|Google celebrates the centenary of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts with a delicate Doodle|
The impressive building of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Volkhonka St., across the road from the restored Christ the Saviour Cathedral, was solemnly opened on May 31 (June 13), 1912. The video below from the Museum’s collection shows the Emperor Nicholas II visiting the museum and being greeted by Ivan Tsvetaev, the founder of the Museum and the father of the famous Russian poet, Marina Tsvetaeva.
The initial collection was based on the copies of antique sculptures from the Moscow State University, which are now exhibited in the halls of the Ancient Art Department. As for paintings, especially the invaluable pieces by Gaugin, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, etc, these had been transferred from St. Petersburg museums. Still more works had either been bought or donated by private collectors, which tradition continues to this day. Only recently two private collectors donated to the Pushkin Museum a painting by Dirk Hals, The Merry Company (which apparently is a version of an earlier eponymous work by his elder brother, Frank), and the only surviving work of a little-known German artist, Adam Elias Borni who painted a trompe-l’oeil artwork featuring his colleague, another German painter Dietrich. The latter work was bought in Austria, and art historians may now be able to identify other works by Borni.
I don’t remember the first ever time I visited the Pushkin Museum, although I told you how once I spent nearly 6 hours in the cold February weather to attend an exhibition by Claude Monet. The space is the biggest problem the museum will have to address in the next 6 years. There is a special 2018 Agenda that seeks to add more buildings around the original edifice. I bet many citizens and visitors would give a lot not stop queueing outside the building for hours on end.
I do, however, remember all exhibitions that I attended, which should be a good illustration to the painstaking effort of the museum and its long-term director Prof. Irina Antonova to foster partnership between the Pushkin Museum and other world art depositories. Apart from Claude Monet in 2002, I visited (in no particular order):
|Pablo Picasso, A Girl on the Ball (PMFA, Moscow)|
– Moscow-Berlin, photographs and paintings (1996; a review in Kommersant in Russian)
– Paul Cezanne (1999)
– USSR and USA in photographs (~1999)
– World Museums, the partners of the Pushkin Museum (1998; the exhibit included paintings by Dali and Chagall);
– an exhibition of artwork, mainly sculpture, by the wonderful Italian actress and beautiful woman, Gina Lollobrigida (?)
Speaking of different items in the collection, there is a full-size copy of Michelangelo’s statue of David, and a small hall containing quite a few paintings by Picasso, mainly from his Blue and Pink periods. I secretly took a photo of A Girl on the Ball in 2001 – it was a film camera, not digital, printed on Kodak, so it’s great it actually survived to this day.
In March this year I did a small video of the Pushkin Museum in late evening, so you can see a kind of Gothic close-up of an impressive Classicist building erected after the design by R. Klein and V. Shukhov. And bearing in mind that even Google joined the celebrations by adding a special Google Doodle, we wish the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts many happy returns (and maybe another couple of Turners in the collection)!
William Blake exhibition at the Pushkin Museum
Russia-Italy Year: Giotto, French Impressionsts, and Andrei Rublev
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, a Qype review
Exhibition of Caravaggio Paintings Comes to Moscow
Queue Up for Art: The National Passion of Russians
L’Amour pour l’Art: Why Do We Visit the Great Artistic Shrines?