Peredvizhniki ( pʲɪrʲɪˈdvʲiʐnʲɪkʲi), often called The Wanderers or The Itinerants in English, were a group of Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n realist
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 artists who in protest at academic restrictions formed an artists' cooperative; it evolved into the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions in 1870.


In 1863 a group of fourteen students decided to leave The Imperial Academy of Arts. The Academy kept an eye on the students' work style. The teachers were conservative and there was a strict separation between high and low art. 14 students did not want to follow the rules of the Academy, because they wanted to bring art to the people. They formed an independent artistic society which was called «Peredvizhniki». After 7 years, in 1870, «Peredvizhniki» created the Association of Travelling Art Exhibits. There were 2 main purposes of Travelling Exhibits. The first one was to give a chance to people from provinces to follow the achievements of Russian Art; the second was to teach people to appreciate art. The society maintained independence from state support and brought the art, which illustrated the contemporary life of the people from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, to provinces.

From 1871 to 1923, the society arranged 48 mobile exhibitions in St. Petersburg and Moscow, after which they were shown in Kiev, Kharkov,Kazan, Orel, Riga, Odessa and other cities.

The influence of Literature critics on «Peredvizhniki»

Peredvizhniki were influenced by the public views of Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. He was an associate of Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin , and other critical intellectuals...

 and Nikolai Chernyshevsky
Nikolai Chernyshevsky
Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky was a Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher, critic, and socialist...

. Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolai Chernyshevsky were literature critics at that time. Belinsky thought that literature and art should attribute a social and moral responsibility. He had liberal ideas. Like most Slavophiles, Chernyshevsky was a liberal and ardently supported the emancipation of serfs, which was finally realized in the reform of 1861. He viewed press censorship, serfdom, and capital punishment as Western influences. Because of his political activism, officials prohibited publication of any of his writing, including his dissertation; but it eventually found its way to the artworld of nineteenth-century Russia. In 1863, almost immediately after the emancipation of serfs, Chernyshevsky’s goals were realized with the help of Peredvizhniki. They took the pervasive Slavophile-populist idea that Russia had a distinguishable, modest, inner beauty of its own and worked out how to display it on canvas.

The subjects of the paintings

Peredvizhniki portrayed the many-sided aspects of social life, often critical of inequities and injustices. But their art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 showed not only poverty but also the beauty of the folk way of life; not only suffering but also fortitude and strength of characters. Peredvizhniki condemned the Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n aristocratic orders and autocratic government in their humanistic art. They portrayed the emancipation movement of Russian people with empathy (The Arrest of Propagandist; Refuse from Confession; Not Expected by Ilya Yefimovich Repin). They portrayed social-urban life, and later used historic art to depict the common people (The Morning of the Execution of Streltsy by Vasily Surikov
Vasily Surikov
Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects...

During their blossoming (1870–1890), the Peredvizhniki society developed an increasingly wider scope, with more natural and free images. In contrast to the traditional dark palette of the time, they chose a lighter palette, with a freer manner in their technique. They worked for naturalness in their images, and the depiction of people's relationship with their surroundings. The society united most of the highly talented artists of the country. Among Peredvizhniki there were artists of Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, and Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

. The society also showed the work of Mark Antokolski
Mark Antokolski
Mark Matveyevich Antokolski was a Russian sculptor who was admired for psychological complexity of his historical images and panned for occasional lapses into sentimentalism.-Biography:...

, Vasili Vereshchagin
Vasili Vasilyevich Vereshchagin
Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin was one of the most famous Russian battle painters and one of the first Russian artists to be widely recognized abroad. The graphic nature of his realist scenes led many of them to never be printed or exhibited....

, and Andrei Ryabushkin
Andrei Ryabushkin
Andrei Petrovich Ryabushkin was a Russian painter. His major works were devoted to life of ordinary Russians of the 17th century.-Biography:...

. The work of the critic and democrat Vladimir Stasov
Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov
Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov , son of Russian architect Vasily Petrovich Stasov , was probably the most respected Russian critic during his lifetime...

 was important on the development of Peredvizhniki's art. Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov
Pavel Tretyakov
Pavel Mikhaylovich Tretyakov was a Russian businessman, patron of art, collector, and philanthropist who gave his name to the Tretyakov Gallery and Tretyakov Drive in Moscow. His brother S.M. Tretyakov was also a famous patron of art and a philanthropist....

 showed the work of these artists in his gallery
Art gallery
An art gallery or art museum is a building or space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art.Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection...

 and gave them important material and moral support.

