A painting whose effects depend entirely on plastic language (form, colour, movement...) rather than a figurative subject.
A complex of shipyard buildings that came into being in Saint Petersburg in the early 18th century. The current building was constructed between 1806 and 1823, according to a design by Adrian Zakharov.
Alexander III (1845–1894)
Russian tsar, in whose memory the museum of Russian art, founded in Saint Petersburg in 1895, was named the "Alexander III Museum." Today, it is the State Russian Museum.
From a Turkish-Mongol word meaning "golden." One of the mountain ranges of Asia, south of Western Siberia. A land of rivers, waterfalls and 3,500 lakes.
The architectural organization of space.
Art Association of Montreal
The Art Association of Montreal, which was founded in 1860, is one of the oldest art institutions in North America. It would later become the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It initially exhibited works owned by major Montréal collectors, who were fond of European art. The Association began to exhibit Canadian works in 1880, at which time it began to collect Canadian art works. The Art Association of Montreal held a major exhibition every year from 1880 to 1979.
A movement in European and American art that arose at the turn of the 20th century. One of the main features of this style, called “Modern” in Russia, was the synthesis of art forms.
A movement in Russian art that developed innovative artistic ideas at the beginning of the 20th century.
An effect, also called contre-jour, that results from a strong contrast between areas of light and shadow when the subject is placed between the source of light and the painter.
The positioning of the parts of the body, or a structure in space, in a stable and harmonious manner.
Bashkiria (Republic of Bashkortostan)
Part of the Russian Federation, with its capital of Ufa.
The deepest freshwater lake in the world, located in the middle of the Asian continent. More than 300 rivers flow into it, and one flows out—the deep and swift Angara.
Beaver Hall Group
In May 1920, the painters Randolph Hewton, Edwin Holgate, Mabel May and Lilias Newton officially established the Beaver Hall Group in a house in downtown Montréal at 305 Beaver Hall Hill. In January 1921, they organized the Group’s first exhibition in Montréal. Because of constant money problems, the Group only survived in its original form for less than two years. The Beaver Hall Group was the first association of artists in which women played a key role.
Bird’s eye view
A scene viewed from a very high angle, as if seen by a bird.
Blue Rider, The (Der blaue Reiter)
Art movement founded by Kandinsky, Franz Marc and others in Munich in 1911. An almanac published by the group in 1912 served as a manifesto of modern art.
Blue Rose (Golubaya roza)
Name of one of the first group exhibitions of Russian artists (1907, Moscow) and of an artistic society, connected with the ideas of Symbolism, that existed until the early 1920s.
Canadian Art Club
The Canadian Art Club, founded in 1907 by a number of artists who had broken off from the Ontario Society of Artists, was intended to raise the level of Canadian art and to exhibit paintings and sculptures by the most respected Canadian artists of the day. Despite the differences between them, these artists shared certain basic points of view about painting. In 1915, the Canadian Art Club ceased operations as a result of dissent among its members.
A piece of fabric made of hemp or linen, used since the 15th century in western painting. Canvasses are generally stretched on a wood frame and primed in a neutral colour to smooth the surface.
Catherine II Alekseyevna (1729–1796)
Russian empress from June 28, 1762. Was born Sophia Federica Augusta Anhalt-Zerbst. Came from an impoverished German princely family.
The part of Asia from the Caspian Sea to China and from the Aral-Irtysh watershed to Iran and Afghanistan. It was called Turkestan until 1924–1925.
Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich (1860–1904)
Russian author and playwright.
The play of light and shadow. In a composition, this process renders forms through a balanced contrast between pronounced light and dark areas.
The Québec Citadel, built between 1820 and 1831 on the heights of Cape Diamond, is a fortification that was built to defend the city, in the event of attacks from the St. Lawrence River or from the west.
Hue (red, yellow, blue...) in the strict sense. Colour is not tonality (variations in tone within a given hue) or saturation (the amount of pigment).
The combination of elements in a painting to create a whole that is satisfactory to the painter.
The outline or bounding lines of an image, figure or shape.
The difference between areas of shadow and light. Contrast may be emphasized to varying degrees, depending on the dramatic value that the artist wishes to give the picture.
