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Museums in Kiev > Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko (Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Arts)

Bogdan and Barbara Khanenko

Interior of Art Museum named after Bogdan and Barbara Khanenko

Portrait of Infanta Margarita by Diego Velazquez

Address: 15, Tereschenkivska Street, Kiev
Tel:
+38 (044) 235-32-90.
Opening Hours: 10:30 - 17:30
Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
 

Center point of the museum exhibition is the collection of Western European art works. All periods of history of Western European art such as Medieval Art, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Classicism are presented in the exhibition. The gems of the collection are the unique  works by Diego Velasquez ( "Portrait of the Infanta Margarita"), by Gentile Bellini (“Portrait of Patricia"), by Giovanni Bellini ("Madonna and Child") and the painting of the same name of another Italian master Pietro Perugino. You can see there also legendary series of graphic “Disasters of War "and" Caprichos "by Goya. 

There are works by H. de Zurbaran, A. Magnasco, Francesco Guardi, Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Junior, J. Jordaens, D. Teniers, D. Hulse, F. Boucher, Jacques-Louis David in the museum collection. 

There is a collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the museum. The Museum Department of Oriental Arts is considered the largest in Ukraine. There are valuable collections of the XV-XX centuries Chinese paintings as well as of Japanese and Indian arts.

There are the unique VI-VII centuries AD Byzantine icons in the special hall. These are really unique Christian icons which have been preserved in the Sinai monastery of St. Catherine in the period of iconoclasm. These icons are the priceless cultural treasures of world cultural inheritance. 

The museum is located in the building specially built as a museum by architect Melzer in 1887. The basis of museum collection was the collection of Bogdan Ivanovich (1849-1917) and Varvara Nikolaevna (1852-1922) Khanenko. In 1917 their private collection was passed as a gift to City of Kiev. The collection of the museum has been made bigger more than 13 times in subsequent years as the result of the incorporation of some other private collections. There are around 2,000 exhibits in the halls of the museum. Art Museum named after famous Ukrainian patrons of arts Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko (Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Arts) is famous as the largest collection of European and Oriental Arts in Ukraine.


Vera Illyinichna Vinogradova
Director of the Art Museum
named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko

Vera VINOGRADOVA:

“We possess real rarities that no other museum has”

— Of course, art is perceived not by single, but many sense organs, fist of all by soul and eyes – that`s what Director of the Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Vera Illyinichna Vinogradova told the correspondent of “Prime Excursion Bureau”. – Much can be said in words, but not so much can be perceived through them. As to masterpieces of fine art, one should just come and look at them, admire them.

That was the dream of the outstanding Kiev Maecenas and collectors of masterpieces Bogdan Ivanovich and Varvara Nikolaevna Khanenko, when they bequeathed their native city their private collection, which had been gathered during 40 years of tireless work, endless searches and substantial material expenses. It was one of the major points of Khanenko`s will – their exposition was to become the basis of a public museum and was to be accessible for everybody, wishing to see and enjoy masterpieces of world fine art. Khanenko`s collection was like a child to them – they fostered it and released it to the world. They put their soul and great part of their life into it. That makes the Maecenas` desire quite understandable – their attainment shouldn`t be taken away bit by bit by private collectors, but must become heritage of residents of Kiev, common public heritage. Such gesture is real charity.

— Vera Illyinichna, to what extent have dreams of the outstanding Maecenas come true?

The building of the Art Museum
named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko

— After finishing rather complicated process of its foundation and formation, the Art Museum Named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko has finally become one of the leading, most interesting and the best museums of Ukraine, which keeps the most substantial collection of foreign art in our country.

Back at the dawn of the 20th century, at times of the first steps of the Museum`s Fund, the collection got high estimation among experts and was recognized the best private collection of that time. Due to work of the first scientists of the Museum – the famous Ukrainian scientist art-historians Lukomskiy, Rerikh, Makarenko, Gilyarov, Zummer – one of the leading museums of foreign art on the territory of the former USSR was established on the basis of the collection. In the 20th of the last century it was called “Kiev Hermitage”. Although there was a blot on the landscape: for a long time against the founders` will the museum wasn`t named after them, but was just named the Museum of Oriental and Western Art. And only in 1999 on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Bogdan Khanenko`s birthday the museum got back its historical name, bequeathed by its founders: it was named after its founders: Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko.

