The 12 Most Famous Artworks at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

1. “The Black Square” by Kazimir Malevich

The Black Square

Dimensions: 79.5 cm × 79.5 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1915

Genre: Abstract Art

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Suprematism

“The Black Square” by Kazimir Malevich is an iconic and controversial artwork housed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Created in 1915, it marks a significant moment in the development of abstract art. This simple composition features a black square painted on a white canvas, devoid of any representational elements. Malevich believed this work transcended earthly representations, serving as a bridge between the material and the spiritual world.

The Black Square has played a pivotal role in art history, challenging traditional notions of art and aesthetics. It is considered a progenitor of the Suprematism movement, which emphasized geometric shapes and non-representational art. Malevich’s painting has become an emblem of the radical avant-garde movement and continues to intrigue and inspire visitors at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

2. “The Madonna Litta” by Leonardo da Vinci

The Madonna Litta

Dimensions: 42 cm × 33 cm

Location: Milan, Italy

Created: 1490–1491

Genre: Renaissance Art

Medium: Tempera on Canvas (transferred from wood)

Period: High Renaissance

“The Madonna Litta,” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, is a masterpiece of Renaissance art that finds its place in the esteemed corridors of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Painted between 1490 and 1491, it depicts the Virgin Mary tenderly cradling the infant Jesus. The composition exudes a sense of serenity and spirituality, characteristic of da Vinci’s portraiture.

This painting is significant not only for its artistic merits but also for the mystery surrounding its creation. While scholars debate the exact attribution to Leonardo da Vinci, the meticulous details, delicate brushwork, and overall grace of the figures align with his distinctive style. The Pushkin State Museum enables art enthusiasts to witness da Vinci’s masterful storytelling and devotion to portraying human emotion.

3. “Dance” by Henri Matisse

Dance by Henri Matisse

Dimensions: 174 cm × 260 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1909–1910

Genre: Modern Art

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Fauvism

“Dance” by Henri Matisse is a vibrant and energetic artwork displayed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Painted between 1909 and 1910, this large-scale composition features a group of five nude dancers in a joyous, rhythmic celebration. The bright and bold colors, coupled with rhythmic brushstrokes, evoke a dynamic sense of movement.

Matisse’s “Dance” exemplifies the Fauvist movement, which rejected naturalistic color schemes and perspectives to emphasize emotional expression. With this piece, Matisse aimed to convey a timeless and universal joy, accessible to all cultures. The Pushkin State Museum highlights the significance of this iconic work, enabling visitors to experience the infectious energy and exuberance embedded within the canvas.

4. “Melancholy” by Edvard Munch

Melancholy by Edvard Munch

Dimensions: 64 cm × 96 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1891

Genre: Symbolism

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Expressionism

Edvard Munch’s “Melancholy,” crafted in 1891, resides amongst the captivating collection at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The painting portrays a brooding figure, shrouded in darkness and consumed by deep introspection. Its expressive brushwork and somber palette serve to amplify the emotions depicted.

Munch’s work is considered an important symbolist masterpiece, exploring themes of existential angst and the human condition. It prefigures the emergence of expressionism, emphasizing intense emotions over objective representation. The Pushkin State Museum provides an ideal platform to appreciate the depth and haunting beauty of Munch’s “Melancholy.”

5. “The Last Day of Pompeii” by Karl Bryullov

The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov

Dimensions: 464 cm × 651 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1830–1833

Genre: Historical Painting

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Romanticism

“The Last Day of Pompeii” by Karl Bryullov is an immense painting that captivates visitors at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Created between 1830 and 1833, it depicts the tragic event of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, which led to the destruction of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

Bryullov’s masterpiece combines historical accuracy with a dramatic narrative, showcasing a range of emotions and stories within the sprawling composition. It exemplifies the Romantic style, characterized by grandiose scenes and an emphasis on the sublime forces of nature. The Pushkin State Museum provides an immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore the myriad of characters and stories woven into the fabric of Bryullov’s monumental work.

6. “Composition VII” by Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky

Dimensions: 200 cm × 300 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1913

Genre: Abstract Art

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Expressionism

“Composition VII,” created in 1913 by Wassily Kandinsky, is a seminal work of abstract art and an important piece housed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. This large-scale painting manifests an explosion of colors, shapes, and lines, representing Kandinsky’s attempt to express emotions and spirituality through non-representational forms.

As a pioneer of abstract art, Kandinsky believed that music and painting were intimately connected, and his works often strive to emulate the impact of symphonies. “Composition VII” exemplifies this notion, as it evokes a sense of movement, rhythm, and emotion. By visiting The Pushkin State Museum, art enthusiasts can experience the undeniable power of Kandinsky’s vibrant and imaginative world.