Landscape as the most popular genre of «Peredvizhniki» and a national icon

Landscape painting flourished in the 1870s and 1880s. Peredvizhniki painted mainly landscapes, but for instance Polenov used «plain air» technique. Two painters: Ivan Shishkin and Isaak Levitan, painted only landscapes of Russia. Shishkin is still considered to be the Russian «Singer of forest», while Levitan's landscapes are famous for their intense moods. The Russian landscape gained importance as a national icon after «Peredvizhniki».
The main reason why «Peredvizhniki» used to paint landscapes is that they wanted to explore the beauty of their own country and encourage ordinary people to love and preserve it. Levitan once said : «I imagine such a gracefulness in our Russian land – overflowing rivers bringing everything back to life. There is no country more beautiful than Russia! There can be a true landscapist only in Russia».5 «Peredvizhniki» gave a national character to landscapes, so people of other nations could distinguish Russian landscape from other country’s' landscapes. The landscapes of «Peredvizhniki» are the symbolic embodiments of Russian nationality.

Reproduction of works

«Peredvizhniki» made the first step to popularize paintings. Even though the number of travelling exhibition visitors from the provinces was increasing during the years, the main audience was the urban elite. Local photographers created the first reproductions of «Peredvizhniki's» works, because it was profitable. The reproductions could be bought at exhibitions. The «Niva» Niva (magazine)
Niva (magazine)
Niva was the most popular magazine of late-nineteenth-century Russia; it lasted from 1870 to 1918, and defined itself on its masthead as "an illustrated weekly journal of literature, politics and modern life."...

 magazine also published illustrated articles about the exhibitions.3 Since 1898 the landscapes of the society have been used in the postcard industry. Various books of poems were published with the illustrations of landscapes. Ordinary Russian people at that time could not afford to go to Moscow or Saint Petersburg, so popularization of Russian Art made them familiar with a number of Russian Art masterpieces. Even now publishers use the reproductions in textbooks as a visual icon of national identity.

The sunset of the creativity

As the authority and public influence of the society steadily grew, government officials had to stop their efforts to repress the members. Attempts were made to subordinate their activity, and raise the falling value of Academy of Arts-sanctioned works. By the 1890s, the Academy of Arts structure was including Peredvizhniki art in its classes and history, and the influence of the artists showed in national art schools.
At the turn of the 20th century, Peredvizhniki began to lose their depth as a reflection of a life. The influence of the society waned, and some of the artists began showing socialist ideas, which reflected the development of a working-class movement. Many of the Peredvizhniki entered the Soviet art culture bringing the realistic traditions of 19th century to the Socialist realism (
In 1898, their influence began to be superseded by Mir iskusstva, which advanced modern trends in Russian art. Some of the members of Peredvizhniki became more conservative, but some remained radical as their predecessors.
The 48th exhibition of Peredvizhniki in 1923 was the last one. Most members joined the Association of Artists in Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR). Its members built on the traditions of Peredvizhniki and aspired to create works of art accessible to the common people and faithfully reflecting the righteousness of Soviet society.--Kukushkina (talk) 20:14, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Members of The Peredvizhniki

Peredvizhniki artists include:
  • Abram Arkhipov
    Abram Arkhipov
    Abram Efimovich Arkhipov was a Russian realist artist, who was a member of the art collective The Wanderers as well as the Union of Russian Artists....

  • Nikolai Kuznetsov
    Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov (painter)
    Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov was a Ukrainian painter of portraits, landscapes and genre scenes. Born to a noble family in the region of Kherson, he studied from 1876 until 1880 at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. From 1881 he exhibited with the Peredvizhniki, becoming accepted...

  • Nikolai Ge
    Nikolai Ge
    Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge was a Russian realist painter famous for his works on historical and religious motifs.-Early life and education:...

  • Nikolay Kasatkin
  • Arkhip Kuindzhi
    Arkhip Kuindzhi
    Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi was a Russian landscape painter.Arkhip Kuindzhi was born in January 1841 in Mariupol , but he spent his youth in the city of Taganrog. He grew up in a poor family, and his father was a Greek shoemaker Ivan Khristoforovich Kuindzhi...

  • Ivan Kramskoi
    Ivan Kramskoi
    Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi was a Russian painter and art critic. He was an intellectual leader of the Russian democratic art movement in 1860-1880.-Life:...

  • Isaac Levitan
    Isaac Levitan
    Isaac Ilyich Levitan was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the "mood landscape".-Youth:...

