Khanenko Museum

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Coordinates: 50°26′28″N 30°30′52″E / 50.44111°N 30.51444°E / 50.44111; 30.51444

Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum of Art
Khanenko Museum 01.png
Музей мистецтв імені Богдана та Варвари Ханенків Київ.JPG
Location15 Tereshchenkivska St. Kyiv, Ukraine

The Khanenko Museum (official name: The Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Arts) is an art museum located in Kyiv, in Ukraine, which holds the biggest and most valuable collections of European, Asian and Ancient art in the country.

The museum was established in 1919 according to the will of art collector Bohdan Khanenko (1917) and the deed of gift to the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences signed by his wife Varvara in 1918.

The art collection of Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko, distinguished Ukrainian collectors and philanthropists of the late 19th and the early 20th century, is the core of the museum's holdings.

The museum comprises two late 19th-century buildings of great historical and artistic value located on Tereshchenkivska Street. The Khanenkos’ mansion houses the permanent exhibition of European fine and decorative arts from the 14th through the 18th century. A group of unique early Byzantine “Sinai” icons created in the 6th and the 7th century has been on display in a separate room of the building since 2004. On the first floor of the mansion is the permanent exhibition of Ancient art.

The other museum building located nearby was the property of the Sakhnovskys, the Khanenkos’ close relatives, until 1919. Since 2006, it has housed the permanent exhibition of Asian art. The four rooms are dedicated to the art of Buddhism and Islam as well as that of China and Japan.

The Khanenko Museum’s collection includes original artworks by outstanding European masters, such as Pieter Paul Rubens, Gentile Bellini, Juan de Zurbarán, Jacques-Louis David, François Boucher.

The museum holds highly valuable collections of European sculpture and decorative art, beautiful and rare pieces of Iranian, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese fine and decorative art, as well as small but worthwhile collections of Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian art.

In total, the Khanenko Museum’s holdings comprise more than 25 000 items. Almost 1000 selected artworks are displayed permanently.


Established on September 21, 1887 at number 15 on Tereshchenkivska Street the building is constructed in the style of Renaissance Revival architecture.[1] The building commissioned by Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko displays three towers on its facade and the family coat of arms. The recently restored interior of the building represents various historic epochs and styles.


Bogdan Khanenko was a famous patron of arts, and during his forty-year collection activity he purchased works from art auctions in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and Madrid. His most valuable purchases resulted from his trips to Italy where he obtained approximately 100 pieces through Rome and Florence auctions.

Shortly after death of Bogdan Khanenko on December 15, 1918 his widow Varvara gave away the entire collection to the city of Kyiv as a charitable gift. On June 23, 1919 the collection gained a status of the state museum.[2]

In the summer of 1941, with the outbreak of hostilities in the Soviet Union, the most valuable part of the museum collection was evacuated to Ufa (then the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, now Bashkortostan). From what was left in Kyiv, the Nazis selected the most valuable works, which were taken out of Ukraine during the retreat of 1943. Today, the museum is working to find and return the stolen valuables.

In the 1950s, Taisiya Jaspar donated and sold to the museum more than 350 works of classical Chinese painting, sculpture and applied art. In 1969, the museum purchased 41 works of cult Buddhist art from the collection of Moscow collector Valerian Velichko. During the 1970s, the museum systematically formed a collection of Japanese Netsuke sculpture (about 70 units).

From 1986 to 1998 the museum was closed for major repairs. In 1998, renovated exhibitions of European art of the 14th and 19th centuries were opened in the restored Khanenko House. In 1999, the names of the founders were returned to the official name of the museum "Museum of Arts named after Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko".

In 2006, the first large permanent exhibition of Asian art in the history of the museum opened in the neighboring building. Valuable contributions to the museum's Asian collection were gifts from patrons Halyna Shcherbak, Vasyl Novytsky, and Oleksandr Feldman in the 1990s and 2000s.


Throughout the years the collection has increased from 1,250 to over 17,000 artworks, totaling over 25,000 exhibits. It is currently considered to be the largest collection of foreign art in Ukraine.[3] The museum contains a collection of Byzantine icons and the Middle Ages Orthodox applied art pieces. Famous masterpieces include a Portrait of Infanta Margareta by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo. Other valuable pieces in the collection include paintings of Gentile Bellini, Jacob Jordaens, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Francisco Zurbarán, Luis de Morales, Claudio Coello, Claude Joseph Vernet, and Peter Paul Rubens among many others.

Additional pieces include Egyptian statues and bronze sculptures; antique terracotta and glassware; Roman and Greek sculptures, and other Byzantine exhibits along with ivory, textiles, icons and jewelry.

Gallery of some works on display[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kadoms'ka, Mariya (2005-12-21). "History of Varvara and Bogdan Khanenko building" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2007-11-08.
  2. ^ Prokopenko, Vyacheslav (1995-02-04). "Khanenko gift" (in Russian). Zerkalo Nedeli. Archived from the original on 2005-12-07.
  3. ^ "Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art". Retrieved 2007-03-01.

External links[edit]