Now not for nothing it is called decoration and pride of Ukrainian capital, since its fame has spread far from our country. The collections of the museum include many wonderful works of world art. Many Museums of the world, including Louvre and Hermitage would be honored to have them in their collections…

In the hall of Chinese Art In the expositions of Oriental Art

— Could you tell about them in detail, please?

— That`s right, we possess real rarities, that no other museum in the world has – the so-called “Sinaitic Icons”. These are five unique exhibits – representatives of the early Christian Icon of the 5th-7th century. In the 7th century the process of iconoclasm was going on, when Christian icons were destroyed. And our exhibits of that epoch were preserved on Sinai Peninsula by miracle. One of monks of Kiev Pechersk Lavra visited local desert with Orthodox mission in the 19th century. He brought the ancient icons to Kiev and they were entitled “Sinaitic” at our museum, considering the place where they had been kept and found. By the way, they were exhibited at a grand exhibition, devoted to the history of Byzantine Empire, which was held in Bonn not long ago. This mission was extremely honorable for our exhibits, since the most titled museums of the world took part in the exhibition.

We are also the only museum, which possesses substantial collection of Chinese painting in Eastern Europe, we have 400 works. They are the gift of Taisiya Zhaspar, our country mate, who lived in France, but worked with her husband-diplomat in China for a long time and gathered her unique collection of painting there.

We have a brilliant collection of Italian Art. Evidently, Bogdan Khanenko liked it most of all, since the Italian collection is rather large. Collection of majolica holds an important place here – all Italian schools are represented in it. Other masterpieces of the collection of our museum include such items as “pearls” of Western European painting, antique and Egyptian plastic, Meissen porcelain, Brussels espalier, Iranian faience and bronze, Japanese xylography and tsuba, Chinese porcelain. The world-known Byzantine icons of the 6th -7th centuries are unique exhibits of world importance. Generally, composition of the museum`s collection includes monuments of fiction of the Ancient World, classic art of Europe, the Middle East, Central and Southern-Eastern Asia, the Far East. Exhibits of the collection cover the historic period from the 4th century BC to the 20th century inclusive.

Exposition of Iranian ceramics

— Exposition of your museum is rather wide in time and space, many-colored, covering many subjects and genres. Such a collection must be hard to understand and comprehend and demands certain preparation.

— Of course, our exposition is rather complicated, especially for children. But the mission of a museum has two main tasks: to preserve historical heritage and to bring it to public. All these factors together are called enlightening work. Modern informational technologies urge museum workers to offer more active and interesting forms of enlightening. Simple, passive or cursory examination of an exposition is no longer of big use. That is why our attention is paid to children and teenagers, first of all: it is important to cultivate their positive attitude to the museum as a cultural-educational and aesthetic establishment and their desire to return here over and over again. Everybody`s memory keeps pleasant recollections from one`s past, doesn’t it? They accompany us through our whole life the way they were formed in our childhood.

That`s why there is a kindergarten by our museum. We started to implement our most up-to-date enlightening methods right from there. Children come to our museum: watch, examine everything around and we tell them what a museum, a painting, a sculpture is. We organize special exhibitions for them, after which they paint what they have seen. So we make sort of a children`s holiday with participation of parents and teachers.

Scientists of the Museum have developed a series of thematic classes, which illustrate school program in interactive form. For example, we hold dramatized excursions for children “Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor”, based on our exposition “Eastern collection”. Of course, this service is rather expensive, since actors of the studio-theatre “Oxymoron” are involved in that, necessary costumes and decorations are prepared. But we believe that all these efforts and expenses are worth that, since they will be generously repaid eventually and will bring kindness to children`s souls.

Exposition of Western Art

— They say adults also like to visit concerts at “Khanenko” museum…

— Our chamber concerts of Western European classical music are also kind of enlightening activity. These are so-called “Musical Seasons at Khanenko`s” with participation of professional performers and talented young musicians. They were started in 2000 and have become really popular by now.

