Pavel Tretyakov and his Tretyakov Gallery
Pavel Tretyakov was a Russian businessman, philanthropist and collector of works of Russian art, the founder of the Tretyakov Gallery – one of the best-known picture galleries in Russia.
Pavel was born on December 15 (27), 1832 in Moscow into a family of merchants. He received education at home and began his career in the trade, working with his father. Together with his brother Sergei he built cotton mill where several thousand people worked.
In August 1865 Pavel Mikhailovich married Vera Nikolayevna Mamontova, a cousin of the famous art patron Savva Mamontov.
In 1866 the eldest daughter Vera (1866-1940) was born, then Alexander (1867-1959), Lyubov (1870-1928), Mikhail (1871-1912), Maria (1875-1952), Ivan (1878-1887).
In the 1850s Tretyakov began to collect Russian paintings. He visited all the exhibitions and art studios and bought the best pictures of contemporary artists. He was especially fond of the works of the Peredvizhniki (or Wanderers) — the artists who belonged to the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions. Little by little Tretyakov extended his range of interest and began to collect earlier Russian paintings. In 1874 he built a gallery which was opened for public in 1881. 11 years later he donated it to the city of Moscow. Since then the gallery has received hundreds of pictures from other museums and private collections. It has a rich collection of old Russian icons. The world-famous icon is The Trinity, painted in the early 15th century by Andrei Rublev. The Tretyakov Gallery is not only Russia’s biggest and most important museum of Russian Art. It is also a research, cultural and educational center.
Tretyakov died on December 4 (16), 1898 in Moscow. His last words were: “Take care of the gallery and be healthy.” Pavel was buried at the Danilovsky cemetery in Moscow next to the parents. In 1948, the Tretyakov brothers’ ashes were reburied in the Novodevichy cemetery.