Art Museum of Kuindzhi
Art Museum of Kuindzhi
Mariupol, Donetsk region Art Museum of Kuindzhi

An ancient building of 1902 in the Northern Art Nouveau style, which comprised under its roof the works by respected Ukrainian landscape painters, as well as world-famous marine and realist artists.

Mariupol, Donetsk region
Official status:
Not registered as monument
Date of destruction:
Missile attack

Before March 3, 2022. Photo:

Despite its ancient history, active community, and diversity of architectural styles, the city of Mariupol did not have an art gallery for quite a long time. It was only in 1973 that the first landscape exhibition in the Ukrainian SSR ‘Memorial to Kuindzhi’ was held in the Mariupol Museum of Local History. It was dedicated to Arkhyp Kuindzhi, a native of Mariupol and the world-famous Ukrainian realist artist, landscape painter, and teacher.


His works impress with light and colour, and the artist himself is usually called the ‘master of light’. He made dozens of incredible Ukrainian landscape paintings: ‘Moonlit Night on the Dnipro,’ ‘Dnipro in the Morning,’ ‘Chumatskyi Path in Mariupol,’ ‘Ukrainian Night,’ ‘Evening in Ukraine,’ ‘Tatar Saklya in Crimea.’


Over time, some works, including paintings by recognized Ukrainian landscape masters Tetiana Yablonska, Mykola Hlushchenko, Mykhailo Derehus, Ivan Marchuk, Serhii Shyshko, and Valentyna Tsvetkova, were selected and transferred to the local history museum. The Ukrainian artist Viktor Arnautov, who lived in the USA for a long time and collaborated with the Mexican monumental artist Diego Rivera, donated some of his own works to the museum. The history of the future Art Museum of Kuindzhi began with all of the listed works of art. The museum relocated to its own building on October 30, 2010.


The Art Museum was housed in an ancient building since 1902. This private house in the Northern Art Nouveau style was a wedding gift from Gazadinov, the head of Mariupol’s local self-administration, to his daughter. However, the family did not live here for long. The Bolsheviks took hold of Mariupol in 1917 and nationalised the building. A library and a party archive were located here in the Soviet period, and a pharmacy warehouse after WWII. The architectural monument gradually fell into disrepair without proper care and renovation. Only after the restoration of Ukraine’s independence was an art gallery established here in honour of Arkhyp Kuindzhi.

After March 3, 2022. Photo:

Three halls of the museum were dedicated to his artistic legacy. The artist’s photos, documents, letters, and, of course, the artworks tell the story of his life and work. In addition, paintings and graphic works by world-famous marine and realist artists were presented here, such as those of Ivan Aivazovsky, Oleksii Boholiubov, Vasily Vereshchagin, Nikolay Dubovskoy, and Lev Lagorio.


In total, the museum’s collection comprised 650 paintings, 960 graphic works, 150 sculptures, and more than 300 items of decorative and applied art. The halls of this cosy museum also served as a venue for lectures, chamber music evenings, theme meetings, interactive programmes, and film sessions about artists and their works.


All of this suddenly came to a full stop with the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. On March 21, the Russian bomb hit and completely destroyed the museum. The original Arkhyp Kuindzhi’s works were not in the museum at that time. However, the other artworks’ fate still remains unknown. The museum that carefully collected and preserved the beautiful landscape paintings disappeared forever. Instead, a different landscape appeared in the city of Mariupol, which was completely destroyed and burned by the Russian troops.


The city that once held memories has now turned into a memory itself.

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