Actually, the museum offers its visitors not only musical, but a wide row of other additional opportunities to get acquainted with its rich exposition better. For example audio systems are set in exposition halls. They enable visitors to listen to the text of the excursion “Western European Art” and “Art of the East” in Ukrainian and English. At a guest`s request, the museum is ready to provide with a personal audio guide. In a specially equipped informational hall, one can get additional information on history, culture, art, traditions of countries of the East.

— A myth exists that that there are much more items in the storehouses of museums, than represented in expositions. What is hidden in “Khanenko`s” storehouses?

— This is really a myth. On course, we could represent more exhibits. But it doesn’t mean at all that preserves remain unused and don`t work. Everything worthy, which is not represented in permanent expositions, is shown at various exhibitions. For example, an exhibition of Western European landscape was held in our museum not long ago.

Exhibition activity of Khanenko Museum is rather active. Temporary thematic expositions and not only from our own funds are organized regularly, besides we have a separate exhibition project “Contemporary Private Collections of Ukraine”.

Interior of the museum  Memorial exposition – “Khanenko`s cabinet”

— Who are you partners in this project?

— Exhibition activity is actually rather dynamic and multifaceted, that`s why our museum cannot stew in its own juice. So we have productive cooperation with both domestic collectors and with embassies of different countries, accredited in Ukraine. We host various exhibitions from Italy, Japan, Israel, Poland, Estonia, Germany. And on the contrary: works from the collection of our museum are systematically represented at international exhibitions. Lately they have been represented in Greece, Italy, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Russia.

Along with that, specialists of the museum regularly take part in domestic and international scientific forums, make reports at conferences. Such presentation of the museum is an exhibition of its collection in a way.

— How active is scientific – research activity of the museum? What is its applied importance?

— The answer to this question probably deserves a separate conversation – we have something to attract both specialists and collectors − amateurs with. To illustrate this just one fact should be mentioned: the Museum has been holding annual theoretical and practical conferences “Khanenko`s readings” for a long time. The circle of our scientific researches is getting wider: from general recognition of the activity of Khanenko Maecenas, history of formation of the museum`s collection, culturogical researches to new attributions of art monuments from the collection of the museum. Researches, connected with names of other Ukrainian collectors, whose activity ensured high level of the existing museum collection, are being conducted. Among them there are such personalities as Schavinskiy, Khansen, Repnin and Tereschenko families. Specialists agree that meaning of “Khanenko Readings” is in the urge for recognition of cultural values by the society and also in implementing modern methodological principles of museum business into work of Ukrainian museums. By the way, starting from 2002, “Khanenko readings” have obtained the status of an international conference and 7 scientific collections have been released on basis of their results.

Memoirs of Bogdan Khanenko, “Recollections of a collector”, dedicated to the creation of the collection, which we can admire today, were first published and represented by our museum. This work was released last year on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of Bogdan Ivanovich birthday. Publications, devoted to the founders of the museum and history of the collection, were released the same year, timed to the 90th anniversary of Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko.

— Vera Illyinichna, speaking about preservation and handing down of the unique cultural values, obtained by Khanenko Maecenas, to new generations, you probably mean their physical preservation, care about masterpieces of world art?

— Naturally. Work on registration, keeping and restoration of art values is one of the paramount and most important tasks of the museum, which demands high professional qualification of its workers and use of the most up-to-date technologies. During the last years 80 unique works of Western European painting, antique art, decorative and applied arts of countries of the East have been restored. The personnel of the Museum works hard at preserving both the collection and the building of the museum, since it is situated in the very center of the capital in a rather aggressive environment, provoked to such aggression by demands of modern civilization. The museum belongs to museums of the 1st category; it also functions as a methodological center for art museums in Ukraine.

In other words, personnel of the Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko is highly qualified and professionally trained. You know, such a joke is popular among us: museum business is not a profession, but a diagnosis. That is why new people, who come here, either stay here for good, or leave immediately. That is why our staff has been stable and really addicted to favorite work for many years.

Media Center of “Prime Excursion Bureau”.

May, 2010.



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