7. “The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky

The Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky

Dimensions: 221.4 cm × 332 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1850

Genre: Marine Painting

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Romanticism

“The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky is a magnificent marine painting housed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Painted in 1850, it portrays a mighty ocean wave, threatening to engulf a group of shipwrecked sailors. The drama and intensity of this scene serve as a metaphoric exploration of mankind’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Aivazovsky, renowned for his marine paintings, skillfully captures the turbulence and power of the sea, allowing viewers to feel the waves crashing around them. The painting evokes a sense of both danger and hope, reflecting the Romantic ideals of the sublime in nature. The Pushkin State Museum provides a perfect setting for visitors to immerse themselves in Aivazovsky’s breathtaking composition.

8. “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Dimensions: 350 cm × 320 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1647–1652

Genre: Baroque Sculpture

Medium: Marble

Period: Baroque

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,” an exquisite example of Baroque sculpture, graces The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Created between 1647 and 1652, this masterpiece carved from marble depicts Saint Teresa of Ávila in a moment of divine ecstasy.

Bernini’s sculpture is renowned for its skillful rendering of movement and emotion, creating a sense of heightened drama and theatricality. The artist captures the spiritual experience through the contortions of Saint Teresa’s body, delicate folds of her garments, and the ethereal presence of an angel. The Pushkin State Museum allows visitors to witness the artistry and technical mastery of Bernini’s iconic Baroque sculpture.

9. “Bathing of a Red Horse” by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin

Bathing of a Red Horse by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin

Dimensions: 123 cm × 181 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1912

Genre: Modern Art

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Russian Symbolism

“Bathing of a Red Horse” by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin is a striking painting housed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Created in 1912, this captivating work showcases a red horse being bathed in a river, blending elements of realism and symbolism.

Petrov-Vodkin’s unique style combines a meticulous attention to detail with an underlying spiritual and symbolic dimension. The red horse, representing power and passion, emerges against a tranquil landscape, capturing a moment of serene calmness. The Pushkin State Museum provides an excellent opportunity to explore Petrov-Vodkin’s thought-provoking and evocative masterpiece.

10. “Portrait of a Lady with a Fan” by Vladimir Borovikovsky

Portrait of a Lady with a Fan by Vladimir Borovikovsky

Dimensions: 87.5 cm × 68.5 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1796

Genre: Portrait

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Neoclassicism

Vladimir Borovikovsky’s “Portrait of a Lady with a Fan” is an exquisite example of Neoclassical portraiture housed at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Painted in 1796, it depicts an elegant lady holding a fan, surrounded by an opulent interior.

Borovikovsky’s attention to detail and the meticulous rendering of fabric and textures are particularly noteworthy in this portrait. The artist skillfully captures the sitter’s poise and elegance, epitomizing the refined aesthetics of the Neoclassical period. At The Pushkin State Museum, admirers of 18th-century portraiture can appreciate the finesse and grace instilled within this captivating artwork.

11. “The Holy Family” by Raphael

The Holy Family by Raphael

Dimensions: 29.5 cm × 21 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1505–1506

Genre: Religious Art

Medium: Oil on Wood

Period: High Renaissance

Raphael’s “The Holy Family” is a sublime piece of religious art, treasured within The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Created between 1505 and 1506, it depicts the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus, surrounded by Joseph and a young Saint John the Baptist.

The painting radiates a sense of tranquility and harmony, showcasing Raphael’s mastery of composition and his ability to convey divine beauty. The delicate brushwork and the artist’s attention to detail have ensured this artwork remains an enduring symbol of the High Renaissance. The Pushkin State Museum invites visitors to explore Raphael’s exquisite portrayal of the Holy Family, marveling at the timeless spiritual connection it offers.

12. “Girl with Peaches” by Valentin Serov

Girl with Peaches by Valentin Serov

Dimensions: 135 cm × 101 cm

Location: Moscow, Russia

Created: 1887

Genre: Portraiture

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Period: Russian Realism

“Girl with Peaches” by Valentin Serov is an enchanting portrait exhibited at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Painted in 1887, it features a young girl, seemingly lost in thought, holding a plate of peaches. Serov’s delicate brushwork and attention to detail capture the innocence and melancholy of childhood.

This portrait is considered to be a masterpiece of Russian Realism, portraying ordinary people with empathetic intimacy. Serov was renowned for his ability to convey the complexities of human emotions through portraiture, and “Girl with Peaches” exemplifies his exceptional talent. The Pushkin State Museum provides a captivating setting to