“Paintings, sculpture and applied art from ancient history to the present day – art fans can find all this and more at the Pushkin Museum.”
After I read this I had to go and check this out for myself. My friend Yve and I headed over to the museum one March morning. Unfortunately it was a Saturday so we had to stand in line for almost an hour in the freezing cold. By the time we got into the museum our fingers were frozen and we had red noses from the cold. Inside you don’t actually warm up that much as the rooms are huge and not kept very warm.
The Pushkin museum has 5 buildings, each housing a different era or art form. Our first visit was to the main building housing most of the statues.
We walked through rooms filled with plaster casts of Greek myths and Roman figures. The Matisse and Picasso collections exhibited at the time made it a lovely afternoon.
This museum was wonderful to walk through but it lacked some of the contemporary gloss of its Western counterparts. There were no guide books, not even in Russian and unfortunately many of the exhibits appeared never to have been cleaned. The lighting and decor were old-fashioned as was the heating system but the substance in the huge collection made up for any superficial inadequacies.
Even though it was a little shabby, the Pushkin was a considerably more peaceful place than many of the more hyped and hectic big galleries in the West. I loved that we could walk around without huge crowds around us and to be able to spend more time looking at the art we liked.
The museum is constantly altering its permanent display, which gives the public the chance to see more of the enormous collection. Unfortunately this can also be a little frustrating if you are coming to see a particular picture that has been inexplicably moved since your last visit. There are also regularly changing temporary exhibitions, which often include collections from abroad.
We definitely needed a warm cup of coffee after all this walking around and near the metro station there is a great coffee house where we warmed up and rested our tired feet.
My favourite building ended up being next to the main building, at Volkhonka 14, the Museum of Private Collections, purpose-built and opened in 1994, and housing mostly Russian art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here I found Gaugin, Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas’s blue ballerinas and a couple of other paintings that amazed me and made me come back for a second look.
My favourite paintings though that I found here are by Guttuso an Italian painter, I am just crazy about his paintings.