The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the world's greatest museums. The gallery consists entirely of Russian art. In 1856 Pavel Tretyakov, a 24-year-old Moscow merchant bought 2 paintings, the core of a collection that was to develop into a famous public art gallery. Those were the works by Khudyakov "An Accident with the Finnish Smugglers" and by Shilder "Temptation".
The rapidly expanding collection included the finest canvases by Russian artists of different generations: such outstanding masters as Ilya Repin, Ivan Shishkin, Vasily Perov, Ivan Kramskoy, Vasily Surikov and others.
An ardent admirer of Art, Tretyakov was on the look-out for young talents, whom he was always ready to encourage .
By the 1870s the collection already contained over 500 canvases which were kept in a special wing of the Tretyakov house in Lavrushensky Lane. In 1881 the museum was opened to the public. In 1892, 6 years before his death Tretyakov presented his collection to the city of Moscow. It consisted of about 2 000 paintings, drawings and sculptures. The donation included a collection of West European art left by Pavel Tretyakov's younger brother Sergei who had died not long before. .
The now existing facade of the museum was built in 1901 :- 1902 according to a design, made by V.M. Vasnetsov. It has got original appearance and to this day remains one of Moscow's most attractive sights.
At the beginning of the 1980s work began on the reconstruction of the premises of the gallery hi Lavrushensky Lane. The gallery was finally reopened to the public on the 5th of April 1994 It is one of the five best picture galleries in the world