 20th century. From images of myth and yearning for antiquity to scenes of rustic life and bustling Paris streets and, finally, to boundless landscapes of the imagination, the exhibition will survey the development of modern French landscape painting, moving chronologically, region by region. Set in varying circumstances, the paintings will evoke the smells of the land, brilliance of sunlight, windswept trees, and din of cities.
Chapter 1: Springs of Modern Landscape Paintings
We enjoy looking at scenery in the same manner as we appreciate a painting. The expression “a picturesque landscape” hardly sounds odd to us. Be that as it may, it is noteworthy that such a manner of appreciating landscape views had taken root among people as late as the second half of the 18th century. People first discovered the beauty of nature in paintings, and then opened their eyes to the real views of nature. Originally, in the history of Western painting, landscapes had not long been chosen as a specific subject; they were initially backgrounds to main subjects. That mere “backgrounds” came under the spotlight and, in due course of time, they were promoted to the position as an independent genre―this chapter introduces the dawn of landscape painting in the 17th century.
Take idealized landscapes by Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet. Or fanciful and elegant fêtes galantes by Nicolas Lancret and paintings of ruins by Hubert Robert, which stirs adoration for ancient times. These paintings did not always depict nature as it was. The depiction of landscapes, which were “adjusted” illuminated by the light of rationality, would tell us what the aspect of nature that should be observed is.
Chapter 2: Admiration for Nature
It may be too simplistic to consider that landscapes in paintings actually exist somewhere out there. In fact, most of the landscape backgrounds for figures such as gods, saints and great persons were tailored and adjusted in order to provide ideal settings. Such treatment of landscapes, however, was to undergo a gradual change. In the 19th-century European civil societies, painters aspired to presentation of landscapes connected to reality of everyday, ordinary life.
Having taken over power from royalty and titled nobility, the newly-emergent class of citizens (bourgeoisie) started to define the style of art in tune with their realities. Large-scale paintings dealing mainly with mythological, religious or historical subjects were replaced by smaller-sized paintings with more familiar and comprehensible themes. For example, a group of painters who gathered at the village of Barbizon near the Forest of Fontainebleau in the suburbs of Paris drew inspiration from the rural landscapes there. It comes as no surprise that these city dwellers casted a yearning eye toward the lives of peasant folks, whose names they did not know. Underlying their landscape paintings rooted in realities was the changes in bearers of art and the notion of “paintings that should be created.”
Chapter 3: Cityscapes of Paris
From here, we will see the spread outward from the Paris Metropolis of landscape painting by the Impressionists and the generation of artists who followed them, focusing on the places depicted in these paintings.
In the mid-19th century, a massive urban renewal program, which was compared to a surgical operation, was launched. This program, commonly referred to as “Haussmann’s renovation of Paris,” transformed the city landscape dramatically. Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809-1891), who had assumed the office of prefect of the Seine Department in 1853, was chosen by Emperor Napoléon III (1808-1873) to carry out this major project. It included the development of wide boulevards, public parks and squares as well as the construction of appartement (multistory apartment houses) and huge public buildings. At the same time, however, many medieval neighborhoods were demolished and not a few workers and poor people were forced from the city to the surrounding areas.
Impressionists and other painters who lived through the turn of the century walked around the modernized Paris and produced many landscape paintings. People enjoying modern urban life and pedestrians from all walks of life were captured on canvases through friendly and sometimes keen eyes of these painters. In the eyes of those artists, who had experienced the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the rebellion of the Paris Commune in 1871 that inflicted a heavy sacrifice on civilians, the landscape of the steadily-recovering city and mundane everyday life in Paris must have seemed even more glorious. The night view illuminated by street lamps and store-window lighting and the bird’s-eye view of the city that betrays the influence of ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) and photography makes us feel a breath of industrial and technological progress unique to this era.
Chapter 4: Outskirts of Paris—the Creation Inspired by Intimate Nature
In the late 19th century, when the bourgeoisie (middle class) came to the fore, people often made a short trip to the suburbs of Paris for the weekend and the holidays. They traveled by rail from Paris and enjoyed a picnic, a stroll in the woods and boating on the Seine. Impressionists also loved the suburbs of lush greenery only about an hour away from Paris; some stayed there for a certain period while others moved from the city. These painters occasionally paid a visit to each other, gained inspiration from each other’s work, painting together in the pursuit of depiction of light and color changing with the passage of time and the progress of seasons. They usually painted outside, depicting people from the city enjoying their leisure time as well as tranquil town landscapes. Although most of the scenes depicted in their paintings do not show signs of the times, they are not completely unrelated to changes in society such as the development of railroad systems and the formation of leisure culture.
The generation of artists following the Impressionists also visited towns on the Seine and small villages with rich natural environment to work on their paintings. However, there was a gradual shift in their expressions and interests. These artists showed a heightened interest in the power of vivid colors and the materiality of paint as well as space representation, which led to the creation of new landscape paintings.
Chapter 5: Far from Paris—the Search for Brighter Sunshine
The development of railroad networks shrank the distance between Paris and the Mediterranean coast flooded with sunlight. In this chapter, we head to the south from Paris and examine landscape paintings of Central and Southern France. The valley along the river Creuse and the river Loire boasted an enchanting view that would touch the heartstrings of a traveler. Painters were fascinated with ancient and medieval ruins and the uneven landform that created various shades and shadows.
Also, the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and a variety of plants basking in a bright sunshine of Southern France greatly inspired the creativity of painters. They observed through their fresh eyes the landscapes unique to the region, such as the deep-blue sea and red-tinged rocks that could not be seen in Paris and its suburbs. In addition, the calm environment away from the noise of the city provided them a good chance to develop styles of their own. Paul Cézanne established his style in Aix-en-Provence where he was born. The movement Fauvism began in Collioure where Henri Matisse and André Derain stayed. The artists shared their impressive experiences in their destinations through letters and works and invited other painters to the south.
Chapter 6: Trips to Foreign and Imaginary Lands
Exposed to foreign cultures at the world expositions and information from various parts of the world through the developing media, painters were lured to travel even farther away. Having developed a longing for the tropics, Paul Gauguin headed for Tahiti, a colony of France, in the South Pacific Ocean in 1891. Gauguin depicted scenes of simple life in the island, which was in reality much more westernized than the artist had expected, using his imagination where necessary. On the other hand, Henri Rousseau, who never set foot in the tropics, portrayed his imaginary world inspired by foreign cultures which he could get a glimpse of in Paris. Jungle scenes he captured on canvases were the representations of his yearning created in his dreams.
Imaginary landscapes transcend time and space so easily. In the works of Maurice Denis that depict mythological characters, the real world and the world of myths overlap. The artist sometimes combined scenic views of different places to create a scene on canvas. His works are filled with landscapes of the places that we can never visit and that can only be admired in paintings.