THE CHEREPOVETS MUSEUM ASSOCIATION
OPENED IN 1870, THE CHEREPOVETS MUSEUM IS ONE OF THE OLDEST MUSEUMS IN THE NORTH OF RUSSIA AND THE SECOND IN IMPORTANCE IN THE REGION OF NOVGOROD. THE MUSEUM WAS FOUNDED BY THE CITY’S MAYOR IVAN ANDREEVICH MILIUTIN (1829–1907) AND THE WELL-KNOWN FOLKLORE SCHOLAR AND NATIVE OF CHEREPOVETS, ELPIDIFOR VASILIEVICH BARSOV (1836–1917), WHO DONATED HIS PRIVATE COLLECTION TO THE TOWN. INITIALLY THE MUSEUM INCLUDED NEARLY 4,000 WORKS OF ART DONATED BY FORTY ONE PATRONS OF ART, AS WELL AS COLLECTORS OF RARITIES; TODAY THE COLLECTION RUNS TO MORE THAN 400,000 WORKS.
In its first decades the museum's collection was increased from different sources, including archeological, historical and ethnographic expeditions, and private donations. In 1914-1915 the museum received the collection of the Museum of the Leib-guards Corps of the Lithuanian regiment that was evacuated from Warsaw.
ST NICHOLAS, THE MIRACLE-WORKER. End of the 14th – beginning of the 15th century
Panel, gesso ground, tempera. 46,5 × 39 cm
After the October revolution the museum received many artefacts following the closure of churches and monasteries in the region, as well as from the State Museum Fund, and the central museums of Moscow and Leningrad. In 1926 the museum received the collection of art bronzes of Prince S.S. Abamelek-Lazarev, consisting of thirty one pieces - lighting devices, candlesticks, decorative vases, and clocks made by French and Russian masters of the 18th-19th centuries. In 1928 valuable engravings and works of arts and crafts - porcelain, furniture, art moulding, and bronzes belonging to the well-known historian and correspondent member of the Academy of Sciences, and Cherepovets native N.D. Chechulin - were transferred to the museum.
The collection of Russian painting (late 19th-early 20th century) was formed in the 1920-30s. In 1926 paintings by K.E. Makosky, F.A. Bronnikov and I.P Stefanovsky were brought from the State Russian Museum; the "Portrait of Princess Shakhovskaya with Her Daughter" (1807) by D.G. Levitsky, "Portrait of Great Duchess Maria Pavlovna" (from the 1800s) by V.L. Borovikovsky, "Portrait of Count Palen" (1903), and a study by I.E. Repin for the painting "The Ceremonial Session of the State Council" were received from the Leningrad Department of the Museum Fund. The Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts donated prize- and awardwinning paintings by its former students: "The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds" by P.S. Petrovsky, "View of the Town of Revel" by A.P Bogoliubov, "Fist- cuffs on the River Moskva" by B.M. Kustodiev, "Foreigners Arriving in Russia" by K.A. Veshchilov, "A Gypsy Woman" by I.F. Porfirov and others. In 1965, after the death of the landscape painter E.I. Stolitsa (who was a disciple of A.I. Kuinji and member of the Academy of Arts), sixty of his paintings were donated to the museum by his sisters. In the 1970s the collection added works by N.A. Kassatkin, VA. Serov, K.Ya. Kryzhitsky, A.A. Svedomsky and V.K. Bialynitsky-Birulia, from the private collection of the restorer of the Russian Museum and Museum of the Academy of Arts, M.N. Markov.
20th century art is represented by paintings and drawings by famous Russian artists, including V.A. Vetrogonsky, V.V. Pimenov, A.V. Panteleyev, E.E. Moisseyenko, and A.F. Pakhomov, as well as artists from Vologda. The museum is currently collecting works of naive art by Vologda inhabitants.
Folk art is a very impressive part of the Cherepovets collection, embracing the full variety of arts and crafts of the region. The works of folk art have a unique style and artistry characteristic of the craftsmen of the Vologda, and particularly of the Cherepovets region. The museum is also collecting unique dolls, from peasants' rag dolls to marionettes and modern designers' creations: new "characters" are often added to the collection, highlighting the amazing artistry of the doll-makers.