Country residence of a Russian nobleman, surrounded by parkland. One of the main centres of Russian culture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Life on the country estate became a subject of nostalgia for many artists during this period.
A peninsula on the north shore of the Black Sea. Became part of Russia in the second half of the 18th century. Artist Fyodor Vasiliev and writer Anton Chekhov received treatment for tuberculosis at Crimean health spas in the 19th century. The Crimea’s hills, valleys and views of the sea attracted many generations of painters.
A movement that began in French painting in the first decade of the 20th century, when Picasso and Braque started painting pictures in which all the shapes were reduced to straight lines and cubic volumes.
A literary and artistic trend in Russia in the second decade of the 20th century. A combination of the ideas and methods of Futurism and Cubism. An artist’s adherence to this movement was defined by enthusiasm for the plastic aims of Cubism and for the Futuristic utopia of creating a new universal artistic language.
The distance separating the various grounds in the field of vision.
A painting technique, which involves an optical analysis of light and colour. It is characterized by the juxtaposition of dabs, lines and small circles of colour, which are then recombined by the retina of the eye (pointillism).
A country estate belonging to the von Derviz family in Tver Oblast. It was one of the artistic centres of the Tver region at the turn of the 20th century. The Russian artist Valentin Serov often worked there, as did Vrubel and Levitan.
An ancient method that involves the modification of pigments through the addition of melted wax.
Movement in art at the beginning of the 20th century, reflecting the uneasy, sometimes morbid worldview of artists in an era of social crises and disasters.
From the French word Fauves, meaning “wild animals.” A movement in French art at the beginning of the 20th century which made the sonority of open colours available for painting.
The property that certain objects have of giving off radiation under the influence of incident light.
The part of the subject area closest to the observer.
A technique of perspective in which the vanishing lines form a very tight angle to the horizon line.
A surface or volume incorporated into a figurative or non-figurative work of art.
Art or art criticism that focuses on form (colour, texture, line) rather than the content of the work of art.
The selection of a visual field on the basis of aesthetic criteria.
Kind or types of subject matter treated by an artist (e.g. the portrait genre or the landscape genre). Until the 18th century, any kind of painting that was not historical painting was called genre painting. After the 18th century, genre painting depicted scenes from everyday life or interior scenes, still lifes and portraits of animals.
Northeast arm of Lake Huron, shielded from the lake by a string of limestone islands. In the 1920s, it was a favourite haunt of the painters of the Group of Seven because of its desolate landscapes.
A thin coat of more or less transparent lacquer applied over colour that is already dry, in order to harmonize the colours and heighten their effect.
Opaque water-based paint, usually composed of pigment in gum arabic plus a white material that increases opacity.
Ground (or support)
The surface on which a painting is executed.
Group of Eight
This group, founded in 1908, whose members were Arthur B. Davies, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn and John Sloan, was known as The Eight (the Group of Eight) and was mainly American. Because of the themes they painted (a mixture of noise, smells, and the grit of urban life), they later became known as the Ashcan School.
Group of Seven
The Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley, held its first exhibition in Toronto in 1920. They became fascinated by Canadian nature, after being introduced to it by Tom Thomson. Sharing the same nationalistic ideals, these painters sought to express Canada’s identity in their representation of landscapes. In 1926, Alfred J. Casson replaced Franz Johnson. The group broke up in 1933.
Hudson River School
A school of American landscape artists, active in the mid 19th century, whose members were influenced by the work of Wordsworth, Rousseau, Schelling and Emerson, who all shared the same devotion to nature. They rendered landscapes with precision and depicted not only aesthetic and religious values, but moral values as well.
The heavy application of oil paint with thick brush strokes.
A movement in French painting, in the second half of the 19th century, that strove to seize the mutability of the surrounding world and the impression that it produces. It influenced art around the world in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
City in Siberia, located 70 kilometres from Lake Baykal, founded in the mid-17th century by Russian Cossacks on the banks of the Angara River. The city later became the capital of Eastern Siberia.
Were organized by the Association of Itinerant Art Exhibits from 1871 to 1923. The main idea of the exhibits, which travelled from city to city, was to make art accessible to the residents of various Russian cities.
