The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Russian: Музей изобразительных искусств им. А.С. Пушкина, also known as ГМИИ) is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located in Volkhonka street, just opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The State A.S.Pushkin Museum – today one of the cultural centers of Moscow and Russia. In addition to the head of the museum comprises five branches: Memorial flat A.S Pushkin on Arbat Street, Memorial Apartment of Andrei Bely on Arbat Street, the Museum of I.S Turgenev on Ostozhenka, House Museum V.L Pushkin on Old Basman St. and Showrooms in monetary alley. The main museum complex is located in a wonderful landmark beginning of the XIX century – the urban gentry manor Khrushchev-Seleznev on the street. Prechistenka, 12.2. The International musical festival Svyatoslav Richter’s December nights has been held in the Pushkin museum since 1981.
Fine Art 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, 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 and Story of Wenamun – had been contributed by Vladimir Golenishchev 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 to the new capital. The entire collection of Western art from the Museum Roumjantsev was added too. These paintings 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. These comprised Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artwork, including top works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Dufrénoy, Derain and Matisse. Among them, Van Gogh’s “La 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 World War II the evacuated Dresden Gallery had been stored in Moscow for 10 years. The Dresden collection was finally returned to German Democratic Republic, despite strong opposition from the museum officials, notably Irina Antonova, who had been running the museum since February 1961. The Pushkin Museum is still a main depositary of Troy’s the so-called Priam’s Treasure gold hoard removed from Troy by the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann and later taken by the Soviet Army (Red Army) from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin; as well as other artifacts taken from Germany during the Soviet occupation at the end of the Second World War, for example the Eberswalde Hoard.
The Pushkin Museum has a numismatic collection which is unpublished. It includes archaeological material from Central Asia, such as a hoard of Kushano-Sasanian coins acquired in 2002
The museum’s current name is somewhat misleading, in that it has no direct associations with the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, other than as a posthumous commemoration of his name and fame. The facility was founded by professor Ivan Tsvetaev (father of the poet Marina Tsvetaeva). Tsvetaev persuaded the millionaire and philanthropist Yuriy Nechaev-Maltsov and the fashionable architect Roman Klein of the urgent need to give Moscow a fine arts museum. After going through a number of name-changes, particularly in the transition to the Soviet-era and the return of the Russian capital to Moscow, the museum was finally renamed to honour the memory of Pushkin in 1937, the 100th anniversary of his death.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts’ building was designed by Roman Klein and Vladimir Shukhov and financed primarily by Yury Nechaev-Maltsov. Construction work began in 1898 and continued till 1912.