This incredibly rich museum of Russian paintings was founded by Pavel Tretyakov in 1856, who was a descendant from a family of merchants and art patrons. This history of the Tretyakov family is an illuminating and fabulous example of activity performed by Russian art patrons in the 19th century. Initially, the collection consisted of paintings acquired by the Tretyakov family strictly according to their personal preferences. By the end of his life, the Tretyakov collection had more than 1,500 works, among them were paintings of Russian artists like Savrasov, Repin, Shishkin, Serov, Surikov, and Vasnetsov.
After the death of its founder, who gifted the collection to Moscow, the museum continued to grow, and the building in Lavrushinsky Lane was rebuilt under the guidance of the famous artist Viktor Vasnetsov.
Today, in this gallery you can find Russian paintings from ancient times (icons, including “The Trinity” by Andrey Rublev) up to the end of the 19th century.
Another part of the collection consists of works from the 20th century; they are housed in the New Tretyakov Gallery building on Krymsky Val.