Irina Antonova

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Irina Antonova
Irina Antonova 03-06-2014.jpg
Born(1922-03-20)20 March 1922
Died30 November 2020(2020-11-30) (aged 98)
NationalityRussian
OccupationArt historian

Irina Aleksandrovna Antonova (Russian: Ирина Александровна Антонова; 20 March 1922 – 30 November 2020) was a Soviet and Russian art historian who served as a Director of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow for 52 years, from 1961 to 2013, making her the oldest and the longest serving director of a major art museum in the world.[1] Among her many awards and decorations are the State Prize of the Russian Federation and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She was the President of the Pushkin Museum, a ceremonial post.[2]

Career[edit]

Irina Antonova was born in Moscow in the family of Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Antonov, a ship electrician and then director of the Institute of Experimental Glass, and Ida Mikhailovna Heifitz (died when she was 100 years and 5 months old).[3]

From 1929 to 1933 she lived with her parents in Germany. From 1940, she was a student in the art history department of the Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History. In 1941, after the IFLI was merged with Moscow State University, she became a student of the Faculty of Philology at Lomonosov Moscow State University.[4]

She studied under Boris Vipper at the Moscow University, graduating in 1945.[5] Later that year she joined the staff of the Pushkin Museum. In February 1961 Nikita Khrushchev put her in charge of the museum.[6] In this capacity, Antonova initiated and organised major international exhibitions, including Moscow-Paris, Moscow-Berlin, Russia-Italy, Modigliani, Turner, Picasso and many others.[7][8] Author of more than 100 publications (catalogues, articles, albums, TV shows, scripts of popular science films). For a number of years she taught at the Art History Department of Moscow State University, at the Institute of Cinematography, in the GMII auditorium and at the Institute of Oriental Languages in Paris.[9]

Antonova oversaw art collections which were taken by Soviet Union from Germany after World War II. She first denied that such collections exist, and when it was apparent that they exist started publicly stating that the collections were taken to the Soviet Union legally and should be exempt from restitution.[10] Antonova witnessed the entire collection of the Dresden Gallery arriving at the museum from Germany in 1945 and its removal ten years later. She opposed the return of the collection to Germany, claiming it was a just compensation for the damage inflicted on Russia's cultural heritage by the German invaders. The museum still holds Priam's Treasure, taken as a trophy by the Red Army after the Battle of Berlin.[11]

Antonova's interests revolved around Impressionist and Modern art. In 1948, the Pushkin Museum acquired considerable holdings of these works from the nationalized collections of Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov.[12] Antonova long supported the recreation of the State Museum of New Western Art, a museum created from the collections of Shchukin and Morozov, disestablished by Stalin in 1948.[2] The collections of the museum were dispersed to the Pushkin and the Hermitage Museum. The Hermitage was reluctant to let its collection go to the proposed museum, and Antonova and the Hermitage director, Mikhail Piotrovsky publicly disagreed over the issue.[2]

Antonova was also instrumental in establishing Svyatoslav Richter's December nights, an international music festival that has been held in the museum since 1981.[13][14]

The Russian Government proposed an online "virtual museum", which Antonova rejected.[2] A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "the chances of creating such a museum fall significantly" after Piotrovsky's disapproval. Antonova later said people who were against the recreation of the museum were "adhering to a decree of Stalin."[2] Shortly after the controversy, on 10 July 2013, Antonova was fired and replaced by Marina Loshak.[15] Antonova explained that she herself chose a successor, later specified that she had actually proposed cultural scientists as her successors, but all her candidacies were rejected by the Ministry.[16] Of the candidates proposed by the Ministry, Loshak seemed to be the most acceptable to her.[17]

Antonova died on 30 November 2020, from COVID-19 and its complications.[4][18][19]

Political views[edit]

Member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (2011–2020),[20] in 2012 she entered the list of trustees of the presidential candidate Vladimir Putin.[21] In 2014, she signed the Collective Appeal of Cultural Workers of the Russian Federation in support of the policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and Crimea.[22]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Russian art historian Evsey Rotenberg, who died in 2011.[23] They had a son, Boris Rotenberg (born in 1954).[24]

She was fluent in German, French and Italian.[25] Antonova died on 30 November 2020 at the age of 98.[26] [27]

