The museum was established in 1971, shortly after collector Felix Vishnevsky donated the 19th-century mansion and the vast collection of paintings to the state. The museum building is a surviving merchant house of Moscow's Island (Zamoskvorechye).
The interior, too, preserves the vibe of an old private house: the furniture, the lighting fixtures, the jewelry boxes, the porcelain, and other household items.
The museum collection totals around 3,000 exhibits, spanning paintings, graphics, and applied arts, and occupies four halls in the mansion, with two extra halls intended for temporary exhibitions. At the center of the exposition is the Tropinin Hall, which houses portraits of Major General Alexander Tuchkov and Prince Platon Zubov as well as the painter's iconic canvas "The Lacemaker" and "Poor Old Man." 2019 saw the addition of a tactile replica for visually impaired visitors, captioned with a Braille description.
Other notable exhibits include a Fyodor Rokotov canvas depicting Empress Catherine II, a bust of Grigory Potemkin, and a portrait of military commander Alexander Suvorov by Joseph Kreutzinger. A separate room displays a portrait of Elizaveta Vorontsova by Pyotr Sokolov along with miniature portraits.
The museum hosts tours for kids and adults and a range of educational programs, such as workshops on painting techniques.
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