Unveiling of a sculpture portrait of Sviatoslav Richter created by Ernst Neizvestny

22 March 2012

The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation provided support for the creation of a sculpture of the great Russian pianist, Sviatoslav Richter, as well as miniatures of the sculpture to be awarded to the prizewinners of the Sviatoslav Richter International Piano Competition.

The bust of Sviatoslav Richter was sculpted by Ernst Neizvestny. The official unveiling and presentation of the sculpture to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts took place on 22 March 2012 in the Italian Courtyard. The ceremony was organised to coincide with the birthday of the great musician.

Irina Antonova, Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, spoke at the official ceremony and commented that Mr. Neizvestny, “one of the most prominent sculptors of our time, has been working on this sculptural portrait for a long time”. The artist was working at his New York studio, using photographs of the musician, even though he knew Sviatoslav Richter personally and frequently attended his concerts.

“The artist has created three copies of this portrait,” — clarified Irina Antonova, — “One of them is intended for the Moscow Conservatory, the second, this one, is now at our museum, and the third one will remain in the private collection of the sculptor. We are the first ones to unveil this sculptural portrait.”

The name of Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997), pianist, cultural and public figure is closely associated with the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Richter played his first concert at the Museum on April 14, 1949. Since then, he has become a part of the museum’s history. In 1981, Irina Antonova and Sviatoslav Richter founded the International Music Festival “December Nights”, where world masterpieces are played in front of a marvellous backdrop of paintings by the great masters. Since 1998, the Festival has been named after S. Richter. Sviatoslav Richter not only knew and loved the visual arts, but he himself was a keen painter. His works in pastel are now in the Museum of Private Collections of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. These works are often exhibited at the musician’s Memorial Apartment, which after the death of the pianist was donated to the Museum by Richter’s widow, singer Nina Dorliak.

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