"Jack of diamonds" (1911-1917)
A society of Russian avant-garde artists. The name, which also meant "swindler" or "convict" in Russian, was intended to shock the public. Cézanne had a strong influence on the artists of this group.
Kazakov, Matvey Fyodorovich (1738-1812)
Architect of many buildings in Moscow. In the early 19th century, he created the classic look of "Kazakov's Moscow," which suffered significant damage in the fire of 1812.
One of the Russian provinces located on the upper Volga River. Was famous for its forests and textile mills.
Kramskoy, Ivan Nikolayevich (1837-1887)
Painter, mainly of portraits. Founder of the Association of Itinerant Art Exhibits.
Lake of Gennesaret (Lake Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Buhayrat Tabariya)
Lake in Palestine that is 212 metres below sea level. Its area is 145 square kilometres and is up to 48 metres deep. In the Gospels, it is connected with the story of Jesus Christ.
This part of the Canadian Shield is a 500 to 800 metre high escarpment along the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River between the Ottawa River and the Saguenay River. Many painters had a predilection for the Laurentian landscape, particularly in the Charlevoix area to the north of the city of Québec.
An artist’s depiction of natural motifs that resonate with his own mood and disposition.
Mamontov, Savva Ivanovich (1841–1918)
Russian industrialist and patron of the arts. Owner of the Abramtsevo estate. Founder of the Abramtsevo circle of artists and the Russian Private Opera.
The three easternmost of Canada’s continental provinces, on the Atlantic Ocean: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Maslennitsa (Mardi Gras Week)
End-of-winter festival. Pancake Week, which precedes Lent. The multitude of popular customs, ceremonies and games, and the carnival connected with the festival, bear witness to its pagan origins.
The ability to find in nature emotionally expressive details that reflect the artist’s own feelings and mood.
A painting in which only a single colour is used with varying tones.
Founded in 1147. Now capital of the Russian Federation. Previously the capital of Muscovy, Russia and the Soviet Union. From the 18th to the early 20th centuries, it was no longer the nation’s capital, but it remained the place where Russian tsars were crowned.
Architectural ensemble, consisting of fortress walls, churches and palaces, that took shape mainly between the 16th and 19th centuries. It is the central fortified part of Moscow, formerly serving as both the Tsar’s residence and the spiritual capital.
City in Bavaria, not far from Munich, where Vasiliy Kandinsky worked.
The realistic depiction of nature (Barbizon School). Artistic and literary doctrine which emphasizes the realistic depiction of nature and humans, without stylization or idealization.
Nekrasov, Nikolay Alekseyevich (1821–1877)
Russian poet of the Democratic Movement.
River in northwestern Russia. The main water artery of Saint Petersburg.
Monastery in Moscow Province, near Zvenigorod. Founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon, an initiator of Church reform.
City located where the Oka flows into the Volga. Centre of Nizhegorod Oblast. Founded in 1221, Nizhny Novgorod was a major Russian trade-and-finance centre in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also the site of annual fairs.
A process for painting, in which pigments are mixed with linseed oil, that has been used in the western world since the 15th century. Rapid-drying acrylic paint has been used since the 1960s.
Ontario Society of Artists
The Ontario Society of Artists, which was founded in 1872, held exhibitions and established its own collection. Its collaborative efforts with the Ontario Ministry of Education led to the establishment of the Central Ontario School of Art, now known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, in Toronto.
A concept introduced into Russian painting by Valentin Serov. It marked a rejection by the new generation of artists of the social problems of their predecessors at the end of the 19th century.
The layers of paint that lie between the undercoat or primer and the varnish. There may be one or more layers of colour.
Person who hires and pays an artist to paint a picture.
Members of the Association of Itinerant Art Exhibits, headed by Ivan Kramskoy. Critical realism and the idea of art serving society lay at the foundation of their creative work.
The representation of objects on a flat surface in accordance with their distance and position in space. Aerial perspective, or atmosphere, is achieved through a gradation of colours, whereas linear perspective is the result of lines and the alignment of objects and themes in relation to one another.
That which relates to the physical aspects of a painting.
