One of the largest Fine Arts museums of Ukraine. The museum’s collection is one of the oldest and most valuable artistic properties of Ukraine.
Sometimes two stories intertwine in one place. This is exactly the case with the collection of the Kharkiv Art Museum and the building that has housed it since the middle of the 20th century.
The university museum’s art collection was initiated in 1805 when Vasyl Karazin, the founder of Kharkiv University and a prominent Ukrainian academic and public figure, purchased around 2,500 graphic sheets by Western European artists. These were the works of outstanding artists of the 16th–18th centuries: Albrecht Dürer, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Antony van Dyck, Hendrick Goltzius, Luca Giordano, François Boucher. Over time, the university’s alumni expanded the collection, in particular, with the works by European painters of the 17th–18th centuries and more than 3,000 gravures by artists of various European schools.
By the time World War II began, the museum’s collection comprised more than 75,000 exhibits and was one of the best in the USSR. It included the works of not only Western European but also Ukrainian and Russian artists, such as Ilya Repin, Taras Shevchenko, Serhii Vasylkivskyi, Grigoriy Myasoyedov, Ivan Shishkin, Nikolai Ge, and Vasily Surikov. However, the Soviet authorities did not include the museum’s collection in an evacuation plan when the war broke out. As a result, only the most valuable exhibits were transported abroad, amounting to only about 4,700 items, or 6%. The Nazis took to Germany a significant part of the collection that remained under the occupation and burned the rest during their retreat from Kharkiv in 1943.
The building where the Kharkiv Art Museum has been located since 1944 has a history of its own. The house was commissioned by the Kharkiv millionaire and industrialist, Ivan Ihnatishchev. It was built in 1912–1914 and designed by the architect and academic Oleksii Beketov. The Neo-Rennaissance estate is combined with the elements of modernism, which was common at the turn of the 20th century.
Ihnatishchev’s ownership of the two-storey building was short-lived since it was nationalised by the Bolsheviks at the very beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution. The building consequently housed various administrative Soviet institutions, and, from 1932 to 1940, the Research Institute of Literary Studies, named after Taras Shevchenko, was located there. At the end of the Second World War, the Kharkiv Art Museum finally gained its own place here, whose collection was yet to be painstakingly restored.
Almost 80 years have passed. The museum has expanded to 25 halls and 25,000 exhibits of Western European, Ukrainian, and Russian painting, graphics, sculpture, and decorative as well as applied art, covering the period from the 15th to the 21st century and representing the evolution of European art. Herms with maidens’ heads on the main facade of the former manor, a stained-glass window from the beginning of the 20th century, and an original fireplace in the former dining room of Ihnatishchev have also been preserved.
At the end of February 2022, the Kharkiv Art Museum once again witnessed war. This time, it was Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. During the shelling of the city, the Russian troops damaged the facades, windows, and stained glass of the building. As almost 80 years ago, the museum’s staff has been trying to save the exhibits of one of the largest art museums in Ukraine. This place used to reveal the beautiful and sublime worlds to visitors and introduce them to European, including Ukrainian, culture. And today, the museum has to withstand the cruelty of the Russian army, ruthless towards beauty and life.
The site that once held memories may now turn into a memory itself.
Kharkiv National University named after Vasyl Karazin, founded in 1804, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education not only in Ukraine, but also in Eastern Europe.
National Literary Memorial Museum of the Ukrainian Philosopher and Poet (18th-century building).
The central square of Kharkiv. It ranks sixth in Europe. Here are the most important administrative institutions of the city.
190-years-old architectural monument in the classical style, built in 1832, which used to be the manor of Kharkiv officials and became an excellent illustration of Kharkiv’s life in the 19th century.
Built thanks to the cooperation of students, professors, and institute personnel of the Kharkiv Polytechnic between 1985 and 1991, the sports complex became the site for practising over 30 different kinds of sport, as well as an Olympic training base and the only sports facility in Ukraine to receive the State Award in architecture.
An ancient building, erected in one of the historical neighbourhoods of Kharkiv in the early 20th century. Several generations of Ukrainians have studied at this school for more than a hundred years.
A building of the beginning of the ХХ century in eclecticism style, which housed a female gymnasium from the time of construction and until the 1920s.
Church in the largest residential area of Kharkiv – Saltivka. The architecture of the building, built in 2013 for the Independence Day of Ukraine, resonates with Ukrainian Baroque traditions.
One of the oldest musical theaters and the first permanent opera house of Ukraine. Its history dates back to the end of the 18th century.
The main center of ensuring the accuracy of measurements in Ukraine with more than a century of history.
Former House of Judicial Institutions was constructed in the best Neo-Renaissance traditions. The building has the features of Italian palazzos and the exterior of the house stands out due to its sophisticated design.
An extraordinary building of the early 20th century in the architectural ensemble of the Constitution Square in Kharkiv built in the Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism styles.
In 1940, 3809 captive Polish officers and 500 Polish civilians were shot here by order of the Soviet government.
The oldest square in the city. From XVIII to early XX centuries, this place became the centre of the city culture.
This house became a home for Ukrainian writers and artists in 1928. The Soviet government built it for the Ukrainian intellectuals, but soon this place turned out to be a trap.
Holocaust Memorial Complex (menorah monument of 2002).
The cathedral is the oldest Orthodox church in Kharkiv and has great historical and art value.
A brick church constructed on the site of a wooden temple. The first mention of this building dates back to 1691.
Architectural monument, built in 1884–1886. For more than 130 years, the building has helped save the city and its citizens from fires.