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Fine Arts Museum of Alexander III (A. S. Pushkin State Museum of Visual Arts) opened

13 June 1912

On May 31 (June 13), 1912 in Moscow, Volkhonka, in the territory of the former Kolymazhny Dvor near Kremlin took place the grand opening ceremony of the Fine Arts Museum of the Emperor Alexander III (today A. S. Pushkin State Museum of Visual Arts).

The originator of the Museum creation in 1893 was the Honored professor of MGU, Romanian Philology Doctor and Art historian I. V. Tsvetayev. The building constructed had been directed by Moscow architect R. I. Klein. Architect G. B. Barkhin, artists I. I. Nivinsky, A. Ya. Golovin and other contributed to the interiors’ finishing – their style corresponded to the exhibits contained by the halls.

The museum was created on the basis of Fine Arts and antiquities study of Moscow University as educational and auxiliary and public repository for the moulds and copies of classical works of the world art. The original museum collection included the moulds of the outstanding works of European sculpture, unique collection of art and material culture monuments of the Ancient Egypt composed by Egyptologist V. S. Golenishchev (about 6 thousand objects), a series of originals of the West-European paintings (mostly of Holland, France and Italian schools), a precious collection of antique vases and coins.

After the revolution the Museum was no longer subordinate to the University and became an independent art museum. From 1924 to 1930 the Museum holdings were replenished with the nationalized exhibits from Moscow estates, with former collections of G. A. Brokar, D. I. Shchukin, with the objects from the abolished I. S. Ostroukhov Icon Painting Museum. Historical Museum, Museums of Kremlin, Tretyakov Gallery gave over the works of the West-European art being secondary for them.

Museum’s holdings were greatly enriched by the materials of archaeological excavations of antique cities of the Northern regions near the Black Sea. The decisive meaning for paining gallery formation had the acquisitions from the State Hermitage which provided the works of the greatest European painters, such as Boticelli, Rembrandt, Van Dake, Rubens, Poussin, Murilio, Kanaletto.

In 1932 the Fine Arts Museum was renamed into the State Museum of Visual Arts and in 1937 it was attributed the name of A. S. Pushkin.

At the present the complex of Museum’s buildings consists of the Main building, Museum of personal collections, Art Gallery of European and American countries of 19-20th centuries, Youth Center ‘Musseion’. As the Museum branches are also considered I. V. Tsvetayev Educational Museum and Svyatoslav Richter Memorial apartment.

The Museum holdings number over 560 000 works of painting and sculpture, graphical works, works of applied art, monuments of archaeology and numismatics, artistic photography. The manuscript fund contains the documents on the Museum history, scientific and epistolary heritage of its founder, of other museum workers, eminent art critics, the archives of some museums the collections of which had been acquired by the State Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1991 A. S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest and most significant Russian museum of the European and world art, was put on the State code of the most valuable objects of the cultural heritage of the Russian Federation peoples.

Lit.: Государственный музей изобразительных искусств имени А. С. Пушкина. Каталог картинной галереи. Живопись. Скульптура, М., 1961; Демская А. А., Смирнова Л. М. Музей на Волхонке. М., 1982; 50 лет Государственному музею изобразительных искусств имени А. С. Пушкина: Сб. статей. М., 1962.

Государственный музей изобразительных искусств им. А. С. Пушкина: сайт. 2009-2014. URL: http://www.arts-museum.ru/.

From the Presidential library materials:

Положение о Комитете для устройства при Московском университете Музея изящных искусств им. имп. Александра III и заведывания им. М., 1896;

The list of properties of historical and cultural heritage of the federal (all-Russian) significance approved // On this day. 20 February 1995.