The historical and bibliographic value of the collection of books and manuscripts (early printed books and rare editions of the 15th-20th centuries) has been attested by numerous scholars. Nine Cyrillic books are officially recognized as unique; nineteen, as very rare. Many books of the 18th century have their owners' inscriptions and autographs: of the prince Ivan Dolgoruky, the archimandrite of the Kirillo- Belozersk monastery Ioasaf Karpinsky, and the rector of the Moscow Slavic, Greek and Latin Academy, Vasily Trediakovsky. In 1817 in the file of the journal "Vestnik Europy" ("Europe's Messenger") a unique sentence probably written by the famous Russian poet, Konstantin Nikolaevich Batiushkov, is to be found: "He who fears death has not corrected his faults; a good man sees death as a guest and awaits its arrival with joy, and hopes to gain his eternal home and reap the reward of good deeds". The archive of books and manuscripts was confirmed at the opening of the museum, and is being constantly enriched.
The museum keeps books of the 18th-19th centuries that had belonged to the Vereshchagin family, as well as editions of the collected poems of the Russian poet Igor Severianin published during his lifetime. There is also a memorial scientific library that belonged to M.P Alexeyev - nearly 7,000 rare editions devoted to literary criticism and linguistics in Russian, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Serb, Croat and Polish. Many books have autographs and inscriptions.
The Cherepovets Museum Association is justly proud of its collection of relics of Russian orthodox culture. Many of them are known internationally, including icons - as an integral part of the national spiritual culture - which have been exhibited in Paris, Geneva, Genoa, Florence, the Vatican, Japan and Cyprus. The director of the Cherepovets Museum of Local History, Kornely Konstantinovich Morozov (1902- 1980), and the art critic Klavdia Mikhailovna Bukharina (1894- 1964) made a major contribution to the formation and study of the museum collection.
Over more than a century of its existence, the Cherepovets museum has changed its name and status several times, as new departments were opened. It was called the city museum, then the museum of the province, of the district, then the city museum again... Now it is an important association incorporating eight museums, an exhibition hall, a scientific library and the archive.
For the first years of its existence the museum had no building of its own; its first exhibition took place in a small room of just 15 square meters in a wooden house of the "Salt Town" situated in the town's public park. Only in 1898 was a stone building constructed on Alexandrovsky Prospekt to house the museum. At present the museum is situated in more than ten buildings, including some national historical monuments such as the wooden church of St. Nicholas built in 1673 in the village of Dimitrievo, and the church of Our Lady's Assumption in the village of Nelazskoye (1694). In 1990 a unique monument of history, culture and architecture of the early 19th century, the country estate of the Novgorod aristocratic family the Galskys, became a part of the museum. It is the only estate on the territory of the Cherepovets region where all the constructions are preserved: houses, barns, stables...
The landowner's wooden house has a particular historical and architectural importance as an excellent example of Russian classical architecture. In the centre there is a portico with six Doric columns elevated on a socle to the level of the ground floor; the three-shuttered windows are decorated with platbands. The south facade ornamented with projections looks less solemn; its colonnade is unusual, with a gallery with a balcony or terrace on its top. Inside the house the rooms are aligned in enfilades; the staircase with sculpted rail posts leading to the first floor is preserved, as well as the framed doors and tiled stoves.
At present on the territory of the manor, situated in the centre of the town on the bank of the river Sheksna, the museum "Galskys' Patrimony" is being constructed and will be devoted to the everyday life of the Galsky family, Russian landowners of the 19th century. The garden and park will return to their original form. As well as the landowner's manor, the manager's house and the gardener's hut, the museum will include other buildings: the servants' courtyard house, peasants' huts, two barns, workshops where blinkers and carriages were made, and the stables where horses and colts were kept.
The stables have returned to their original use, and the territory of the museum-manor includes a riding school for children and adults. The museum's visitors can ride on horseback or sledge and admire the picturesque landscapes of the Vologda region. The winter itinerary embraces the most beautiful places in the Kirillovsky district; a visit to the Kirillo-Belozersky natural reserve and the museum of frescoes by Dionisy (Ferapontovo) is a must. In summer tourists can enjoy the ride around the environs of Cherepovets and Kaduy, visit the village of Vladimirov- ka situated in a picturesque location in the middle of the wood, on the bank of the rivers Andoga and Suda. Here, 30 kilometres from Cherepovets, the famous Russian poet Igor Severianin spent his youth at his uncle's residence, the manor of the Lotarev family. Fond memories of his childhood and adolescence influenced Severianin's brilliant poetry; some landscapes vividly depicted by Severianin in his best lyrical poems recall the land of the poet's youth.
