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:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.