Tsereteli Art Gallery – home to all things extravagant

Join RT on tour around Moscow’s most controversial museum – the place where historical design meets modern art.

If the18th century mansion that hosts the museum is seen as one of the city’s architectural gems, the artistic works inside are plagued by controversy.

Opened in 2001, it is known as the Tsereteli Art Gallery and displays the works of Georgian artist, Zurab Tsereteli.

In Tsarist times, the lavish estate was the residence of a number of noble families. Neglected during Soviet era, the revamped building now houses Tsereteli’s graphic art, enamel panels, paintings and sculptures.

The artist’s monuments are found all over the world, from New York and London to Jerusalem and Tokyo. In Moscow, he worked on everything from the giant Peter the Great statue to the restoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Yet, his efforts routinely divide opinions. Peter the Great regularly makes it into various lists of the world’s ugliest monuments, while his statue of Christopher Columbus was rejected by the American government when Tsereteli attempted to have it installed in the US.

If his larger-than-life sculptures in Moscow’s streets are not enough, the gallery is a perfect place for making up your mind about whether Tsereteli’s extravagant works are garish or grand. Here you will discover the artist’s paintings inspired by some of his idols like Picasso and Van Gogh.

A smaller version of Peter the Great statue can be found next to the model of the Columbus monument. There is also a series of bronze portraits of prominent Russian personalities of the 20th century called “My Contemporaries”.

For some really big art, head to the courtyard to see a massive bronze apple – the forbidden fruit of the biblical tree of knowledge. You can actually get inside the gigantic sculpture to find scenes from ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, as well as meet Adam and Eve.

Pieces inspired by Bible stories and compositions depicting historical battles, the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and a large statue of Vladimir Putin – the prolific artist’s exhibition offers a chance to discover some of modern Russia’s most controversial art in a truly royal setting.

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