Russian Icon Museum opens in Moscow
Moscow has got a new private museum of Russian Icons. Opened on January 25, the new museum, founded by Russian businessman, patron of the arts and collector Mikhail Abramov boasts works of Russian icon artists that can hardly be found elsewhere.
The museum's collection totals about 4,000 works of Old Russian and Eastern Christian art, including about 600 icons. All these were carefully collected by the Moscow-based Abramov. The collection has proved to be widely representative, as it covers practically all periods and all schools of Russian icon art.
Earlier, the collection of the Museum of Russian Icon was randomly exhibited in various venues, including the Tretyakov Gallery (2008) and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (2009), as well as several other museums in Russia and abroad.
Now that the museum had got its own premises – two private residences in Goncharnaya Street, united into one building – the museum is welcoming visitors daily except Wednesday, free of charge.
Specialists say that some of the exhibits in the collection are more valuable than the masterpieces of the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum. The icon ”Virgin Odigitria” (14th century) by Simon Ushakov, icon of Saint Nikolay Mirlikiisky (14th century) and a Greek iconostasis of the late 17th century are among the most valuable exhibits in the collection. Icon "Affection” (15th century) from the Greek island of Crete – which by a miracle was not burned in last year's fire in the Grabar Art Center – is also on display here in the newly open Russian Icon Museum.
At the opening ceremony Mikhail Abramov transferred custody of a wooden cross of the middle of 16th century to the members of the Russian Federal Surveillance Service for Compliance with the Law in Mass Communications and Cultural Heritage Protection. The cross was stolen from the Rostov Kremlin and was subsequently found in Germany. "We wanted to have such cross in the collection, and spent several years searching for something like this in auction houses and in private foreign collections," Abramov said. However now that its story has been revealed, the cross has been returned to where it belongs.