The Magical Landscape presents work by 55 artists from the Golden Age of Russian landscape painting. The works cover a period from the middle of the 19th century to the start of the 20th, from romanticism to the aftermath of realism. The paintings in the exhibition are divided into nine thematic groups: The Forest, The Sea, Mountains, The Sky, Night Scenes, The Four Seasons, Man and Nature, Roads and Townscapes.
Landscape rose to prominence as a subject in Russian painting in the beginning of 19th century. Landscape paintings were not merely depictions of the forests, seas or mountains of Mother Russia, however; they were also vehicles with which the artists explored the identity of the Russian people.
Many of the artists of the period belonged to the group of artists called The Wanderers, or Peredvizhniki, whose aim was to create realistic pictures of Russian nature. The face and beauty of Mother Russia were seen even in the most trivial things. The unity of spiritual life and nature was important for the landscape painters.
The State Tretyakov Gallery was founded by the Moscow merchant Pavel Tretyakov (1832-1898). When Tretyakov began collecting art, he also decided to establish a museum of Russian art for the public. In particular, Tretyakov bought many works from the exhibitions of the Peredvizhniki and supported artists who wanted to promote social development in a more democratic direction.