Now the extensive collection of the museum comprises about 8,000 works of art. It contains many valuable paintings by nearly all outstanding Russian artists. The collection of graphic works includes those by Russian and Western-European masters among which there are a number of masterpieces of Russian art. No less noteworthy are the works of applied and folk art, e.g. Khokhloma and Gorodets decorative paintings. The museum systematically replenishes its collection. Every department can boast of unique exhibits of high artistic value.
SS. Nicholas, Boris and Gleb. XVI century
The art of ancient Russia is represented by the oldest icon in the collection of the late 14th- early 15th centuries The Prophet Elijah Carried to Heaven in a Chariot of Fire with sixteen scenes from the life of the saint on the margin. The icon glorifies the victory of Christianity over pagans. Many icons of the 15th and 16th centuries of the local school of painting present interest too.
Among the Gallery's exhibits, the works of the Stupin group are worthy of special attention. In 1802, in his native town of Arzamas, A.Stupin founded the first private abt school in Russia. In the museum one may see a number of canvases belonging to the former pupils of Stupin's school, such as N.Alexeyev - Syromiansky, E.Rachkov, V.Rayev and others.
The Cautios One (1877) by Repin
The creative activity of many painters of the second half of the 19th century was connected with the Volga and Nizhni Novgorod, its historical past. The motifs found their reflection in the works of the representatives of the Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions, who founded the Russian realistic school of painting. The Gorky Museum's collection contains not a few paintings by Ivan Kramskoy, Nikolay Yaroshenko, Vladimir Makovsky, Victor Vasnetsov, Alexey Savrasov, Ivan Shishkin and others. Ilya Repin's famous work The Cautios One (1877) is characterized by the artist's deep penetration into the complex character of his subject which has transformed the man depicted into a typical representative of the pesantry. The image of the peasant belongs to the best in Russian realistic art.
Minin's Appeal by Konstantin
The Academic school of painting is represented by an outstanding canvas on historical subject Minin's Appeal by Konstantin Makovsky. The subject-matter of this huge painting (42 m. sq.) is Kozma Minin's speech before the citizens of Nizhni Novgorod in 1611 in which he appealed to sacrifice money for creating people's volunteer corps to liberate Russia from foreign enemies.
Red Steeds by Nikolai Roerich
The art of the early 20th century is represented by the works of Isaak Levetan, Valentin Serov, Abram Arkhipov, Konstantin Korovin, Zinaida Serebryakova, Boris Kustodiev, Nikolai Roerich. A prominent place in the museum collection is occupied by the paintings of the masters belonging to such artistic groups as Blue Rose and Knave of Diamonds.