Karl Brullov's picture returning to Russia signifies "it begins to restore its might"

A picture by Karl Brullov, brought back to Russia this year, was included at a ceremony on Friday into the permanent exposition of the Tretyakov Gallery, a major collection of Russian paintings in Moscow. An almost previously unknown work of the great 19th century Russian painter - "A View of the Pico Fort in Madeira Island", painted while Brullov was visiting that Portuguese island, was in private hands there and bought out by Russia after the picture was seen by a staff member of the Tretyakov Gallery during a trip to Madeira.

Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who spoke at the ceremony, described the return of the picture to the artist's homeland as a "landmark event", According to him, this is a confirmation of the fact that Russia "is firmly back on its feet and is restoring its might", of which culture and arts make a part, as the minister emphasised.

The country's leadership is facing a host of tasks, but "equally important is to consolidate cultural positions of Russia in the world," Ivanov said. He expressed hope that Russia's "cultural expansion" will continue.

Tretyakov Gallery director Valentin Rodionov said that Russia had "many competitors" wishing to purchase Brullov's canvas.

Margaret Lemos Gomes, the Portuguese owner of the picture, who sold it to Moscow's Tretykov Gallery, is expected to visit Russia in May. The talks on the sale lasted two years and ended in "strengthened cultural relations between Russia and Portugal," said Yelena Bekhtiyeva, the art critic, who discovered the picture in Madeira.

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