The photo exhibition "Twice Rescued" is organized by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts together with the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Chennai. The exhibition, dedicated to the 77th anniversary of the Great Victory, will be opened on September 3, 2020 due to the situation with the coronavirus. It will feature photographs showing the results of many years of museum conservators' work with art objects that were damaged during the Second World War.
At the end of the war in 1945, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts received artworks brought from Germany to the Soviet Union as restitution. In the first post-war decade, the efforts of museum specialists - curators and conservators- were aimed at saving the painting masterpieces from the Dresden Gallery, many of which required immediate conservation treatments.
In the early 2000s, researchers and object conservators began to study and restore monuments of ancient art, including a large number of burnt and deformed fragments of ceramics, metal, bone and glass. The results of these years of work done by the team of conservators from several museums and specialized workshops in Moscow, were presented at the exhibitions in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts "Archaeology of War. The Return from Nonexistence" (2005) and "The Art of Ancient Cyprus" (2014). In 10 years, more than 750 museum objects have been conserved and restored. In 2015, a project to conserve Donatello's bronze sculptures, as well as some works by other masters of Western European Renaissance sculpture, was launched together with the Bode Museum.
The exhibition "Twice Rescued" presents only a small part of the objects from the "Transferred art" collection restored at the Pushkin State Museum - 30 photographs of unique works of ancient and Western European art. The specially created page on the Pushkin State Museum Department of Conservation website will introduce you to the history of the museum collections, the fate of individual objects and the remarkable results of the work done by our conservators, thanks to whom these pieces have found their second life.
The State Museums of Berlin is one of the oldest and most extensive museum associations in Western Europe. The history of Berlin's museums began with the collection of the Brandenburg Electors, the so-called Kunstkammer, which was formed in the late 16th century. During the following centuries, the collection was continuously expanding, which led to its division into several museum collections. Formed on the basis of the Kunstkammer, collections of objects of natural history and ancient art turned into separate museums, and the most valuable objects of decorative and applied art were the Berlin Castle collection. The nineteenth century saw the opening of many new museums built by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) and his students. The following museums were opened to the public: the Royal Museum (now the Old Museum, 1830), the New Museum (1855), the National Gallery (1861), which in the 20th century was called the "Old National Gallery" after the "New" was opened. The erection of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum on Museum Island continued the era of rapid construction.
From the very beginning, the Kaiser Friedrich Museum was intended to be a museum of Italian Renaissance art, because by this time Berlin had the largest collection of Italian sculpture and painting outside Italy. Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929) was the initiator and inspirer of the idea of creating a museum with its own building and collection. He was an art historian and museum worker who for many years conducted an unprecedented campaign for the acquisition of art in Italy and abroad. The interiors of the newly opened museum reflected Bodet's taste as a collector: paintings, sculpture and decorative art objects were exhibited together, which distinguished the museum setting from the traditional one. Separate halls, such as the Rotunda or Basilica, were an attempt to recreate the architecture and interior decoration of Italian churches. Others, filled with many small objects, became kind of cabinets of curiosities, reminiscent of the interiors of private collectors' houses.
A few years later, the turn to expand the premises reached the Berlin Antique Collection - in 1910 the construction of the Pergamon-Museum began on the nearby territory. In addition to the famous Pergamon Altar, it displayed the collections of the West Asian Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art. From 1930 to 1939, the German Museum was located nearby, where masterpieces of German sculpture were exhibited.
Kaiser Friedrich Museum. View from the bridge over the river Spree.
Kaiser Friedrich Museum. Italian sculpture collection display.
Unrealized plan of the Pergamon-Museum portico, 1909.
Grand opening of the Pergamon Altar hall, 1930.
"Basilica" - hall of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 1917.
Rubens Hall at Kaiser Friedrich Museum (before 1939).