(pittoresco in Italian). Worthy of being painted, that attracts attention, charms or amuses because of its originality.
Natural or artificial colouring matter, usually in the form of a powder mixed with a medium (such as oil for oil paint or gum arabic for watercolour).
The perpendicular surface in the direction of the gaze, representing depth or distancing from an actual or imagined scene in perspective.
Having to do with form.
The practice of painting outdoors rather than in a studio. This method probably began with François Desportes, early in the 18th century, and was popularized by the Impressionists.
The distinctive features of painting inspired by nature itself: bright colouring, vivid hues, a sensation of air.
A rapidly executed colour sketch painted in the presence of the subject. Unlike a drawing, the pochade uses paint.
The area surrounding Moscow, containing a multitude of picturesque localities and old country estates of the nobility.
Point of view
The point representing the location of the observer, and from which the painter draws or paints.
The conventional depiction of ground in icons, in one or two tones.
The initial coating put on the canvas or wood panel to serve as a ground for the paint.
A French movement during the second half of the 19th century, which worked directly from reality (contemporary life), as opposed to idealism, academicism and an emphasis on romanticism. Its main advocates were Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier and Jean-François Millet.
Popular in Russian art in the 19th century. The road represents the path of a person, a people or a nation. It can be painted with sorrow and melancholy, symbolizing the path of wandering and loss. It can be covered in puddles and mud, or it can stretch between fields of ripe grain under a vaulting sky and a bright summer sun.
Mountain range in western Canada running north to south between the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia over a distance of almost 1200 kilometres. The majestic landscapes of the Rockies attracted painters from the moment the railway reached the region.
An artistic movement, prefigured in the mid 18th century, which became very popular in the 19th century. Romanticism was opposed to rationalism not only in its expression of personal feelings and imagination, but also in its representation of exotic and transcendental subjects.
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA)
The RCA was founded on the English model in 1880. The initial mission of the RCA was to hold annual exhibitions alternately in Ottawa, Halifax, Saint John (New Brunswick), Montreal and Toronto, and to establish art schools. Its goal was to promote excellence in art across Canada. The RCA established a National Gallery to preserve diploma works, and out of these works grew today’s National Gallery of Canada.
Russia’s “Northern Capital.” Founded by Peter I in 1703, where the Neva flows into the Baltic Sea.
City on the left bank of the Volga in its middle reaches, where the Samara River flows into it. Founded in 1586, it was a major trading centre for grain, salt, wool and hides in the 19th century.
City in Uzbekistan, known since 329 B.C. as “Marakand.” The capital of the state of the Timurids in the late 14th and 15th centuries, it was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1868.
City on the right bank of the Volga. Founded in the late 16th century to protect the Volga transportation route.
The maximum intensity of a tone or colour.
A type of painting that has the sea as its subject.
The first draft of a work of art.
Village on the banks of the Volga near Samara and the Zhiguli Hills, where Russian landscape artists worked in the second half of the 19th century.
One of the oldest cities in Russia. It was first mentioned in a chronicle in the year 863. The name “Key City” has become attached to Smolensk in Russian history, because it protects Moscow from the west.
Monastery on Solovetskiy Island in the White Sea. Founded in the 15th century, it was both a major religious and cultural centre and a place of political exile. It served as a camp for political prisoners after the 1917 revolution. Converted into a museum in 1967, it was returned to the Church in 1991.
St. Basil’s Cathedral (Intercession Cathedral on the Moat)
Located in Moscow’s Red Square, it was built by the architects Barma and Posnik in 1554–1560. The traditional name was given in honour of a "holy fool" buried here.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral (1818–1858, architect Auguste Monferrand)
One of the main churches of Saint Petersburg. It was built on the site of the Church of St. Isaac of Dalmatia. Construction began during the reign of Peter I.
Stasov, Vladimir Vasilyevich (1824–1906)
Russian arts and music critic and art historian who fought against Academism. He was an adherent of the Peredvizhniki (Itinerant) movement and one of the people who formulated the principles of the esthetics of realism.
A way of simplifying and reducing forms for aesthetic effects or decorative purposes.
