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The following resource is meant to quickly introduce the reader to the plastic arts (sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.) in Russia. Gallaries and issues of censorship and funding are given special focus here. Your contributions and suggestions are welcome! Contact the author.

Color Code:   Red links are to sites only in Russian.  
                     Gray links have English available.                               What is "The Library?"

1.  Research Help For Art Majors           report an error          back to top

The Emily Carr Institute Writing Center - a brief guide to MLA documentation for art majors. 

Some of the largest collections and best respected sources for researching Slavic Art have catalogues online: New York Public LibraryLibrary of Congress; University of Illinois.

2.  Art News from Russia           report an error          back to top

The Contemporary Russian Art Newsletter was founded to monitor the development of post-perestroika art. It is still published regularly with wide and extensive coverage.

ArtGuide gives bilingual coverage of fashion, art, architecture, related events, and more for Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Calvert Journal bills itself as a "Guide to Creative Russia."

Russian Art Gazette offers news and articles concerning "the world's art phenomenon, which can be found on the territory of Russia."  It's English is not always the clearest, but it is a great resource for keeping up-to-date on modern Russian trends.   It also has a sister site devoted to regional art news in Russia, but it's all in Russian. is an online commercial gallery.  They have lots of contemporary art pictured with artist bios and news from the art world in Russia. gives information about the world art scene, with quite a bit of information devoted to Russia.

3.  "Official Art" - Government Sponsored Agencies       report an error      back to top

Vasily Pukirev, The Unequal Marriage, 1862 (detail)The Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication (MinCult) is a federal body responsible for the development of state policy and normative legal regulations in the sphere of culture, art, cinematography, archiving, mass media, mass communications, and "inter-ethnic relations." 
     Foundation Legislation on Culture
     SRAS Encyclopedia Entry for MinCult
     Brief Biography of Minister of Culture Mikhail Shvydkoy

Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography is a subdivision of MinCult which controls the Museum Fund and all other state resources used in support of the arts.    
     SRAS Encyclopedia Entry for this Agency

Russian Academy of Arts is another state institution which also encourages and supports the development of art and art theory within Russia.  For an interview (in English) with Zurab Tseretli, the Head of the Academy, on the academy's current activities click here.  For more about members of the academy, click here.

4.  National Galleries and Festivals           report an error          back to top

The Hermitage offers a huge interactive website with digitized art, online history, and more. 
    SRAS Original Article:  A Hermitage History

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art has a website all in Russian, but they have a good deal of their collection photographed and online. 

The Google Art Project offers virtual tours of The Hermitage and The Tretyakov.

Moscow Biennale is a new festival sponsored by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography.  It seeks to place Russian contemporary art at the forefront of world culture, as the Tchaikovsky Competition and Golden Mask have done for music and theatre.   

National Center for Contemporary Art was founded by MinCult to "develop modern Russian art."  They help finance and organize exhibitions, information services, and research into art theory. Students learn traditional wood painting at the Hermitage

5.  Study Art in Russia           report an error          back to top

Art in Russia is a unique program allowing students to study art history and studio art from inside the Hermitage.  Read interviews with past students here and here.

Museums and Art Restoration in Russia (MARR) is for professionals and students alike to explore the art and innerworkings of Russia's museums!

6.  Art NGOs and Charities           report an error          back to top

The Russian-American Cultural Center in New York offers annual auctions and an online gallery with a range of Russian artists represented.

The Museum Association of Russia is an NGO serving the interests of curators and museums.

ProArt is an NGO promoting contemporary culture in St. Petersburg by sponsoring festivals and a variety of education programs.

NewNames is an NGO providing scholarships to talented young painters, poets, and musicians. For a blurb in English about the organization, go to the bottom of this page.

New Acropolis is an NGO operating which supports the growth and development of individual and group cultures.  They sponsor artists, classes, and festivals in painting and sculpture. 

The Kolodzei Art Foundation is an NGO promoting the contemporary art of Russia and the FSU. They arrange exhibitions, cultural exchanges, and provide free art supplies for need artists and stipends for Russian students studying abroad.  

Maria's Children provides art rehabilitation to orphans.  Lots of artwork shown on the site. 

Guggenheim-Hermitage Foundation coordinates joint projects between the two art behemoths.An flyer for the "Beware, Religion!" exhibit

7.  Articles and Issues           report an error          back to top

Censorship:  Russia has had three major cases since the fall of the USSR where issues of censorship have been called in to question.  "Beware, Religion" and "Russia2" were art exhibits both charged with inciting religious hatred and "Russia2" was also charged with political extremism. The Children of Rosenthal, an opera, was charged with indecency.  Click the links for more info.  This article, from gives a good overview of all three.  

Communism and Art: The Communist's treatment of art is one that must be understood if modern Russian art is to be understood as it is still reacting against it.  This article details censorship organs of the Soviet state (as they pertained to the theatre - similar ones were in place for other arts).  To understand modern communist thought on art, read parts one and two of this review of the Russia! exhibit (published by the World Socialist Web Site).   

Russian Art Movements: Wikipedia provides some good synopsis of the histories of Russia's many movements.  See: Stroganov School; Peredvizhniki; Abramtsevo Colony; Russian Symbolism; Mir Iskusstva; Cubo-Futurism; Suprematism; Constructivism; Russian avant-garde; Socialist realism; and Nonconformism

Search for New Identity: Russian artists are still trying to figure out what their proper place in society should be now that the old Soviet system of support and censorship for the arts is gone. A recent conference, held at Yale University, focused on this issue. The site is not altogether clear and well-annotated, but it does present a wealth of interesting papers. See more here.

