May 01, 2002

Russian Calendar

may 16 


The art scholar Ivan Tsvetaev (1847-1913) was born on this day. A graduate of the Faculty of History and Philology at St. Petersburg University, Tsvetaev developed a passion for the ancient world and spent a good deal of time in Italy, studying and deciphering old letters and transcripts, which he brought together in his book, Italian Manuscripts. After defending his doctoral degree in Roman Letters, Tsvetaev went on to teach in this subject, first at Warsaw University, then at Kiev University. In 1889, he became Chair of the Theory and History of Fine Arts Faculty at Moscow University. In parallel, he worked on what would become his life project: the creation of new type of museum. Starting in 1894, he focused all his efforts on this museum. He sought out sponsors at home and abroad, meticulously and patiently gleaned art from private collectors and then spearheaded the construction of the future Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts on Moscow’s Volkhonka street. He became its first director in 1911; construction was completed in 1912. Last but not least, this outstanding art personality was also the father of the poet Marina Tsvetaeva.

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