Belarusian National Arts Museum is the largest museum in the country. More than twenty seven thousand works of art – creating twenty miscellaneous collections and comprising two main representative ones: the one of national art and the other of monuments of art of the countries and nations of the world – can be found on exposition, at the branches of the Museum and its depositories.
The Museum’s official history begins on January, 24 in 1939 when under the Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of Belarus the State Art Gallery has been created in Minsk. At the beginning of 1941 the Belarusian State Art Gallery’s funds and stocks had already numbered nearly 2711 art works out of which four hundred were on exhibition. A long-term work on the description and study of each monument as well as on the creation of the museum collection’s catalogue was to be done. The fate of the whole collection was tragically unfavorable during the first days of the World War II. In a short time it would disappear without even leaving a trace.
After the war merely a small part of the works of art was returned, mainly those which before the War had been at the exhibitions in Russia. In spite of the postwar devastation, when Minsk lay in ruins, the Government of Belarus allocated considerable sums of money for purchasing works of art for the Gallery. It was already in August 1945 when the canvases by Boris Kustodiev, Vasily Polenov, Karl Briullov and Isaak Levitan were obtained.
The construction of the new building of the Belarusian State Art Gallery with the ten spacious halls, occupying two floors and a large gallery, was finished in 1957. In those years the Museum’s collection had already reached the pre-war level and included about three thousand works of Russian, Soviet and Belarusian art.
The period of the 1970s and the early 1980s was a peak of the Museum’s exhibition activity. The collection of the Belarusian modern painting and graphic arts were taken from the Museum’s funds for exhibitions abroad. Since 1993 the Museum has been called the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.References:
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.