After the revolution the Lotarev manor was nationalized. It housed a children's rest home, and in 1996, in need of restoration and repair, became the property of the Cherepovets Museum Association. Now it accomodates the Literary Museum and the Igor Severianin Museum. Numerous tourists arrive from all parts of Russia attracted by the aura of the poet's fame, with the desire to feel the atmosphere in which "the king of Russian poetry" wrote his magic verse. Every year members of the international association of painters "The Sunny Square" come to Vladimirovka to paint in the open air, while in summer Vladimirovka is full of children and teenagers working and playing in the children's ecological camp.
Cherepovets is the native town of the great Russian painter Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin (18421904). The residence of the marshal of district nobility V.V. Vereshchagin, where on October 26 (in the old calendar, October 14) the painter was born, still exists. He was named after his father, "being born on his birthday". The museum of the Vereshchagin family is open, including seven houses (the memorial house included), and the park and garden with trees and medicinal herbs. The museum's exhibits tell the life story of this extraordinary family that contributed so generously to the glory of Russia. Nikolai Vereshchagin was a pioneer in the development of Russian butter production, while Vasily became a major painter. Alexander, a military man, received the rank of Major-General, and also wrote stories that were highly appreciated by Leo Tolstoy. Sergei, an aide-de-camp to the general M.D. Skobelev, was a gifted graphic artist and perished in the Turkish campaign of 1877-1878. In the museum one can see personal possessions of the Vereshchagins, including photographs, documents and books from the family library with various inscriptions, as well as the brothers' studies and drawings. In 1990, a military history club was opened in the Vereshchagin Museum; its members study the history of the 13th Belozersk regiment, reconstructing the episodes of battles of the Patriotic War of 1812. As "French artillery and infantry", "medieval knights" and "soldiers of World War II" they take part in festivals of military history in Russia and other countries. Members learn about military strategy and tactics by playing with tin soldiers: in 2003, after receipt of a presidential grant, the Museum of the Tin Soldier was opened.
Every year, on October 25 and 26, Nikolai and Vasily Vereshchagin's birthdays, national scholarly conferences, art competitions, workshops and seminars take place in memory of the family.
The Children's Museum, another part of the association, occupies the earliest museum building erected in 1898. Its collections are devoted to ethnography, natural history, figurative and applied art, and the museum's young visitors acquire new knowledge and develop artistic skills, alongside educational programmes for children, teenagers and their parents. The children's centre proves to its visitors that a museum is not a stuffy place full of old and unnecessary things - but a wonderful world ready to share its secrets, and a place to learn, experiment and create.
The historical department of the Cherepovets museum reveals the history of the Vologda region and the town of Cherepovets. Thanks to the support of the "Open Society" institute, the exhibition "Hero of Our Time: The 20th century" has opened. The art department is devoted to the art and culture of the Vologda region from the 11th-early 20th centuries, and exhibits relics of Orthodox culture. The two sections occupy a building constructed in the early 20th century in the then-fashionable "red brick style".
The exhibits of the archeological museum tell the history of the land called Cherepovets; in the nature museum one can see the zoological, botanical, geological and paleontology collections. Thanks to annual specialized expeditions, the museum's collections are being constantly replenished.
All the museums that form the Cherepovets Museum Association have the same general task: to do their best to preserve the heritage of the past, and give to our contemporaries and descendants the possibility to learn more about their historical roots - and be proud of Russian history, and grateful to our ancestors for their everyday work in times of peace, and labours in times of war.
General Director of the Cherepovets Museum Association Honoured Culture Scholar of the Russian Federation
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 62×41×14,5 cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 180×58,5
Холст, шелк, камка, золотные и серебряные нити, лицевое шитье. 159 ×93
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 107×69 cm
Wood, carving, gilding, with icons. 210×122cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 180×129,5 cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 91×63×11cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 87×69 cm
Wood, carving, tempera. 156×147×19 cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 208,8×172
Wood, gesso ground, tempera, silver setting, chasing, gilding. 68×54,5 cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 60×22×19 cm
Wood, gesso ground, tempera. 85×63 cm
Wood (three panels), gesso ground, tempera. 126,3×102,5 cm