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Golitsyn Museum on the Volkhonka
5 July 2004 - 5 September 2004

The Golitsyn Museum was one of the first museums of Western European art to open in Russia (1865). The idea of creating a museum around his own art collection was put forward by Prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich Golitsyn (1804-1860), diplomat, writer and connoisseur of fine arts, and the owner of a splendid library. The Prince dreamed of bringing together the works of art collected by members of his family over several generations and making them accessible to the public. The presence in the Golitsyn Museum of such masterpieces as Pietro Perugino's triptych, The Crucifixion, Cima da Conegliano's Annunciation, Hubert Robert's decorative ensembles, collections of antiquities, a magnificent collection of decorative and applied art, and a luxurious library allow us to rank it among the best European collections of the 19th century.

The present exhibition has been organized by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts together with the State Hermitage and with participation by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Belarus, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Shchusev State Research Museum of Architecture, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents, the Arkhangelskoye State Museum-Estate, the Radishchev State Art Museum of Saratov, the Smolensk State Museum-Park, the Ulyanovsk Oblast Art Museum, and the Kramsky Art Museum of the Voronezh Oblast.

The result is a nearly complete reconstruction of the collection of the art museum which opened on the initiative of Prince Mikhail Golitsyn in 1865. For a variety of reasons, the Golitsyns decided to sell off the collection at the end of the 19th century, though originally the collection was supposed to be left in legacy to Moscow. It was acquired by the Imperial family. Many exhibits turned up in the collection of the State Hermitage. However Emperor Alexander III himself at the time decided that part of the Golitsyn collection should be presented as a gift to the first Russian public museums. In the 1920's and 30's part of the collection was distributed among 26 different museums, though several masterpieces remained in the Hermitage and about 50 paintings were sold abroad. The gem of the collection, Perugino's Crucifixion, ended up in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C

Among the 169 exhibits which the State Hermitage has loaned to the exhibition and which visitors will be able to see are works typical of the art and culture of Ancient Greece, Ancient Italy and Rome, canvasses by master painters of Western Europe, Meissen porcelain and also Western European silver.

Portrait of the Emperor Caracalla as a Youth
Late 2nd - early 3rd century
Larger view

Heracles Fighting the Lion
16th-17th century (?)
Larger view

The Annunciation
Larger view


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