Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Savitsky Art Museum Nukus


Everyone who comes to Nukus will most likley visit its famous Art Museum, named after its founder and first director Igor Savitskiy. As a student of Moscow Art Institute, Savitskiy was evacuated to Central Asia at the time of World War II.

Here he took great interest in archaeology, ethnography and ancient culture of the region and this passion of his made him stay here forever. He learnt about wonderful world of Karakalpak folk art in which, as he believed, the implicit magic knowledge of the nation was hidden.

In the museum there are exhibited the works of ancient and medieval art of peoples inhabiting this region, as well as the articles testifying to the trade and cultural links of the Khorezmians with The Orient and the Occident. The most ancient exhibits of the Museum are Zoroastrian terracotta statuettes of the goddess of fertility – Anakhita, mausoleum-like ossuarys (the vessels with the mortal remains of the dead ancestors, who were fire-worshippers), decorated with the images of lions, images of male and female heads. The period of late Antiquity (1st - 4th centuries B.C) is represented by a bronze pin in the form of a hand holding an apple, a silver finger-ring with a sard signet depicting a dolphin, a terracotta statuette of a woman holding a grapevine. Bronze lamps and a rich collection of pottery (khums for storing grain, jugs with relief decoration) date back to the 12th - 13th centuries.

The museum also displays works of applied art of Karakalpakistan dating from the second half of the 19th - first half of the 20th centuries. These works are represented by articles made from wood and leather which were widely used by the nomads during their military campaigns – saddles decorated with silver, containers for dishware, mortars for tobacco, carved doors for yurta. Of a special interest are the carpets, which were widely used by the Karakalkaks for decoration of their yurts. These are patterned carpet strips "beldeu" and "ak-bastur", which were manufactured according to the unique techniques of relief pile fabric weaving. There are also exhibited many national costumes, small tea-sacks, wedding headdress "saukkele", all embroidered with silk, pearls and beads by the anonymous craftswomen. And the luxurious collection of ancient Karakalpaki jewellery, made of silver with inlays of turquoise and sard.

Savitskiy also busied himself with preservation of paintings by Russian avant-garde artists who had been repressed and exiled to Uzbekistan during the years of Stalinism. The unique collection of Russian avan-guarde paintings of the 20's – 40's of the 20th century has brought fame to the Nukus Museum. "Many artists, whose works are exhibited in the halls of the museum, are well known in Europe, – says the director of the museum Marinika Babanazarova, – Robert Falk, Clement Redko, Lyubov Popova, sculptors Vera Mukhina and Sara Lebedeva got their artistic education in the art studios of Paris and Munich; their names are included into the catalogues of Paris exhibitions of the early 20th century".

In the exposition of the museum there are displayed real masterpieces of painter Volkov A. and a subtle master of style Usto Mumin (Nickolayev A.), famous impressionists who lived in Uzbekistan, such as Benkov P. and Kovalevskaya Z., early works of Natsykbayev U. and Karakhan N. whose style and perception were very close to avant-guarde trends, splendid canvases of Rozhdestvenckiy V., Korovay E., Kurzina M., Shevchenko N. The works of Russian artists of the early 20th century Kusnetzov P., Kuprin A. and Ulianov N. are other gems of the collection. The Museum also introduces the works of modern painters of Karakalpakistan – Izentayev J., Serikeyev B., Matevosian R., Kuttymuradov J.

Chilpuk Dakmah, the Temple of Silence, Nukus, Uzbekistan
Chilpik Dakhmah

A big role in the popularization of the museum collection has been played by the society "Friends of Nukus Museum".

Masterpieces from the museum's collection have been exhibited in Moscow, Tashkent and in Museums in the U.S, Germany, France and Italy.

To see the marvellous collection at the Savitsky Museum come and visit Nukus during your stay in Uzbekistan.

Source: Karakalpak State Art Museum

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