The founder of the Tretyakov Gallery, the famous Russian merchant and philanthropist Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov was a great connoisseur of painting, despite the fact that he himself never painted. In his youth, he often visited the famous Sukharevsky market in Moscow, where he acquired prints and books.
And at the age of 20, a young businessman, during a trip to St. Petersburg, visited the Hermitage. It was then that he had the idea to collect a collection of paintings. Tretyakov's biographers believe that the first paintings in his collection were "Temptation" by artist N. Schilder and "Clash with Finnish smugglers" by V. Khudyakov. The canvases were acquired on May 22, 1856, when Pavel Mikhailovich was in his twenty-fourth year. It is this date that is considered the day of the foundation of the art gallery. And the grand opening took place only 11 years later - on June 4, 1867. By this time, the collection numbered more than a thousand paintings.
At the age of twenty-eight, Pavel Tretyakov writes his first testament in his life. And not because he feared death, he just went on a trip abroad, but among industrialists there was such a rule - to leave a will in case of death on the way. It is in this document that Tretyakov for the first time officially declares his desire to donate the collection to his beloved city - Moscow.
The gallery was transferred to Moscow in 1892. Tretyakov himself, not wanting to participate in the solemn ceremony and listen to numerous thanks, went abroad for a while. Interestingly, the collector of the paintings was the Russian Emperor Alexander the Third, who also planned to donate his collection to the city. Upon learning of Tretyakov's deed, the monarch said: "The Moscow merchant has outstripped the sovereign!"
As a token of gratitude for such a generous gift, the emperor granted him the nobility. True, Tretyakov himself refused, saying: "I was born a merchant, a merchant and I will die." Interestingly, Tretyakov's will stipulated one condition - free admission to the gallery.
After the death of Alexander III, a "battle" began between his heir Nikolai II and Tretyakov for the painting by VI Surikov "The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak." The young emperor remembered his father's desire to purchase this canvas and did not stand behind the price, calling the grandiose price for that time - 40, 000 rubles. Tretyakov did not have the opportunity to pay more. True, the artist, as a moral compensation, gave him one of the sketches for this painting.
On January 16, 1913, 29-year-old Abram Balashov, the son of a large industrialist-Old Believer, rushed with a knife at the painting by I. Repin "Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan". Balashov struck three blows on the canvas. Vandal was declared insane, and the painting was restored for six months. And the gallery keeper E. Khruslov committed suicide by throwing himself under a train.
The second attempt on "Ivan the Terrible" took place quite recently, in the spring of this year. The drunken visitor broke the protective glass, damaging the canvas in several places. He could not explain his act.
During the Great Patriotic War, the gallery left the capital for some time. In the summer of 1941, when the fascist troops were rapidly approaching Moscow, the paintings were loaded into 17 wagons and sent to Novosibirsk. The meeting was housed in the building of the Opera House. On May 17, 1945, the Tretyakov Gallery was reopened in Moscow.