Abstract painting and theory founded by Kazimir Malevich, who influenced the development of art around the world in the 20th century. It is art, freed from any imitative characteristics, that itself creates new forms.
A movement of representational art and literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The multiple meanings of figures and a play of metaphors lies at its basis. There were many national varieties of Symbolism.
Country estate of Mariya Tenisheva near Smolensk. In 1893, it became the workplace of many outstanding artists of the era, as well as the centre of a revival of popular handicrafts and the development of a new language of art closely linked to Symbolism.
Tenisheva, Mariya Klavdiyevna (née Pyatkovskaya) (1867-1929)
Princess, social activist, collector, patron of the arts, artist. Founder of an art studio in Saint Petersburg, a drawing school and museum of Russian antiquity in Smolensk, and artistic-industrial workshops in Talashkino. She lived in Paris from 1916 on.
"The Thirteen" (1929-1931)
A group of graphic artists whose favourite genre was landscapes painted not from nature, but rather with a view to creating a synthetic image of nature or the city.
The word derives from the Greek theos, which means "divine" and sophia, which means "knowledge, wisdom." Under this generic name are grouped a variety of mystical doctrines whose goal is to know God through a deepening of inner life and to act upon the universe through supernatural means. Helena Petrovna Blavatski (1831-1891), the founder of Theosophy, published her 10-volume work, The Secret Doctrine, in 1888. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of Anthroposophy, would subsequently spread the tenets of Theosophy.
Variation, from bright to dark, within a given hue.
One of the provinces of central Russia, lying between the two capitals: Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The source of the Volga is located there, near Lake Seliger.
Tretyakov, Pavel Mikhaylovich (1832-1900)
Merchant, patron of the arts and collector of Russian paintings. Founder of the Tretyakov Gallery.
Museum of Russian art founded by Pavel Tretyakov in 1856. Donated by him to the city of Moscow in 1898, it became one of the main national museums in the 20th century.
Trinity (Izmaylovskiy) Cathedral (1828-1835)
Church built by the architect Vasiliy Stasov near the barracks of the Izmaylovskiy Regiment, on the banks of the Fontanka in Saint Petersburg.
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra (Trinity Monastery of Sergiy)
A monastery 71 kilometres northeast of Moscow, founded by Sergiy Radonezhskiy in the mid-14th century. One of the main centres of the Russian Orthodox faith.
Tsvetayeva, Marina Ivanovna (1892-1941)
Russian poet, daughter of Ivan Tsvetayev, who founded the Moscow Museum of Fine Arts.
Part of the Russian Empire, and later one of the republics of the Soviet Union. An independent state since 1991. Home of many talented artists and writers. The rich southern nature of Ukraine was a source of inspiration for artists.
Union of Russian Artists (1903–1924)
An association of artists that arose to counterbalance the later Peredvizhniki (Itinerants) and Academicians. By 1910, it had split into two centres: one in Saint Petersburg, which was graphically oriented, and the other in Moscow, which preached picturesqueness and plein airism. The landscape became the central genre of the latter group (the so-called “Moscow School of Painting”).
The point at which the vanishing lines converge.
A resin solution applied as a protective coat over a painting.
Longest river in Europe, measuring 3,500 kilometres in length. Its source is near Lake Seliger in Tver Oblast. After passing through all of central Russia, it flows into the Caspian Sea.
City on the Vyatka River, founded in 1174 by people from Novgorod. It was subjugated by the Moscow State in 1489 and was called Vyatka from 1780 to 1934 (Khlynov before that time, and Kirov afterward).
The British Columbia coast on the Pacific Ocean. It is in this part of Canada that some First Nations communities like the Haida carve totem poles relating family exploits or displaying family crests. Many artists were attracted by the spectacular scenery and the scale of the landscapes.
A painting that uses water-soluble transparent paint, in diluted tones, on paper.
Vast area bounded on the south by Lake Baykal and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. Northern tribes preserving their traditional way of life have lived here since time immemorial.
Hills on the right bank of the Volga, near Samara, covered in forest and cut by ravines. The hills run for approximately 75 kilometres, reaching heights of 375 metres.
City in Moscow Province (Oblast), founded in the 12th century on the Moscow River.