Opened in 1912, the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum possesses a collection of European art second in Russia to only St. Petersburg’s Hermitage. Much of the strength of the collection is in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, a result of the oft-forgotten fact that such works gained an appreciative audience in Russia long before they captured the imagination of collectors further west. Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe resides here, as do Renoir’s Bathing in the Seine, a host of fine works by Van Gogh and Matisse, and an entire gallery of Gauguins. Perhaps most exciting, however, is the long-anticipated “Gold of Troy” exhibition, slated for April 1996.
The Tretyakov Gallery
The Tretyakov Gallery possesses the finest collection of traditional Russian painting in the world. The core of the museum’s collection was assembled in the middle of the nineteenth century by Pavel Tretyakov, a wealthy Moscow merchant whose passion for collecting included violins, birds, and milk cows as well as Russian art. Tretyakov donated his extensive collection to the city in 1892, and subsequent enlargement has long since provided the Gallery with far more works than it can possibly exhibit in its limited space. Although this means that innumerable fine works rarely see the light of day, it also means that those works that are displayed are without exception masterpieces of their period and genre. While everything in the Tretyakov deserves and rewards patient attention, its collection of icons stands as the definitive presentation of this most Russian of art forms.