The development of Art Museums in Uzbekistan

Kamola Nishanova,

The belles arts museum is an institution of scientific research and educational purpose, which specialists are engaged in collection, conservation, presentation and organization of exhibitions of works of fine and applied arts (1, p. 10-12).
History of the art museums began in the times of ancient Rome and in the medieval cities of Europe. It was then, when the priceless works of art began to be collected and preserved in the palaces and temples. In the Renaissance era a certain system of the procurement of the art pieces was already developed. Uffizi, Prado, and Louvre – the oldest museums appeared in the XVI century. Starting from this period begins the construction of palaces and other majestic buildings with glass verandas. In the Western Europe the so-called galleries (spacious rooms) were used for the storage and display of the works of art.
In the middle ages in Russia, the pieces of art used to be preserved mainly in the churches and the monasteries. In the XVI century, the first collections of paintings and other art objects was collected in the Armoury Chamber in Moscow. While, such wealthy noblemen as V. Golitsyn, A. Matveev, B.Khitrov, F. Miloslavsky were collecting the works of artsince the XVII century.
In the XVIII century, the valuable works of art were also collected by the prominent aristocrats like A. Stroganov, N. Yusupov, I. Shuvalov, following the example of Peter the Great.
In the XIX century the doors of museums open to visitors. The exhibits in the Hermitage, the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow became available to general public(2, p. 13-14).
Since the second half of the XIX century the first museums possessing the numerous collections appear also in Turkestan. They immediately attracted attention of the public, occupying a prominent place in the life of the people as anindependent cultural institution. Museums quickly became the centers of cultural, scientific, educational and enlightening work, becoming an important communicative link in social relations.
More than 60 thousand priceless examples of fine art – sculpture, folk art, ancient coins, gold embroidery and pottery is kept in the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan. This cultural institution is one of the largest in the country. The collection of Prince N. K. Romanov made a foundation for creation of the Museum in 1918, which is functioning for almost a hundred years.
In the first years of the Museum’s functioning, its core collection consisted of the works of art, confiscated or purchased from private collectors, as well as the exhibits transferred from the funds of state museums of Moscow and St. Petersburg. In May of 1925, the blacksmith and potteries workshops had been opened in the Museum. According to certain sources, in 1930, the Museum store 2759 exhibits, more than half of which were the works of the Uzbek national art. In 1935, the Museum got the status of the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan. On April 30 of 1974, there was a solemn opening of a modern new building of the Museum that enabled the Museum to display its full collection. Exhibition area of the Museum, located on three floors, makes 4,800 square meters and consists of the halls with make-shift walls, which makes it easy to regulate the flow of visitors and tour groups.The building external walls are covered with special glass, which enables a uniform illumination of the museum halls. In cloudy weather additional artificial lightingis used.
The State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan includes the exhibition halls, the funds or repositories, restoration workshops, a research library with a training hall, library of sound recordings.
In 2014, on occasion of the 100thanniversary of the Museum, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has adopted the resolution “On the reconstruction and strengthening of material and technical base of the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan”.
One of the cultural and educational centers of the country is also the Museum of Applied Art of Uzbekistan. In 1927, there was an exhibition of the best samples of creativity of the Uzbek artists/craftsmen, which was later transformed into a permanent, exposition called “The Exhibition of the National Economy of Uzbekistan”. Every year the number of exhibits grew, and the fund was replenished with the works of folk applied art, which later became the exhibits in the “Museum of Crafts” opened in Tashkent on 7 July of 1937. In 1960, the Museum was named “The Permanent Exhibition of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan”. According to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan from August 15, 1997, the exhibition has received the status of “The Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan”. The Museum’s building is a striking example of the national architectural art of the late XIX century. The prominent masters from Bukhara, Khiva, Samarkand, Tashkent and Rishtan have participated in design and decoration of the building.
The Museum houses artistic exhibits of the applied arts created by Uzbek master craftsmen since the early XIX century to present.
Currently, the Museum of Applied Arts is one of the largest cultural and educational centers of our country. Annually it is visited by thousands of people – residents of Uzbekistan and other countries. At the same time, the Museum is as a kind of laboratory for specialists studying the history of the Uzbek national applied arts and the creative workshop for craftsmen and artists.
