One good way to discover enigmatic and at the same time rich Russian art is to visit the best art museums, which is always an absolutely inspiring and eye-opening experience. For passionate art lovers and everyone who wants to learn more about the country, here is the list of the must-visit art museums in Russia. Once you are in Moscow or St. Petersburg, take your time to enjoy these Russian treasures that are sure to brighten up your days. Keep in mind that this list does not include the famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Its fame goes far beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, so you likely already know much about this important museum of art and culture.
Best art museums in Russia
- The State Tretyakov Gallery
The State Tretyakov Gallery was founded in Moscow in 1892 by the famous Russian merchant Pavel Tretyakov, who donated his collection of 3,500 works to Moscow. Today, the Tretyakov Gallery is one of the largest art museums in the world, which boasts a superb collection of Russian art, featuring nearly 170,000 art objects from the 11th to the 20th century. It is also one of the leading research and cultural art centers. The Museum also houses a magnificent selection of antique Russian icons. Besides, you can find there priceless works by Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich, and other prominent artists. The New Tretyakov Gallery, which is the extension part of the Museum, is also worth visiting. It is entirely dedicated to the Russian art of the 20th century. You can enjoy free entrance to the Museum every Wednesday.
- The Museum of the Russian Icon
The Museum of the Russian Icon was established in Moscow by Mikhail Abramov and first opened its doors in May 2006. It initially occupied a hall in the Vereyskaya Plaza business center but later moved to two private residences at Goncharnaya Street. The Museum of the Russian Icon features one of the best collections of Christian art in the world. It houses over 4,000 works, including nearly 1,000 rare and unique religious icons. The Museum gives a good overview of Russian Orthodox icons and introduces the culture of the Old Believers. It displays works from many different epochs and painting schools. Besides, at the weekend, you can see expert artists and restorers harnessing their skills in the restoration workshop. Admission is free.
- Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in Moscow in 2008 by Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova. The Museum promotes contemporary art as a space for public dialogue on current issues of society. It is known for its amazing exhibitions of the most famous international and Russian artists, such as Raymond Pettibon, Viktor Pivovarov, Yayoi Kusama, and Marina Abramović. Garage Museum also offers a broad-ranging education program, concerts, performances, film screenings, and many other events for both children and adults. The museum tours are available in English, Russian, and Russian Sign languages. Besides, Garage bookshop is open every day and can offer you a great number of magazines, souvenirs, and books produced in Moscow. Some of the items are made in collaboration with famous Russian artists. You can also visit a comfortable café with original cuisine and a summer terrace.
- The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded by the Moscow University professor Ivan Tsvetaev in 1896, boasts one of the richest collections of foreign art in Russia. It will be interesting to both art connoisseurs and those who want to learn about the fascinating world of art. The Pushkin Museum showcases global artistic developments from ancient times to the present day. Its impressive collection features 700,000 art pieces. The Museum is widely known as a place where exhibitions give an idea of the history and dynamics of art development. Besides an exhibition platform, it operates a research and educational center so that different generations of people can be engaged in the world culture, as well as promotes art as a discipline worthy of scientific research.
- Erarta Museum
Erarta has one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Russia. The Museum was opened in St. Petersburg on September 30, 2010. Being the first museum of modern art in the city, it is a must-visit place for any tourist exploring the culture of St. Petersburg and Russia overall. The name of the Museum consists of two words that mean “time of art.” At the museum entrance, the figures of the goddesses Era and Arta greet the visitors. Erarta’s collection currently contains 2,800 artworks created by Russian artists in the second half of the 20th – beginning of the 21st century. Among them are graphics, sculpture, paintings, installations, and various decorative items. The Museum has an interesting and vivid life that includes excursions, educational events, theatrical performances, concerts, exhibitions, and many more.
Art museums engage and educate their visitors. They provide an effective way of learning, as well as allow people to discuss thoughts and opinions, meet with friends, and become an active part of the community. Museums provide inspiration. They are indeed a great way to spend some time in a positive way. Hopefully, now you have all the needed information to enjoy the best art while staying in Russia.