The A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine ArtsRussian: Gosudarstvennyi muzey izobrazitelnykh iskusstv im. A.S. Pushkina or Государственный музей изобразительных искусств им. А.С. Пушкина is one of the most interesting places to visit in the capital. It contains the largest collection of foreign art in Moscow and, and the second largest in Russia (after the State HermitageRussian: Эрмитаж). Yet the Pushkin Museum is not merely a place where you can see a collection of artifacts from Ancient Egypt or original paintings by Rembrandt, Poussin, and Canaletto as well as the works of famous impressionist and post-impressionist works by Claude Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The museum is special because it displays full-size plaster models of major monuments of the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance periods, giving visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with numerous masterpieces whose originals are scattered all over the galleries and museum collections of different countries. The true jem of this collection is the Italian CourtyardRussian: Italyanskiy dvorik or Итальянский дворик, an exact copy of palace Bargello in Florence. The Pushkin Museum is also one of the busiest venues in the city where temporary exhibitions are held. Among those held recently are major solo exhibitions of P. Picasso, W. Turner, Caravaggio, Titian, and Raphael.
The sections in the main building of the museum are: Ancient Egyptian Art, Middle Eastern Art (both originals and plaster models); Ancient Troy and H. Schliemann’s excavations; Ancient Art (both originals and plaster models); Byzantine Art; Art of the Middle Ages (plaster models); Art of the Renaissance (plaster models); 15th -16th Centuries German and Dutch Art; 17th Century Flandrian and Dutch Art; 17th -18th Century Italian Art; 17th – early 19th Century French Art.
Various events are available for visitors to participate in, including tours, lectures, and workshops. A long standing tradition is the Svyatoslav Rikhter December EveningsRussian: Dekabrskie vechera Svyatoslava Rikhtera or Декабрьские вечера Святослава Рихтера, founded in 1981 by the pianist and museum director Irina Antonova. The festival combines art exhibitions with music. Two other buildings which are a part of the Pushkin Museum are the Gallery of the 19-20th Century European and American ArtRussian: Galereya iskusstva stran Evropy i Ameriki XIX–XX vekov or Галерея искусства стран Европы и Америки XIX–XX веков and The Department of Private CollectionsRussian: Otdel lichnykh kollektsiy or Отдел личных коллекций; these are both located close by.
The Pushkin Museum is situated in the very heart of Moscow between the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the SaviourRussian: Khram Khrista Spasitelya or Храм Христа Спасителя. The historical area has been quite well preserved around VolkhonkaRussian: Волхонкa street. Two famous Moscow streets run from Kropotkinskaya metro station: Ostozhenka and PrechistenkaRussian: Остоженка, Пречистенка, and it is here that many architectural landmarks in the Art Nouveau style have been preserved. In this area, you will also find numerous art galleries and literary museums.
The history of the Museum is closely linked with Ivan Tsvetayev (1847 ‒ 1913). He was a prominent historian, philologist and art expert, professor at the Moscow UniversityRussian: Moskovskiy universitet or Московский университет and privy councilor. Initially, Tsvetaev collected plaster models for the Cabinet (Hall) of Fine Arts and AntiquitiesRussian: Kabinet izyaschnykh iskusstv i drevnostey or Кабинет изящных искусств и древностей of the Moscow University. Later, the project grew into a plan to set up an educational museum for students majoring in architecture and sculpture.
In 1896, the terms and conditions of bidding for the building design were announced. Roman Klein’s project was eventually selected. Engineers I. Rerberg and V. Shukhov took part in its construction. It was originally intended not to have any electric light in the building, and any illumination was to come into the halls through the ceiling. The shape of the building itself evokes images of an antique temple on a podium with a colonnade. The Ionic colonnade on the building was based on the famous caryatid portico of Erechtheion situated in the Acropolis in Athens. The friso behind the colonnade is a copy of the Parthenon friso. The attic features a relief depicting the Olympic Games. The interiors of the halls were decorated according to what was planned to be exhibited in each space. One of the most remarkable examples is the Egyptian hall; the shape of Egyptian columns is used here, and the wall painting reflects ancient Egyptian painting.
