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:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.