Launching an online educational platform: the Tretyakov Gallery experience

When one of the most prominent Moscow galleries launched lavrus.art, they didn’t know how much of a trend they’d be hitting.

‘Lavrus’ is an educational project run by the State Tretyakov Gallery. It focuses on past and present Russian art, culture and its various artists, styles and eras. Lavrus builds a dialogue between classics and modernity, where new interpretations co-exist with academic research. Museologists, curators, professors and experts share their knowledge through articles, master classes and video lectures.

Lavrus exists for people who want to learn more about Tretyakov Gallery artists and Russian culture in general. It also serves as a reliable source of educational information and is a go-to for those keen to deepen their arts and culture knowledge.

.ART talked to Tretyakov Gallery PR manager Anna Ivanko to find out more about the project.

We have worked on educational media project Lavrus for over a year. The longest phase involved developing a communications strategy. It wasn’t easy and took a long time to find a niche, identify the audience, position ourselves and understand who we were competing with.

Lavrus is important for the Tretyakov Gallery because it allows us to bring our exhibitions, lectures and master classes to a large portion of people living in the regions outside of Moscow. Prior to Lavrus’ launch, we’d often be told by people what a shame it was that they couldn’t attend and how much they would love to access (the event) online. Finally, the online happened. The Lavrus project launched in November 2019, releasing 4 courses based on the works of the artists Polenov, Repin, Larionov and Kuindzhi.

The project is beautifully associated with the decentralization and dematerialization of the main building of the Tretyakov Gallery.

It was difficult to come up with a distinct structure for the history of Russian art, which is why specific artists and their works served as entry points. It’s logical to question why Lavrus initially launched courses focused on these artists specifically, and the answer is simple: this is merely a starting point. Art history is a palette that consists of diverse components – various styles, eras and artists. You can talk about art history through time frames or through the works of the personalities who helped shape the history. We don’t necessarily have to get attached to chronology. We look at the materials related to the researched artists – materials that exist because the monographic displays of their works happened not that long ago.

We think this project is unique and important because we’re going to look at cultural phenomena through the prism of Russian art.

A screenshot from lavrus.art – inspiring design by Art. Lebedev Studio

Our slogan is: ‘Lavrus is for those who teach and learn.’ This may include people engaged in edutainment, teachers, or simply those who want to see exhibitions in a more qualitative way. Our course is a big, long read that breaks up into various parts. The format of our materials differs and includes texts, images, videos and lectures. We also provide master classes with visual materials for parents and children, helping them master new art techniques.

The editorial staff  at Lavrus work on what, in our view, is lacking in the content plan and presentation of information at the Tretyakov Gallery. We want to talk about culture through Russian art in an understandable way without getting carried away with jagon. The experts in charge of writing these materials are art historians, writers, art history researchers and gallery staff.

Lavrus will eventually focus on art of the 20th – 21st centuries. Peculiarly, the Russian avant-garde and everything that came after still requires thorough explanation.

The project is beautifully associated with the decentralization and dematerialization of the main building of the Tretyakov Gallery, because the Tretyakov Gallery is no longer strictly associated with Lavrushinsky Lane. The Gallery has four branches and house-museums (Vasnetsov, Golubkina, Kabakov’s studio). The Tretyakov Gallery is a big story that is important to decentralize, and Lavrus supports said decentralization.

The name ‘Lavrus’ combines several important meanings. It alludes to Lavrushinsky Lane, where the Tretyakov Gallery was born – its historical geotag. ‘Lavr’ means spirit, scale, grandeur. The ‘Rus’ refers to Russian art. That’s why semantically, lavrus.art is such a well-articulated name – fostering great love for Russian art.

Daria Kravchuk
Daria Kravchuk
is a curator and art manager with an MA in Museology from Amsterdam University. Her international projects are focused on the intersection of contemporary art, architecture, urban planning and anthropology. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.