PRINCIPAL GOLITSYN COLLECTIONS
A few years ago, unfortunately, the late Ksenia Sergeevna Egorova, a great connoisseur of the old West European masters, was already working on a scientific catalog of the Dutch and Flemish paintings in the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. A.S.Pushkina, reviewed old inventories and catalogs in the archives of the State Hermitage Museum. Then she advised me to pay attention to the hand-written catalog of the Golitsyn collection, which lists many pictures of the German school, which should have interested me as the keeper of German painting of the Pushkin Museum. But, alas, fate decided in its own way, and Ksenia Sergeevna never knew what amazing gift she presented to me.
Few Russian painterly collections of the 18th century had catalogs compiled during the life of their owners. Such catalogs were not always printed by typography and were not always intended for public use, unless the publication was made for the purpose of selling the collection. Created in the form of a manuscript book, they were usually kept in collector libraries. Only one of them — the catalog of paintings from the collection of Count A.Stroganov, a well-known connoisseur and collector of European painting, president of the Academy of Arts — published in St. Petersburg in 1793 — the first printed catalog of the Russian private collection — was published in Petersburg in 1793. Some catalogs are known only by reference to descriptions of collections, for example, catalogs of art galleries of graphs A. A. Bezborodko and N. P. Sheremetev.
Heinrich von Reimers in the “Description of Petersburg” mentions the meeting of Chancellor A.A. Bezborodko, who had an ambitious desire to create a gallery no worse than Stroganov, and reports on the catalog compiled by gallery superintendent Gauf. This is probably the same Ivan Hauf, who in 1775 was employed by the Office of the buildings and was engaged in the restoration of paintings. The handwritten catalog of the gallery Bezborodko contained a description of 330 paintings.
From the work of V.Stanyukovich “The Serf Artists of the Sheremetevs” kept in the archive of the Ostankino estate, it is known about the non-preserved description of the pictorial collection of Count P.B. Traces of another, now lost, catalog are found in documents of the Sheremetev archive. In the inventory of books of the library, compiled in 1809-1811, after the death of N.P. Sheremetev, which lists more than 400 albums of engravings, biographies of artists and theoretical treatises on art, under No. 2791 the full catalog of the collection of paintings with the designation of their purchase value is recorded. That’s probably all, especially since the location of the listed directories remains unknown to this day.
To date, none of the catalogs of Russian pictorial collections of the XVIII century has not been reprinted and has no scientific comments. Therefore, each newly discovered catalog of a private collection of paintings is of great interest to researchers. Such a unique monument of the epoch, which deserves special attention, is the “Catalog of paintings sent from Vienna.”
The catalog is a leather-bound notebook with an embossed gold ornament at the edges, with handwritten text in French, under the title: Catalog des tableaux de Vienne. In the center – the coat of arms of the princes Golitsyn. On the first page is the full name of the catalog: Catalog des Tables en voyes de vienne qua se trouve actuellement dan ale Galliere du Grand Chambellan Prince Alexandre Michailowiez de Galitzin a Moscou. The notebook has a stamp of the State Hermitage library with the number 12870. It can be assumed that this catalog came to the Hermitage along with other exhibits of the Golitsyn Museum acquired by the Hermitage in 1886. Thus, the handwritten book is a catalog of one of the largest art galleries created by representatives of the numerous, extensive family of princes Golitsyn at the end of the XVIII century.
The collecting of works of art in the second half of the 18th century was an essential component of the cultural and artistic exchange between Europe and Russia. An important role in shaping the collections of Western European painting in Russia was played by Russian diplomats. Among them, the activities of AKRazumovsky, P.M. Skavronsky, AMBeloselsky, N.B.Yusupov in Italy, I.S.Baryatinsky in France, D.Golitsyn left a noticeable mark on the artistic life of European countries. in Holland and France, SR Vorontsov in England.
The activity of the Russian ambassador to Vienna, Prince D.Molitsyn, was also a unique phenomenon in the history of international artistic ties and in the history of Russian collecting. More than 30 years he lived in the capital of the Austrian Empire, where he gained wide popularity and love for his charity and protection of scientists and artists.