  • Alexander Litovchenko
    Alexander Litovchenko
    Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko was a Ukrainian-born Russian painter who specialized in depicting Muscovite Russia of the 16th and 17th centuries....

  • Rafail Sergeevich Levitsky
  • Vladimir Makovsky
    Vladimir Makovsky
    Vladimir Yegorovich Makovsky 1846, Moscow - 21 February 1920, Petrograd) was a Russian painter, art collector, and teacher.Makovsky was the son of collector, Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky, who was one of the founders of the Moscow Art School. Vladimir had two brothers, Nikolai Makovsky and Konstantin...

  • Vassili Maximovitch Maximov
  • Grigoriy Myasoyedov
    Grigoriy Myasoyedov
    Grigoriy Grigoryevich Myasoyedov was a Russian painter and engraver, and one of the leading representatives of Peredvizhniki.Myasoyedov was born in Pankovo settlement, on the territory of either the Oryol or Tula guberniyas...

  • Leonid Pasternak
    Leonid Pasternak
    Leonid Osipovich Pasternak was a Russian post-impressionist painter. He was the father of the poet and novelist Boris Pasternak.-Biography:...

  • Vasily Perov
    Vasily Perov
    Vasily Grigorevich Perov ; 2 January 1834 – 10 June 1882) was a Russian painter and one of the founding members of Peredvizhniki, a group of Russian realist painters....

  • Vasily Polenov
    Vasily Polenov
    Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists.-Biography:...

  • Illarion Pryanishnikov
    Illarion Pryanishnikov
    Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov was a Russian painter, one of the founders of the Peredvizhniki artistic cooperative.Illarion Pryanishnikov was born in the village of Timashovo in a family of merchants...

  • Ilya Repin
  • Andrei Ryabushkin
    Andrei Ryabushkin
    Andrei Petrovich Ryabushkin was a Russian painter. His major works were devoted to life of ordinary Russians of the 17th century.-Biography:...

  • Konstantin Savitsky
    Konstantin Savitsky
    Konstantin Apollonovich Savitsky was a Russian realist painter born in the city of Taganrog in the village Frankovka or Baronovka, named after former governor Otto Pfeilizer-Frank. Today this area is occupied by Taganrog Iron and Steel Factory TAGMET....

  • Alexei Savrasov
    Alexei Savrasov
    Alexei Kondratyevich Savrasov was a Russian landscape painter and creator of the lyrical landscape style.-Biography:Savrasov was born into the family of a merchant...

  • Valentin Serov
    Valentin Serov
    Valentin Alexandrovich Serov was a Russian painter, and one of the premier portrait artists of his era.-Youth and education:...

  • Emily Shanks
    Emily Shanks
    Emily Shanks, also known as Emiliya Yakovlevna Shanks , was an Anglo-Russian artist.Her father, James Stewart Shanks, was a Moscow businessman, and her siblings include Mary Shanks, also an artist, and Louise Maude, translator of Tolstoy's fiction...

  • Ivan Shishkin
    Ivan Shishkin
    Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin was a Russian landscape painter closely associated with the Peredvizhniki movement.Shishkin was born in Yelabuga of Vyatka Governorate , and graduated from the Kazan gymnasium...

  • Vasily Surikov
    Vasily Surikov
    Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects...

  • Apollinary Vasnetsov
    Apollinary Vasnetsov
    Apollinary Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov , 1856, the village of Riabovo, Vyatka province - January 23, 1933, Moscow) was a Russian painter and graphic artist whose elder brother was the more famous Viktor Vasnetsov. He specialized in scenes from the medieval history of Moscow.Vasnetsov was a painter and a...

  • Viktor Vasnetsov
    Viktor Vasnetsov
    Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov , 1848 — Moscow, July 23, 1926) was a Russian artist who specialized in mythological and historical subjects. He was described as co-founder of folklorist/romantic modernism in the Russian painting and a key figure of the revivalist movement in Russian art.- Childhood ...

  • Nikolai Yaroshenko
    Nikolai Yaroshenko
    Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko or Mykola Oleksandrovych Yaroshenko was a Ukrainian-born painter.-Biography:Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko was born on in the city of Poltava, Russian Empire to a son of an officer in the Russian Army...

Further reading

  • Society of Wandering Art Exhibits. Letters and Documents. 1869–1899. Vol. 1, 2., Publisher ‘Iskusstvo’, Moscow, 1987. Text in Russian

External links

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