Jared Ash

#2 2020 (67)

The Thomas J. Watson Library, the primary research library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, holds more than one million volumes on art, archaeology, architecture, ornament and design. Founded in 1870 under the same charter as that of the Museum itself, the scope of the Library collection is as encyclopaedic as the Museum’s. Offering a strong complement to Russian art and objects in the Museum’s curatorial collections, Watson’s holdings promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of an even wider field of Russian art and material culture.

Margaret Samu

#2 2020 (67)

Visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can see a surprising number of objects and works of art from Russia. Because the museum does not have a department dedicated to Russian culture, seeing these objects requires going on a “treasure hunt” through different departments: Musical Instruments, Medieval Art, Arms and Armor, European Paintings, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Drawings and Prints, Photography, Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Costume Institute. Some of the objects are quite rare and unusual, but others are quite humble and almost ordinary, except for the path that brought them to one of the largest museums in the world. This essay surveys donations of Russian art and design made to the Met by major and minor collectors, as well as objects that entered the museum as part of its regular acquisitions programme.

Alexandra Murre
"Unknown Masterpieces". Treasures of Russian Art from the Museum Collections of the Baltic Countries

#4 2012 (37)

This spring Tallinn hosted a large-scale exhibition of Russian art from the mid-19th to the early 20th century from the collections of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian museums, titled "Unknown Masterpieces. Russian Art in the Collections of the Baltic Countries". In total, seven museums took part in the exhibition: the project's initiator the Art Museum of Estonia, the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Lithuanian Art Museum, the Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Film Museum, the Ciurlionis National Art Museum, the Narva Museum and the Tartu Art Museum. Conceived for the general public, it included characteristic works by famous artists, mainly paintings, complemented by some graphics and sculptures.

“Unknown Masterpieces”. Treasures of Russian Art from the Museum Collections of the Baltic Countries

Alexandra Murre
Russian art in the Art Museum of Estonia

#4 2012 (37)

Russian art forms one of the most significant parts of the Art Museum of Estonia's foreign art collection in terms of both the number of exhibits and their artistic and historical value. It includes about 350 paintings, 120 sculptures, 870 engravings and drawings and around 200 items of applied art, created between the 17th century and the 1950s. Despite the large number of works, they do not form a single whole reflecting the development paths of Russian art, but are rather a reflection of the complicated history of the formation of the collection. The museum's Russian art collection includes both valuable works by famous masters and unassuming creations by third-rate, nearly forgotten painters. Many items in this collection need complementary research, attribution or reattribu-tion, or closer definition of a work's title or creation period.

“Unknown Masterpieces”. Treasures of Russian Art from the Museum Collections of the Baltic Countries

Xenia Rudzite
Russian paintings in the Latvian National Museum of Art

#4 2012 (37)

The Latvian National Museum of Art has a branch museum, the Riga Bourse Art Museum which opened in 2011 and displays foreign art. The Riga Bourse is also home to a collection of Russian paintings, graphics, sculpture and items of applied arts, which is the largest in the Baltic countries. The history of the collection’s formation dates back to the mid-to-late 19th century. Riga then had two collections of art open to the public – the Riga City Painting Gallery (since 1869) and the “Kunstverein”, or the collection of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (since 1872), hosting works by Russian artists alongside works by artists from other countries. Items reached the Riga collections by different routes.

“Unknown Masterpieces”. Treasures of Russian Art from the Museum Collections of the Baltic Countries

Dalia Tarandaite
Russian painting in the collection of the Lithuanian Art Museum

#4 2012 (37)

The painting collection of the Lithuanian Art Museum includes about 300 canvases by famous Russian artists, reflecting the main trends of Russian art, which reached the museum in various periods and under various circumstances.



Marina Vaizey
The Face of Britain

#4 2012 (37)

The world’s largest collection of personalities and faces from the late Middle Ages to the present day, London’s National Portrait Gallery is the oldest such institution in the world, founded in 1856 on a strong intellectual base which was a consensual attitude at the time: the 19th-century emphasis on the ways in which individuals influenced, and indeed led the events of history. One of its major supporters was the leading historian Thomas Carlyle, who also was an early trustee.


