Pushkin Museum

Pushkin Museum

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The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (Russian: Музей изобразительных искусств им. А.С. Пушкина) is the largest museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 of European art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, located in Volkhonka street, just opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Moscow)
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a Church in Moscow, Russia, on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks south-west of the Kremlin...

.

The museum's name is misleading, as it has nothing to do with the famous Russian poet. It was founded by professor Ivan Tsvetaev (father of the poet Marina Tsvetaeva
Marina Tsvetaeva
Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was a Russian and Soviet poet. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in twentieth century Russian literature. She lived through and wrote of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In an attempt to save her daughter Irina from...

). Tsvetaev persuaded the millionaire
Millionaire
A millionaire is an individual whose net worth or wealth is equal to or exceeds one million units of currency. It can also be a person who owns one million units of currency in a bank account or savings account...

 and philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

 Yuriy Nechaev-Maltsov
Yury Nechaev-Maltsov
Nechaev-Maltsov Yury Stepanovich was leading glassware manufacturer in Russia, Landlord, patron of arts, and the major private donor to the Pushkin Museum. He owned a number of shops in Moscow and St. Petersburg where the glassware produced by his factories of Gus-Khrustalny was sold...

 and the fashionable architect Roman Klein
Roman Klein
Roman Ivanovich Klein , born Robert Julius Klein, was a Russian architect and educator, best known for his Neoclassical Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Klein, an eclectic, was one of the most prolific architects of his period, second only to Fyodor Schechtel...

 of the urgent need to give Moscow a fine arts museum.


Construction


The museum building was designed by Roman Klein
Roman Klein
Roman Ivanovich Klein , born Robert Julius Klein, was a Russian architect and educator, best known for his Neoclassical Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Klein, an eclectic, was one of the most prolific architects of his period, second only to Fyodor Schechtel...

 and Vladimir Shukhov
Vladimir Shukhov
Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov , was a Russian engineer-polymath, scientist and architect renowned for his pioneering works on new methods of analysis for structural engineering that led to breakthroughs in industrial design of world's first hyperboloid structures, lattice shell structures, tensile...

 and financed primarily by Yury Nechaev-Maltsov. Construction work began in 1898 and continued till 1912. Ivan Rerberg
Ivan Rerberg
Ivan Ivanovich Rerberg was a Russian civil engineer, architect and educator active in Moscow in 1897–1932. Rerberg's input to present-day Moscow include Kiyevsky Rail Terminal, Central Telegraph building and the Administration building of Moscow Kremlin...

 headed structural engineering effort on the museum site for 12 years, till 1909.

Collection


Tsvetaev's dream was realised in May 1912, when the museum opened its doors to the public. The museum was originally named after Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

, although the government provided only 200,000 rubles toward its construction, in comparison with over 2 million from Nechaev-Maltsev. Its first exhibits were copies of ancient statuary, thought indispensable for the education of art students. The only genuinely ancient items - Moscow Mathematical Papyrus
Moscow Mathematical Papyrus
The Moscow Mathematical Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian mathematical papyrus, also called the Golenishchev Mathematical Papyrus, after its first owner, Egyptologist Vladimir Golenishchev. Golenishchev bought the papyrus in 1892 or 1893 in Thebes...

 and Story of Wenamun
Story of Wenamun
The Story of Wenamun is a literary text written in hieratic in the Late Egyptian language...

 - had been contributed by Vladimir Golenishchev
Vladimir Golenishchev
Vladimir Semyonovich Golenishchev was one of the first and most accomplished Russian Egyptologists.Golenishchev came from an old noble family, of which Field Marshal Kutuzov was also a member, and was educated at the Saint Petersburg University. In 1884–85 he organized and financed excavations in...

 three years earlier.

After the Russian capital was moved to Moscow in 1918, the Soviet government decided to transfer thousands of works from St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

 to the new capital. The entire collection of Western art from the Museum Roumjantsev was added too. These painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s formed a nucleus of the Pushkin museum's collections of Western art. But the most important paintings were added later from the State Museum of New Western Art
Sergei Shchukin
Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin was a Russian businessman who became an art collector, mainly of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, following a trip to Paris in 1897, when he bought his first Monet. He later bought numerous works by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin, among...

. These comprised Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artwork, including top works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Dufrénoy
Georges Dufrénoy
Georges Dufrénoy was a French post-Impressionist painter associated with Fauvism.-Biography:He was born in Thiais, France. His family lived at 2 Place des Vosges in Paris in a historic 17th century building in which he lived all his life...

 and Matisse. Among them Van Goghs "Le Vigne Rouge" apparently the only painting sold during the artist's lifetime. In 1937, Pushkin's name was appended to the museum, because the Soviet Union marked the centenary of the poet's death that year.


After the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the evacuated Dresden Gallery had been stored in Moscow for 10 years. The Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 collection was finally returned to East Germany, despite strong opposition from the museum officials, notably Irina Antonova
Irina Antonova
Irina Aleksandrovna Antonova has been Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow since 1961, making her the oldest director of a major art museum in the world...

, who has been running the museum since February 1961. The Pushkin Museum is still a main depositary of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

's fabulous gold
Priam's Treasure
Priam’s Treasure is a cache of gold and other artifacts discovered by classical archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Schliemann claimed the site to be that of ancient Troy, and assigned the artifacts to the Homeric king Priam. This assignment is now thought to be a result of Schliemann's zeal to...

 looted from Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 by the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns...

 and taken by the Soviet Army (Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

) from the Pergamon Museum
Pergamon Museum
The Pergamon Museum is situated on the Museum Island in Berlin. The site was designed by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann and was constructed in twenty years, from 1910 to 1930. The Pergamon houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate...

 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.

The International musical festival Svyatoslav Richter's December nights has been held in the Pushkin museum since 1981.

Further reading

  • William Craft Brumfield. The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture (Berkeley: University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    , 1991) ISBN 0520069293

External links