Новые известия(en)
Stupidity or revenge? The Lopukhins' mansion will be given for an exhibition about Irina Antonova
22 January 2021, 19:04
Stupidity or revenge? The Lopukhins' mansion will be given for an exhibition about Irina Antonova
The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation decided to create and place a museum exposition dedicated to the life and work of Irina Antonova in the building of the former Lopukhins estate, where the International Center of the Roerichs was located, against which Antonova opposed the defeat.

Igor Kokarev

"Honor, stupidity or... revenge?" This was the question I had when it became known about how it was decided to perpetuate the memory of the legendary figure of Russian culture, long-term director, and later the president of the Pushkin Museum, Irina Alexandrovna Antonova.

The management of the museum, most likely, after discussing this issue with the Ministry of Culture, decided to create and place a museum exposition dedicated to the life and work of Irina Alexandrovna in the building of the former Lopukhins estate. At first glance, it may seem that this is a completely worthy solution. However, what is honor in form, in fact, eats a sophisticated mockery. Because every person who is interested in the life of Russian culture is aware of the high-profile events associated with the above-mentioned estate.

When, under the supervision of employees of the Ministry of Culture, modern expensive museum equipment was broken, the head of the department, Vladimir Medinsky, solemnly promised to build a worthy State Museum of the Roerichs on the site of a public museum. However, what actually opened up was such a gray squalor that the state museum was quickly turned down, and the long-suffering estate was given to the Pushkin Museum. The building had to be adapted for something urgently - and it was adapted for a youth center.

In most cases, officials do not back down from a decision once made. And now it is difficult to say what should happen in order for it to give the estate to its legitimate user - the Roerichs' public museum. Therefore, I can assume that after the opening of the planned exhibition, two lives, two legacies, two memories - the memory of Irina Antonova and the memory of Nicholas Roerich - will be in the balance. Do you think Irina Antonova herself would have wanted such perpetuation? Alas, she will no longer be able to stand up for her memory, and everyone else, most likely, has nothing to do with this.

It is known that 2013 was a special period in Antonova's life. On April 11 of that year, Antonova was appointed the chief curator of state museums in Russia. She was entrusted with an honorable public service. At first sight. In fact, it was preparation for the removal from the management of the museum. Perhaps realizing that this was her last chance, Antonova publicly expressed her long-standing dream in a direct line with Putin - to recreate the capital's museum of Western art destroyed under Stalin. After the destruction of the museum for ideological reasons, its richest collection of Impressionist paintings was divided between the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum. Antonova proposed to combine these parts of the collection in the Golitsins' estate in the capital.

At a press conference dedicated to this initiative, Irina Aleksandrovna said: "Museums cannot be destroyed". The reaction of the director of the Hermitage followed immediately. It was not just negative. Piotrovsky spoke so sharply that it seemed to me that Antonova was simply stunned by the tone of his comment. The discussion of her initiative was turned into a squabble. Since the president did not reject Antonova's initiative, but offered to discuss it in the museum community, with any decision of which he was ready to agree, Antonov should have been stopped immediately. And she was stopped. Already on July 1, 2013, Irina Aleksandrovna, by order of the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, was relieved of her post as director of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts with the wording "of her own free will". Medinsky rejected the candidates proposed by Antonova for the place of director of the museum. Apparently, in order to somehow smooth out the acute situation, Antonova was appointed president of the Pushkin Museum.

And now, after the departure of Irina Alexandrovna, we are witnessing the second act of the "Marlezon ballet". Contrary to Antonova's position on the inadmissibility of the destruction of museums, it was decided to immortalize her memory on the site of the destroyed museum.