One of the finest art museums in Russia, the Pushkin is famous for its collection of works by Gauguin, Cézanne, and Picasso, among other masterpieces. Founded by Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetayev (1847–1913) of Moscow State University, father of poet Marina Tsvetaeva, the museum was originally established as a teaching aid for art students, which explains why some of the collection is made up of copies. The original building dates from 1895 to 1912 and was first known as the Alexander III Museum. It was renamed for Pushkin in 1937, on the centennial of the poet's death.
The first-floor exhibit halls display a fine collection of ancient Egyptian art (Hall 1); Greece and Rome are also well represented. The museum's great masterpieces include a fine concentration of Italian works from the 15th century (Room 5), among them Botticelli's The Annunciation, Tomaso's The Assassination of Caesar, Guardi's Alexander the Great at the Body of the Persian King Darius, and
Sano di Pietro's The Beheading of John the Baptist. Rembrandt's Portrait of an Old Woman is in Room 10, and paintings by Murillo, Rubens, and Van Dyck are in Room 11. There are also frequent exhibits of collections on loan from other prominent European art museums.
The Museum of Private Collections. A worthy assortment of impressionist, postimpressionist, and modern art, as well as Russian icons, are spread out over two floors and include paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Russian and European artists collected during the Soviet era. Some of the more notable pieces include those from the collection of the museum's major contributors, Ilya Silberstein. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibits. 10 ul. Volkhonka, 119034. 495/697–1610. artprivatecollections.ru. 100R. Wed. and Fri.–Sun. noon–7, Thurs. 12–9.