TOKYO, November 3 (Itar-Tass) - Soviet and Russian artistic expert, former director and incumbent President of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Irina Antonova was awarded with the Second Degree Japanese Order of the Rising Sun. The Japanese Imperial decree to this effect was published on the occasion of the Day of Culture, the Japanese national holiday celebrated in the country on Sunday.
Irina Aleksandrovna Antonova has worked as the director of one of the largest Russian museums of European and world arts for more than 50 years. In July 2013, Marina Loshak was appointed at the post of the museum’s director, and Antonova became the president of the museum.
Thanks to Antonova the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts became the first museum, which showed to the art lovers the treasures of the largest world museums Louvre, Prado, Metropolitan Museum, Dresden Picture Gallery. Pieces of music of world famous composers Stravinsky, Schnittke, Messian, which were not played even at the Moscow State Conservatoire, were performed at the museum hall. Rachmaninov’s Vespers performed by Polyansky’s Choir was played at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts for the first time in the Soviet Union. Since 1981 the music festival December Evenings are held at the museum. World renowned musicians Richter, Bashmet, Gutman, Kagan, Pisarenko, Staier and many others performed at the festival.
In the late eighties of the previous century Irina Antonova has worked out the state programme of museum’s development, under which the Museum of Private Collections was opened at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in 1995. In 1996 Antonova initiated the establishment of the Tsvetaev Educational Art Museum, which was placed in the building of the Russian State Humanitarian University. In 1998 a new hall of museum’s history was opened and a memorial flat of famous musician Svyatoslav Richter was created at the main building of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
The Order of the Rising Sun is the second most significant order in Japan after the Order of the Chrysanthemum. The order was instituted on April 10, 1875 and has eight degrees. Before the reform of 2003 the order was bestowed only to men for military and civil merits. For the last 50 years the Order of the Rising Sun of different degrees was conferred on about 40 Russians, mainly the figures of arts and science and explorers of Japan. The Order of the Rising Sun was awarded to musicians Mstislav Rostropovich and Valery Gergiev, theatre director Yuri Lyubimov, researcher of the Japanese language grammar Ivan Golovnin. Mechanic on the frigate Pallada Ivan Zarubin became the first Russian, who was awarded with the order. The order was also bestowed to Rear Admiral Vsevolod Rudnev, the first rank captain of the legendary cruiser Varyag.