Museum of Fine Arts Kaluga
The Kaluga Museum of Fine Arts is situated in the center of Kaluga. Founded in 1918, the first displays in the museum were art works from the private collection of doctor N.I. Vasiliev (1832-1917) who donated his art collection to his native town Kaluga. The Museum opened its doors in 1918. In the ensuing years the collection was substantially enriched with pictures, portraits, drawings and printed graphic works from nationalised manors.
The provenance of the works is often former particular collections such as the collection of Nicanor Vasilyev (1832 – 1917) (one of the founders of the museum) and prince Dmitry Gorchakov (1828 – 1907), a famous collector, and also works from the collections of Vladimir Argutinsky-Dolgorukov (1874 – 1941) and Petr Semenov-Tyan’-Shansky (1827 – 1914).
The evacuation of the Museum collections during the Great Patriotic War, Second World War, failed and many artistic objects were lost. In the end of 1941, and in 1945-1947 the museum got a considerable amount of art works by Russian Masters. The most significant exhibits are icons of the 16th to 19th centuries, portraits of the first half of the 19th century by domestic artists and foreign artists who worked in Russia. The Museum is well endowed with N.A. Yaroshenko’s creative work. His pictures originate from the manor of the artist’s brother.
The West-European art of the 16th to 19th centuries includes artworks by masters from Germany, Italy, Holland, Flanders, France and Belgium. Artists as Salomon van Ruysdael, Meindert Hobbema, Jan- Baptist Weenix, Antonie Palamedesz, Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot, Willem de Poorter, Balthasar Paul Ommeganck, André Plumot, and others are represented.
The West-European collection features graphic artworks of outstanding Flemish, Dutch, Italian, French, German and English masters of the 16th to 19th centuries. Since 1969 the museum is located in the town manor of the well-known Kaluga merchant family Bilibins, owned by Chistokletovs since 1869.
The manor of the empire style consists of the basic two-storied house, two wings and a coach-house, and is separated from the street by fencing with a gate. The manor was constructed in 1809-1810.
The initial architectural shape was essentially preserved including even the interiors; only the garden and the park were lost.
The main house of the manor acquired the status of an object of cultural heritage of the federal significance.