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A Treat for Art Lovers

If you love art you simply have to visit the Vladimir Sukachev Irkutsk Regional Art Museum the next time you go to Russia. This stunning art museum is the oldest and richest art museum in Siberia. It is absolutely brimming with an exquisite collection of art and is a visual feast for the eyes.

The entire museum is based on a private art collection of a former student of the St. Petersburg University. Vladimir Sukachev probably acquired the first few paintings of is collection in the early 1870s when he was still studying at the university. Sukachev turned out to be an avid art collector constantly searching for new acquisitions and so by 1874 he already had about thirty paintings in his collection. In that year his collection was exhibited in the halls of the Geographical Society in Irkutsk. Just six years later his collection had grown to more than twice that size. In 1898 Sukachev moved with his family to St. Petersburg, leaving his collection in the care of an agent in Irkutsk. It was here that his beautiful collection managed to survive the First World War and the Civil War under the careful guard of the Irkutsk Society for the Encouragement of Artists and a handful of honest, hardworking individuals. Before this period of difficulty, Sukachev had enriched his collection with copies of artwork created by some noteworthy Western European artists who had their works on display in Munich and Florence. After the wars, he continued to expand his now sizeable collection by scouring the Eastern Siberia Section of the Russian Geographical Society. The museum was the oldest in Siberia and it was here that he found some incredibly rare Chinese wooden sculptures, as well as bronze ritual vessels, bone and stone items, lacquered wood artifacts, Chinese prints and Japanese engravings.

In time Vladimir was chosen to be the head of the city and the patron of art. His collection was expanded again and again until it came to include over 14 000 works of art. The various pieces have come from different artists at different times from different parts of the globe, as far away from each other as Japan and Italy. The earliest artworks probably date back to the 3rd century while more recent artworks date back to the 19th century when Sukachev was alive and actively collecting. The Sukachev Art Museum now houses this incredibly vast collection of art, which is on display for the public’s enjoyment. Various written works by Siberian writers are also included in the collection. The museum is located in two different buildings, one on 5 Lenin Street and the other on 23/25 Karl Marx Street. It is closed on Mondays but open the rest of the week from 10:00 to 18:00.

 



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