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The Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia


Republic of Karelia
Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Karl Marx Ave., 8
Phones: +7 (8142) 78-37-13
Web site:
Get acquainted with Karelia and its rich culture and traditions in the Museum!The Museum has created a section of the permanent exhibition dedicated to the Karelo-Finnish epic "Kalevlala", which is the hallmark of Karelian culture. The exhibition presents the "pearls "of the Kalevala collection, which will form a unique image of the world of" Kalevala", introduce the plot and the main characters of the epic in the representation of artists of Karelia, St. Petersburg and Moscow.


The Exposition "The Universe "Kalevala»:
Exhibition dedicated to the Karelo-Finnish epic "Kalevala", which is the hallmark of Karelian culture. The exhibition is a branded cultural tourism product designed specifically for guests of the Republic. Making a fascinating journey through the Museum halls, visitors will not only get acquainted with the epic, but will also be able to feel the "smells of Kalevala", hear the sound of Karelian runes and play the traditional Karelian musical instrument Kantele, immerse themselves in the authentic atmosphere in which the heroes of the epic work, live, create magic, perform heroic deeds.
The permanent exhibition:
Discover the wonderful world of "Northern letters", unique Karelian icons (XV-XIX centuries) dedicated to the images of especially revered Orthodox saints. The collection reveals the spiritual world and religious ideas of the peasantry of the North of Russia.
Learn the secrets of Karelian ornament at the exhibition of folk art of Karelia. The collection of decorative and applied folk art includes costumes, embroidery, woven products, wood carving and painting, utensils made of birch bark, copper and ceramics of the XIX-XX centuries.
Discover the world of Russian art XVIII-beginning.XX century, visiting the solemn hall of the Museum with the masterpieces of I. Aivazovsky, I. Shishkin, I. Repin, V. Polenov, I. Levitan and other painters!

A good tradition of the Museum was to present in the summer a small but unique collection of masterpieces from the Anichkov Palace (St. Petersburg), which includes works by Russian artists from the collection of the penultimate Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna Romanova (nee Danish Princess Dagmar), and paintings, executed by itself


The Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia is situated in the historic center of Petrozavodsk in the former Cathedral Square, in one of the old stone buildings. This building – the architectural monument of 18 century had a lucky lot mission for two centuries – carry out a noble mission of enlightenment. In different years it housed a public school, Olonets Grammar School for boys, Public Library, Pioneer Palace and Vocational School of Culture.
Among the graduates of Olonets Grammar School there are names of outstanding people, who are the glory of Russian history: V.G. Benedictov (1807-1873), a famous Russian poet, contemporary of A.S. Pushkin; V.A. Dashkov (1819- 1896), the director of Moscow Public and Rumyantsev museums; V.D. Polenov (1848-1927), artist, renowned master of Russian painting, F.F. Fortunatov (1848-1914), a most prominent linguist, founder of Moscow school of linguistics. The names of V.D. Polenov and F.F. Fortunatov are immortalized on memorial plaques on the museum walls.

The Grammar School was frequently visited by the royal family members. In1819 it was visited by the Emperor Alexander I, in1858 – Alexander II, in1863 – Prince Nikolai Alexandrovich accompanied by Adjutant-General Earl S.G. Stroganov and outstanding artist A.P. Bogolyubov.

The history of the building is closely intertwined with fate of the city and people of Petrozavodsk tenderly call it “the House on the Square”.

It is quite symbolic, that exactly in this building, where a special spiritual atmosphere continues to live; in 1960 the Fine Arts Museum of the Republic of Karelia was opened.

The first steps for creating museum collections in Petrozavodsk were made in the 30s of 19 century. In connection with the upcoming trip of the heir Prince Alexander Nikolaevich in 1837, all provincial cities got circular letters on the necessity to open special exhibitions for his visit, which would clearly reflect places of interest of the region. The first Petrozavodsk exhibition called “Museum” that included over 3000 items – mainly examples of production and artwork of fine iron casting of the Alexandrovsky (former Petrovsky) iron foundry, – was opened in 1838.

Museum business in Olonets province started developing, when in 1870 a natural-industrial and historical-ethnographic museum was established, which also had art collections. In 1903 in Petrozavodsk under the Olonets eparchy a museum stock was established which was called Drevlehranilishe (Archive). Olonets Eparchy Church Archive (from 1917 to 1920 – Church and History Museum) – was the first in Karelia museum with an art collection. Its basis was formed by icons and church artifacts removed from old-believers’ monasteries. Today, the surviving part of this reserve is included in the icon painting collection of the Museum.

Revitalization of artistic life was connected with the arrival of V.N. Popov in 1915 and A. Y. Andrianov in 1918 – both of them graduates of the Art Academy. Since late 1930s, artists and citizens of the city more and more often raised the issue on establishing an art museum in Petrozavodsk. The State Museum of Local History, without having an art department, united all the collections available in the city: Olonets Church Archive, folk applied arts and icons, as well as works of art received in 1928 from the State Museum Fund. Besides, the museum kept works of art received from private collectors and purchased from Karelian artists and visiting masters. As the number of exhibits grew, the conditions for their keeping, restoration and advertizing became more complicated. Especially critical was the situation after the war, when in 1945 according to the peace treaty about one thousand icons were returned to Karelia from Finland that had been exported by the Finns during the war from Zaonezhie.

Interesting Facts

The Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia is included in the TOP 10 attractions of the city of Petrozavodsk.
The Museum building-an architectural monument of the XVIII century-is located in the historical center of Petrozavodsk, on the former Cathedral square, now Kirov square, where all significant city holidays, mass celebrations and festivals are held. This building was fortunate enough to fulfill the noble mission of enlightenment for two centuries. In different years, it was a public school, Olonets men's gymnasium, a Public library, the Palace of pioneers and the School of culture.
500 meters from the Museum is the embankment of lake Onega – the main city promenade of Petrozavodsk. A five – minute walk from the Museum is the Water station of Petrozavodsk.