Honours and awards[edit]

Irina Antonova with Vladimir Putin, March 2002

References[edit]

  1. ^ Times, The Moscow (20 March 2020). "On This Day in 1922 Irina Antonova Was Born". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Miriam Elder (2 July 2013). "Doyenne of Russia's art world ousted from Pushkin Museum at 91". The Guardian. London.
  3. ^ "Ирина Антонова: Сегодня моя семья – сын". sobesednik.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Причиной смерти Ирины Антоновой стал коронавирус". www.kommersant.ru (in Russian). 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Irina Antonova, Head of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, Turns 90". russkiymir.ru. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ Elder, Miriam (1 July 2013). "Doyenne of Russia's art world ousted from Pushkin Museum at 91". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Exhibitions". pushkinmuseum.art. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  8. ^ "От Джоконды до Пикассо: 5 знаменитых выставок Ирины Антоновой". РИА Новости (in Russian). 20 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Умерла президент Пушкинского музея Ирина Антонова". РБК (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Директор ГМИИ им. Пушкина Ирина Антонова: "Реституция невозможна, и я объясню вам почему"". news.ru. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  11. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Irina Antonova: Looted art is 'the price paid for remembering' | DW | 8 March 2016". DW.COM. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Эрмитаж и ГМИИ им. Пушкина обменяются выставками". smotrim.ru. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  13. ^ "ГМИИ им. Пушкина представил программу "Декабрьских вечеров Святослава Рихтера"". smotrim.ru. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  14. ^ "December Nights of Sviatoslav Richter. Images and Reflections". pushkinmuseum.art. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  15. ^ Elder, Miriam (1 July 2013). "Doyenne of Russia's art world ousted from Pushkin Museum at 91". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Кандидатуру преемницы Ирина Антонова выбирала лично". vesti.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  17. ^ Тимофеев, Ярослав (5 July 2013). "Ирина Антонова: "Я мечтала выбрать в преемники кого-то из ученых"". Известия (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Умерла президент Пушкинского музея Ирина Антонова". www.kommersant.ru (in Russian). 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  19. ^ Times, The Moscow (1 December 2020). "Irina Antonova, Head of Pushkin Museum for 52 Years, Dead at age 98". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  20. ^ "ОПРФ - Список членов Палаты (2012 год)". oprf.ru. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Антонова Ирина Александровна | Доверенные лица Владимира Путина". 10 August 2017. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Официальный сайт Министерства культуры Российской Федерации - Деятели…". archive.is. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Прекрасный директор: Ирина Антонова о жизни в искусстве". VOGUE Россия (in Russian). 17 August 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Ирина Антонова: Зависть - очень мощная антисила, но любовь сильней". Российская газета (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  25. ^ Ушла из жизни легендарный директор Пушкинского музея Ирина Антонова. Новости. Первый канал (in Russian), retrieved 1 December 2020
  26. ^ "Умерла бывший директор Пушкинского музея Ирина Антонова" (in Russian). BBC. 1 December 2020.
  27. ^ https://pledgetimes.com/irina-antonova-was-buried-with-military-honors/
  28. ^ "УКАЗ Президента РФ от 06.12.2007 N 1639 "О НАГРАЖДЕНИИ ОРДЕНОМ "ЗА ЗАСЛУГИ ПЕРЕД ОТЕЧЕСТВОМ" I СТЕПЕНИ АНТОНОВОЙ И.А."". 3 April 2015. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  29. ^ "УКАЗ Президента РФ от 20.03.2002 N 292 "О НАГРАЖДЕНИИ ОРДЕНОМ "ЗА ЗАСЛУГИ ПЕРЕД ОТЕЧЕСТВОМ" II СТЕПЕНИ АНТОНОВОЙ И.А."". 3 April 2015. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  30. ^ "УКАЗ Президента РФ от 17.03.1997 N 245 "О НАГРАЖДЕНИИ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫМИ НАГРАДАМИ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ"". 3 April 2015. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Официальное опубликование правовых актов в электронном виде". 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Умерла легенда Пушкинского музея Ирина Антонова". РИА Новости (in Russian). 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Премия "Сокровищница Родины" — вручена | Тургеневское лето" (in Russian). Retrieved 1 December 2020.

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