March 11 — Mariupol. Will the Kuindzhi Museum survive?

1. The only comparisons we can make these days are borrowed from the Second World War. Kharkiv has already been given the nickname “the Ukrainian Stalingrad.”

The stark barbarity of the Russian bombardment of the city of Mariupol has made international headlines. Two days ago, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken compared the siege of the city to the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

We can only guess at the fate of the Arkhip Kuindzhi Art Museum.
This small museum, which opened in 2010, is dedicated to Arkhip Kuindzhi (1841-1910), the famous Russian landscape painter of Greek descent who was born in Mariupol. The museum is located in a mansion in the Secession style that was built in 1902. It has a small collection of Russian paintings, including the museum’s pride: three canvases by Kuindzhi, including a sketch for his famous painting “Red Sunset on the Dnieper.” (The painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York)

Arkhip Kuindzi Art Museum
“Red Sunset on the Dnieper,” Arkhip Kuindzhi (1898-1908).

The museum is considered a local treasure and has become a popular tourist destination.

We only can repeat the words of Marina Filatova, Head of the Department of Foreign Art at the Kharkiv museum, which was recently damaged by the Russian shelling: “The irony of the situation is that we have to save paintings of Russian artists from Russian people.”

2. DW has published an article (in German) that includes an interview with me. In it, I try to address the position of Russian museum directors.