Among the museums of Uzbekistan is notable the State Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan named after I. V. Savitsky in Nukus. He ranks first in the country by the number (over 80 thousand) of pieces of fine art. According to experts, this Museum from the point of view of the value and scale of the collection of works by Russian artists ranks second in the world after the famous Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Museum of Karakalpakstan has become a source of knowledge for professionals and artists. The success of the Museum owes to its founder Igor Vitalievich Savitskiy, who managed to prove to the officials that Karakalpakstan needed an art museum. The Museum was opened in Nukus in 1966. Its first director was I. V. Savitsky, who collected works by the artists whose creative work was associated with the Central Asia. Among them were the works of the founders of the art school of the Central Asia, in particular R. Mazel, and artists of Uzbekistan – A. Volkov, M. Kurzin, N. Karakhan, U. Tansykbayev, V. Ufimtsev and others). Savitskiy with his peers within 10-15 years has created a museum which houses valuable works (3).
For seven years the American filmmakers were making the documentary “The Desert of Forbidden Art” using the modern technology and special effects, and in 2010, it has been released. The authors while making this film used the valuable archive materials, photographs, interviewed the artists, experts of world importance and the people who knew Igor Savitsky in person. The music was composed specially for this film. This film is the most famous and valuable work about the Museum. In 2015, the second exposition building of the Museum and the special storage of the fund were builtand put into operation.
One of the largest art museums – the Museum of Fine Arts – the branch of the Bukhara State Artistic and Architectural Museum-Reserve. The Museum-Reserve firstly stored the collection of works that did not have any artistic value, because at that time the Museum-Reserve was not intended for collecting the works of fine art. In 1960, Department of Fine Arts was openedunder the Museum-Reserve. By this time, there was already a collection of the pieces of art, therefore in 1985, the Museum-Reserve got new status and had become known as “The Bukhara State Artistic and Architectural Museum-Reserve”.
In 1980, in order to demonstration the collection of fine art of the Museum, the preservation and multiplication of its exhibits, the Bukhara Museum of Fine Arts has been opened. In 2012, a two-storey building was allocated for that purpose.
The Museum’s collection includes the works of such artists like P. Benkov, M. Kurzin, V. Ufimtsev, N. Karakhan, Z. Kovalevskaya, A. Volkov, N. Kashina, U. Tansykbayev, A. Abdullaev, R. Akhmedov, R. Chariev and other artists.
In the report of the Bukhara State Artistic and Architectural Museum-Reserve for 2010 is noted that the Museum since 1994 exhibits items that reflect the stages of development of jewelry art of Bukhara dating back to the period starting from the II century BC to the XX century.
The jewelry department and the art and historical clothing department of Bukhara Museum complement each other, and their exhibits represent the heritage of the applied arts, revealing the political and cultural characteristics of the era, the ethnic features of the nation.
In 1983, the Art Gallery of Urgench was opened (Khorezm Province) on occasion of the 1200 anniversary of the great scientist Al-Khorezmi. The building was constructed in 1910-1912, in the style of the Khorezm school of architecture with the elements of European architecture. In 1939 – 1983, it housed the communications center.
The Gallery exhibits over 400 works of nearly 180 artists, who lived and worked in the XX century. Their works reflect all of the artistic schools and trends, which had significant impact in the history of Uzbek national art.The report of the Painting Gallery of Urgench for 2010, informs that its permanent exhibition houses more than 50 paintings, drawings, sculptures and works of applied arts of such Khorezmianartists as Toura Kuryazov, Otahon Ollaberganov, Erkaboy Masharipov, and Soli Kadirov.
Since the second half of the XX century, in construction of the museum buildings the designs closely related to the national traditions in architecture were used, also taking into account the peculiarities of the museum funds. A perfect example of this is the Fine Art Gallery of Uzbekistan, built in Tashkent.
The opening of the Gallery of Paintings of the National Bank of Uzbekistan in 1994 provided an opportunity to collect a large collection of works by the masters of Uzbek painting. On September 10th of 2004, the Painting Gallery of the National Bank of Uzbekistan has moved to a custom-built building and has acquired the status of the “Gallery of Fine Arts of Uzbekistan”. The main objectives of the Gallery are the preservation of priceless works of art of the XX century, reflection of the stages of development of the Uzbek painting, preventing the export of works of art abroad, support to the young artists and promotion of the national fine arts.
The Museum vaults is an important part of the Museum. They usually kept a large part of the collection. They are important in the development of the Museum and its programs since the storerooms are directly related to such activities as research, consultation, exhibitions, preservation of collections and their transfer for temporary use. Currently, the Fine Art Gallery of Uzbekistan is the only museum institution in the country which storage meets the world standards.
The art museums are being characterized by the peculiar socio-cultural specifics; their activities can be studied in terms of the cultural studies, sociology, philosophy and museology. Therefore, an important educational value have such work as keeping museum documentation, conservation of funds and research.

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