In 1989, a special Museum Arrangement CommitteeRussian: Komitet po ustroystvu muzeya or Комитет по устройству музея was established to set up the museum. The Grand Prince Sergei Aleksandrovichthe fifth son and seventh child of Emperor Alexander II of Russia became its chairman. Almost 80% of the funds came from Y. Nechayev-Maltsov, a major art patron and diplomat. A solemn opening ceremony of the Alexander III Fine Arts MuseumRussian: Muzey izyaschnykh iskusstv imeni Aleksandra III or Музей изящных искусств имени Александра III took place in 1912. Emperor Nicolas II the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1894 until his forced abdication in 1917and Maria Fyodorovna (Alexander IIIthe Emperor of Russia from 1881 until his death in 1894’s widow) were present at the event.
In Soviet times, the museum collections were considerably extended due to the nationalization of private collections. The Museum was removed from the direction of the Moscow University. In 1937 – the centenary anniversary of the great poet Pushkin’s death – the museum was renamed after Alexander Pushkin. An extraordinary episode in the museum’s history is the period from 1949 to 1953: at that time, most of the halls were occupied by a display of presents given to I. Stalin. Soon after the leader’s death, the permanent exhibition that we see today was restored and opened to the public once more.
The work on creation of the so called Museum TownRussian: Muzeynyi gorodok or Музейный городок to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Pushkin Museum began in 2012. This is a complex of buildings built in order to extend the floor space and the functions of the Pushkin Museum. The project is due to be completed by 2019. At present, the Main Building and the Gallery operate as usual while the Private Collections Department only holds temporary exhibitions until the extension work is completed.
The Pushkin Museum collection comprises over 670,000 exhibits in an exhibition space of 2600 sq.metres. The museum comprises several buildings. The main building (12, Volkhonka str.) contains the collection of plaster models and original works of art from ancient times to the 18th century. Modern art occupies the neighbouring building – the 19th -20th Century European and American Art Gallery (14, Volkhonka str.). On the other side of the main building is Museion (6, bld.2 Kolymazhny side streetRussian: Kolymazhnyi pereulok or Колымажный переулок) and the Department of Private Collections (10, Volkhonka str.), a unique museum in that the exhibits do not flow in chronological order, but rather are arranged by the collections within which individual artworks were originally displayed in the museum. Particular attention is paid to the personalities of those who put together the original displays.
The Children and Youth Aesthetic Education Centre “Museion”Russian: Tsentr esteticheskogo vospitaniya «Museyon» or Центр эстетического воспитания «Мусейон» was opened in 2006. Classes for children of different age groups are held at the centre. The Young Art Experts’ ClubRussian: Klub yunykh iskusstvovedov or Клуб юных искусствоведов operates here, and the Museon students’ exhibitions are organised there too.
As mentioned above, the first stage in creating the museum was a collection of plaster models of sculptural masterpieces which would help students study art. Casts for the plaster copies were made from original monuments. Their size corresponds to the real size of the monument, which is hard to convey in the images in books and postcards. Subsequent museum displays were based around original works of art. These were either purchased or donated by art patrons. One of the first of these was V. Golenishchev’s collection. The prominent scientist put together a wonderful collection of ancient Egyptian monuments. This was purchased by the state and given to the museum in 1909-1911. Its exhibits date from the 4th millennium B.C. to the 4th century B.C. There are some real masterpieces among them, for example, pharaoh Amenemhat III’s sculpture created in the 19th century B.C., and a decorative spoon from the New Kingdom era.
Another early addition to the museum holdings was a collection of 8th-14th century Italian paintings. This collection was donated to the museum by the diplomat M. Shchyokin. After the socialist revolution of 1917, the Rumyantsev MuseumRussian: Rumyantsevskiy muzey or Румянцевский музей collection, the collections of S. Tretyakov, D. Shchukin, and aristocratic families such as the Yusupovs, the Shuvalovs, and others found their way into the Pushkin museum. The museum also received some paintings from the Hermitage. Since that time, the museum has displayed Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Rubens, Poussin, Murillo, and Canaletto’s works. In 1948, part of the collection of the State Museum of the New Western ArtRussian: Muzey novogo zapadnogo iskusstva or Музей нового западного искусства was passed to the A. Pushkin Museum. It consisted of numerous remarkable works of the 19th – 20th century. In particular, it included impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com