Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Top choice in Arbat & Khamovniki

This is Moscow’s premier foreign-art museum, split over three branches and showing off a broad selection of European works, including masterpieces from ancient civilisations, the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age. To see the incredible collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, visit the 19th & 20th Century Art Gallery. The Museum of Private Collections shows off complete collections donated by private individuals.

What's left in the main building is also impressive, with many masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance. Artists such as Botticelli, Tiepolo and Veronese are all represented. The highlight is perhaps the Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century, the so-called Golden Age of Dutch art. Rembrandt is the star of the show, with many paintings on display, including his moving Portrait of an Old Woman. The rest of Europe is also well represented from this period.

The Ancient Civilization exhibits contain a surprisingly excellent collection, complete with ancient Egyptian weaponry, jewellery, ritual items and tombstones. Most of the items were excavated from burial sites, including two haunting mummies. Another room houses the impressive ‘Treasures of Troy’ exhibit, with excavated items dating to 2500 BC. A German archaeologist donated the collection to the city of Berlin, from where it was appropriated by the Soviets in 1945.

The Greek and Italian Courts contain examples from the museum's original collection, which was made up of plaster-cast reproductions of the masterpieces from Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as from the Renaissance.

The 17th and 18th centuries dominate the 2nd floor, with several sections devoted to Italian and French artists. There is a separate gallery for the rococo period, featuring some appropriate dreamy paintings by Boucher.

The main building will remain open during the construction of the new museum complex on ul Volkhonka, which is expected to be completed in 2019. After the opening of the new complex, the exhibits are likely to change locations.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Arbat & Khamovniki attractions

1. Glazunov Gallery

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This elaborate Russian Empire–style mansion, opposite the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, houses a gallery dedicated to the work of Soviet and post-Soviet…

2. 19th & 20th Century Art Gallery

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This branch of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts contains a famed assemblage of French Impressionist works, based on the collections of two well-known…

3. Museum of Private Collections

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Next door to the main building of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, this smaller museum shows off art collections donated by private individuals, many of whom…

4. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

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This opulent and grandiose cathedral was completed in 1997 – just in time to celebrate Moscow's 850th birthday. The cathedral’s sheer size and splendour…

5. Shilov Gallery

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6. Vladimir I Statue

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7. Dom na Naberezhnoy Museum

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The big ‘House on the Embankment’ on Bolotny Island is a historic building, once home to many old Bolsheviks and Civil War heroes, as well as artists,…

8. Borovitskaya Tower

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Use the Kremlin entrance at Borovitskaya Tower if you intend to skip the churches and visit only the Armoury or Diamond Fund.