Olga Nasedkina
Levitan Memorial Museum in Plyos -History Highlights

#3 2010 (28)

In 1960 the town of Plyos celebrated its 50th anniversary, setting the day for the festivities on August 30, which coincided with the centenary of the birth of Isaac Levitan – the illustrious landscape artist. Many artists from Moscow and the city of Ivanovo responded to Prorokov’s call to donate their paintings to Plyos. The new picture gallery, an esta-blishment operated on pro bono basis, was opened in 1961; initially it was accommodated at a Plyos agricultural college, on Sobornaya Hill, in a building which before the revolution was occupied by a governmental agency. Later, in 1962, the gallery moved to the Voskresensky church near Torgovaya Square, not far from a boat quay.

Sophia Petrikova
The Paul Klee Centre in Bern

#1 2007 (14)

The opening of the Paul Klee Centre in Bern in July 2005 was an important page in the history of 21st century museum life. In the eyes of its creators, this contemporary museum was to act as a cultural forum, enabling visitors to develop their creative potential through in-depth acquaintance with the artistic legacy of Paul Klee.


Alexei Boldinyuk
From Brewery to Rembrandt

#1 2007 (14)

Helsinki can hardly be called a city famous for its art museums. True, there is the Athenaeum, a collection of Finnish classical art, in its cosy centre, and not far away is Kiasma, where works of modern art are exhibited. Otherwise, there are several country estates housing art galleries, donated in the wills of their previous owners. And, of course, mention should be made of the Sinebrychoff Museum of Fine Art, without which Helsinki is simply unimaginable.

A Space for Innovative Encounters:
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway

#4 2006 (13)

World museums have faced new challenges at the beginning of the 21st century – they have to find adequate solutions and new opportunities for financing and fundraising, and improve management systems. On this question the experience of the original and successful development of Norwegian museums is extremely valuable.

Maya Mitkevich
The Legacy of the Russian North

#3 2006 (12)

The traditional culture of the North is rich and varied in its manifestations, and local museums hold numerous major works of northern art. These priceless monuments go back centuries and without them any study of the evolution of the material and spiritual culture of the Russian North would not be possible. It is no wonder that they continue to arouse interest. The Arkhangelsk Fine Arts Museum has always focused on researching the local culture, a factor due largely to the history and location of the museum.

Tatiana Koltsova
Icons of the Solovetsky Monastery

#3 2006 (12)

The Solovetsky Monastery collection of icons is one of the largest in the Russian North. Today the icon-painting legacy of the monastery is dispersed between several museum collections of the country, including Moscow’s Historical Museum, Tretyakov Gallery, the “Moscow Kremlin” Historical and Cultural Complex, St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum, and the Kolomenskoe Museum Reserve, the Museum of History of Religion, the Regional Museum of the Arkhangelsk Region, the Solovetsky Museum Reserve and the Arkhangelsk Fine Arts Museum. The literature on the subject of the Solovetsky iconpainting legacy is considerable indeed, including catalogues, monographs and articles. Icons from the museums of the Arkhangelsk region, however, have never really been researched and very rarely displayed. Thus, the public has little knowledge of them.

Tamara Shubina
The Gorki Estate and Its Collection

#3 2006 (12)

One of the oldest estates in the environs of Moscow, Gorki is first mentioned in a 16th-century source. The estate’s history is long and varied, comprising periods of flourishing growth as well as decline and stagnation. Some years saw the erection of new and beautiful buildings and the appearance of leafy parks, whilst others witnessed the house falling into disrepair, weeds smothering the lawns and the grounds being sold off to holiday-makers. Originally the Spasitelev family estate, Gorki later boasted a whole string of wealthy owners from families such as the Naumovs, Beloselskys, Buturlins, Beketovs, Durasovs and Lopukhins.

Guggenheim-Hermitage: A Budding Co-operation

#4 2005 (09)

The unprecedented exhibition of Russian art labeled precisely and appealingly “RUSSIA!” that opened in New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in mid-September has inspired great interest from the West in Russian art, and stimulated similar interest from the Russian side in the Guggenheim museums, particularly the Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum (Las Vegas); it is the only one of the five Guggenheim museums directly associated with Russia – and the contact is with one of the internationally most famous Russian museums.




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