The Academy of Watercolours and Fine Arts has a museum and exhibition complex, and its centre can rightfully be called the Watercolour Museum. The museum’s collection includes more than 200 works of outstanding artists from different countries. Many works are presented to the general public for the first time: landscapes of the acknowledged “poet of nature” Ivan Shishkin, watercolours of talented art expert and critic Alexandre Benoit, and sketches of full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts Pavel Bryullov. The collection of Western European graphic art exhibited at the museum is honoured to include the names of founding members of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, now known as the Royal Watercolour Society, Robert Hills and James Holworthy, as well as Edward Corbould, who was instructor of historical painting to the British Royal Family for more than 29 years. The works of other representatives of the brilliant English school of the 19th century, which have long received well-deserved recognition at home, are little known to the Russian audience. The Watercolour Museum is enriched by a collection of paintings and graphic works of Ignatius Nivinsky (1880–1933). Works of Chinese artists pleasantly diversify the exposition, reminding us that the watercolour technique truly has no boundaries – it lies at the basis of the monumental pictorial masterpieces of the East, while original Soviet and modern Russian illustrations demonstrate the variety of its artistic possibilities.
The Watercolour Museum is the first museum in the world where the visitor is able to see not only the works of classical artists; the aim of the museum is to reveal the “cuisine” through which artists create their works, the methods of working with watercolour and its technology. The exhibition presents many tools and materials of classical watercolour whose methods of application and existence are not even suspected by professional art historians. The museum also presents a number of rare pieces of information about the theory of painting and material about the laws of drawing, painting, and composition in classical landscape, portrait, and genre painting, still lifes, interior design, and patterns. A great deal of attention is given to such important issues of fine art theory as the tradition of positioning figures and draperies, the theory of harmonious colour combinations, various systems of perspective, proportionality techniques, information about the traditions of the classical teaching system, perception psychology, and so on.
Watercolour has never existed in isolation from other types of painting and graphics. The museum clearly demonstrates the interconnection and interpenetration of watercolour painting, gouache, tempera, pastel painting techniques, various drawing and calligraphy techniques, oil painting, and fresco; letters and memoirs of artists are used and the results of laboratory studies of watercolour masterpieces at the world’s largest restoration centers are presented. The appearance of such a museum within the walls of one of the largest Russian art universities, the Academy of Watercolours and Fine Arts, is entirely natural. One of the most important missions of the Academy is to preserve and revive the forgotten traditions of the classical school of painting and the training systems and education of high-level masters. The Watercolour Museum is still at the beginning of its development. Over time, it is planned to seriously expand and supplement its collection. Our task for the future is to cover all historical eras: from the origins of fine art and the first pigments used by primitive people to the latest trends in watercolour painting. We plan to present the whole variety of traditions and watercolour techniques: ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls and Indian books on palm leaves, Chinese and Japanese screen panels, Arabic, Persian, West European, and historical Russian book miniatures, and other masterpieces of watercolour painting.
The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m.
Closed – Monday, Tuesday
Price of entry: 350 rubles.
Reduced rate: 150 rubles.