Russian Museum begins restoration of “Holy Rus” by Mikhail Nesterov with support from Gazprom

March 21, 2019

On March 21, 2019, the State Russian Museum began the restoration of “Holy Rus,” a famous painting by the great artist Mikhail Nesterov. The initiative is supported by Gazprom.

Olga Babina, Deputy Director for Registration, Preservation and Restoration of Museum Values at Russian Museum, speaking to journalists

Olga Babina, Deputy Director for Registration, Preservation and Restoration of Museum Values at Russian Museum, speaking to journalists

Created in 1905, “Holy Rus” is justly considered among the artist's most prominent works and the most important paintings of the Silver Age of Russian culture. It was first put on display at Nesterov's personal exhibition in St. Petersburg in 1907. The painting was purchased right away by the Museum of the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1909, the artwork was sent to the International Art Exhibition in Munich, where it received a gold medal of the first class and was reproduced in numerous foreign publications. In 1921, “Holy Rus” was transferred to the Russian Museum to find its rightful place in the main exhibition. In the late 1920s, the painting was taken away to the storage vaults until the late 1980s. After that period, it was made available to the public again.

The oil-on-canvas painting (233 × 375 cm) will spend six months at the workshop, as it needs a comprehensive restoration due to natural aging. The museum's experts will make a new canvas-stretcher, eliminate defects and clean the canvas, consolidate the paint layer, remove old retouchings and coatings, and inpaint the areas of paint loss. This will be the first extensive restoration since the painting's arrival at the Russian Museum in 1921.

As soon as the restoration is complete, the artwork will once again take its place in the permanent exhibition of the Russian Museum.