"A New Look at the Series 'Sancta': an American Perspective."  H. McMurtry.  Vestnik, the Journal of Russian and Asian Studies Spring, 2005, 41-50.    

SRAS Original Articles:  A Hermitage History; Russian Crafts Tour the US (focuses on the artist Elena Polenova and the Abramtsevo Arts and Crafts Movement).

8.  Online Galleries           report an error          back to top

Rollins College offers an attractive, accessible resource for studying Russian art and artists from Icons to the 20th century.  Lost of high-quality images, histories of artists, and their movements and schools. 

Auburn University offers this list of high-quality images of Russian art indexed by painter.

California State University offers a wide collection of images of Russian sculpture, painting, architecture and more.  Not all of the pictures are of the greatest quality, but the site is very large and quite easily navigable. provides famous Russian paintings in large, high quality digital images. Go here first if you need something extremely high-quality.

The Karakalpak Museum of the Arts, located in Tashkent, offers online galleries of Russian and Uzbek avant-garde, folk art, and more.

ArtInfo brings perhaps the greatest quantity of modern art to the Internet - but bear in mind they do so as a business.  It's all copyrighted.

For more online galleries with digital images and artist bios try: Olga's Gallery (Icons to Revolution); (Soviet Realism); (Modern); (Modern); and  (Realist, Impressionist, Soviet Realist)

Balkan Vase, Republic of Dagistan9.  Physical Galleries in Russia           report an error          back to top offers one of the largest and most informative lists of galleries in Russia. 

The SRAS City Guides offer lists of both museums which show historical art and galleries which are revered among contemporary artists.  Jump to: Moscow; St. Petersburg offers short lists for Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities. offers fuller though usually less informative lists that don't always come in English. 

10.  Galleries in the US           report an error          back to top

Robert Garren Gallery in Georgetown, Tennessee specialized in selling art from the FSU.  The site has lots of high-quality pictures of the art and other useful information.

The Art of Russia Gallery is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  They also sell art from the FSU and offer lots of an online gallery and other useful information.   

Museum of Russian Icons is in Clinton MA and displays about 260 Russian icons.

The Museum of Russian Art is based in Minneapolis.

From Russia with Art is a gallery based in Cambridge, MA.

11.  Personages           report an error          back to top

Some of Today's Top Artists:  
Olga Bulgakova - painter (gallery) (gallery) (gallery) (gallery)
Elena Kovylina - performance art (home page) (gallery) (gallery) (gallery - explicit)
Sergei Mironenko - visual art (brief review) (eg) (eg) (eg)
Igor Mukhin - photography (bio) (gallery) (gallery) (gallery)
Gor Chahal - photography (homepage - extensive!)
The Blue Noses - visual art / satire  (gallery) (gallery) (eg
More on Contemporary Art from

Zurab Tsereteli is head of the Russian Academy of Arts and Moscow Museum of Modern Art.  He's also an accomplished artist himself, with most of his work catalogued and photographed online (click the images at the left to open new categories).  He offered to create this piece in New York as memorial to the victims of world terrorism after 9/11. 

Marat Guelman is as steeped in art as politics. He was a campaign manager for the Ukrainian president who was ousted by the Orange Revolution. He works largely for "the establishment" but has been instrumental in assisting young artists and immigrant artists through The Marat Guelman Gallery, known for sensationalism and scandal. This gallery was attacked in Nov 2006 and Marat himself badly beaten by skinheads apparently upset at the gallery's liberal art policies and showing of a Georgian artist.  

Vladimir Potanin is a controversial oligarch who founded a charity fund that gives heavily to museums and was the major financial supporter of the RUSSIA! exhibition at the Guggenheim. He was also the first president of the Hermitage's Board of Trustees. 

12.  Other Sites of Interest           report an error          back to top

RUSSIA! was a major event at the Guggenheim museum in 2005.  The website for it still provides information about the event and on Russian art and art history. 

The Photographers Union works to advance the art of photography in Russia and abroad. News, online galleries, and more on their site. 

The Official Portal of the Research and Computing Information General Service (RCIGS) is a bizarrely named service of MinCult.  It is being developed into a general history with lots of information about art, artists, etc.  Unfortunately, only part of it hasThe Barbar - exmaple of Russian Lubok (detail) been translated to English. 

MANAGEX displayed "living business managers" as art in a gallery and turn profession into art.   

The Centre for Problems of Informatization in the Sphere of Culture (The PIC Centre) is a sort of think-tank subordinate to the Ministry of Culture.

Lubok are popular Russian prints.  Rollins College has a large gallery of them, with the text available in English translation.

The Culture Channel is a bit like PBS in the States with lots of programs and documentaries about art, artists, theatre, history, and other cultural issues.  It's widely respected and government funded. is a project supported by the Agency for Culture and Cinematography.  It seeks to map out (quite literally), every cultural region of Russia with photos, histories, and info.  Unfortunately, very little has been added so far in English, but the site is worth looking at. 

The Library of Congress's Prokudin-Gorskii Collection (which features color photographs of tsarist-era Russia - some of teh world's first color photographs) is extensive and searchable online.

A tour of the hotspots of a creative renaissance that could lift Moscow’s profile as a cutting-edge destination

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