“Red Square in Moscow”, Fedor Yakovlevich Alekseev – overview of the painting

“Red Square in Moscow”, Fedor Yakovlevich Alekseev – overview of the painting
“Red Square in Moscow”, Fedor Yakovlevich Alekseev - overview of the painting - 1

    • Author: Fedor Yakovlevich Alekseev
    • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
    • Year: 1801

Overview of the painting :

The red square in Moscow is Fedor Yakovlevich Alekseev. Oil on canvas. 80.2 x 111.5 cm

F. I AM. Alekseev is a talented landscape painter who lived in St. Petersburg at the end of the 18th century. After himself, he left a lot of work depicting the architecture of Russian cities. One of them is the described picture.

Emperor Pavel I in 1801 sent Academician of promising painting Alekseev to Moscow to write its species. The artist decided to start with the “heart” of the city – Red Square.

In the picture, Moscow appears before us as it was at the beginning of the 19th century, Alekseev masterfully conveys the life and spirit of his time.

In the center of the canvas is the Cathedral of St. Basil, and in front of him is the frontal place. On the right side, the artist placed the Spasskaya Tower and the Kremlin wall with a water-filled moat in front of it. Away behind the wall you can see the spiers of the Ascension Monastery and the Tsarskoye Tower. In front of the Spasskaya Tower is a two-story public library of the Companion Peter I Vasily Kipriyanov. On the left in the foreground are the market rows and the building of the Main Pharmacy. Red Square still serves as a trading platform. We see shops with goods and merchants.

Alekseev not only thoroughly copies the architecture, he tries to show the life of Muscovites. The area is not static, it is full of life and movement: horse carts and crews go, dogs bark, nannies with children walk, trade boils, people of different estates are busy with their own affairs, a detachment of grenaders marches from the gates of the Spasskaya tower.

Composite work is built on a combination of vertical and horizontal planes. Vertical towers and spiers of buildings give the volume to the picture, and the horizontal of the square makes it look like a theater stage.

Half the canvas is occupied by a blue-white sky with white clouds. Soft daylight falls on the square and gives depth to the landscape. Yellow, brown, beige tones of buildings are shaded by clear and transparent blue-bearing skies. Thanks to such colorization, work takes on the ease of watercolors.

At that time there was no photograph, and similar paintings were called upon to play its role, capturing a moment from the life of old Moscow. The Moscow series of Alekseev was very successful in the public, the artist received many orders to copy his works. The painting in 1917 was donated to the Tretyakov Gallery by entrepreneur and public figure Pavel Afanasevich Buryshkin.