Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts - A Great Art Experience

The largest museum of European art in Moscow is the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. It can be found on Volkhonka Street opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Although it has the name Pushkin, the museum actually has nothing to do with the well-known Russian poet. It would make more sense if the museum had been named after its real founder, Professor Ivan Tsvetaev, the father of the famous poet Marina Tsvetaeva.

Tsvetaev saw the real need to give Moscow a fine arts museum and so he set about persuading Yuriy Nechaev-Maltsev, a young millionaire, and a trendy architect Roman Klein to help in making this need a reality. It took fourteen years, from 1898 to 1912, for Roman Klein and Shukhov to design with the financial support of Yuriy Nechaey-Maltsey. It was May 1912 that Tsvetaev’s dream came true and the fine arts museum finally opened its doors to all the people.

The first exhibits shown and were seen as vital for the education of art students was copies of ancient statuary. The only genuine ancient items to be given were by Vladimir Golenishchev who supplied Moscow Mathematical Papyrus and the Story of Wenamun, three years earlier. In 1918 the Russian capital was moved to Moscow and with it the government decided to transfer thousands of works from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It was these works that formed the basis of the collection of Western Art at the Pushkin museum. Later the State Museum of New Western Art added the most important paintings, which were an assortment of Impressionist and Post-impressionist artworks. This assortment was made up of the well-known art works of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso.

After the World War II the Dresdan Gallery, which had been displaced, was stored for ten years in Moscow. The Dresden collection was eventually moved back to East Germany even though there was a lot of opposition from museum officials and especially Antonova who had been running the Pushkin museum since February 1961. The main collection of Troy’s incredible gold found by Heinrich Schliemann and taken away by the Red Army from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, can still be found at the Pushkin Museum.


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