Ministry of Culture: Aivazovsky painting “Shipwreck” sold at Christie’s auction did not belong to the Feodosia Museum collection


The painting was produced in a different year, than the paintings stored at the museum in Crimea. Ukrainian officials are determined to develop a better program to protect its culture heritage.

Kyiv, June 13, 2016. Aivazovsky painting “Shipwreck” sold at Christie’s auction last week did not belong to the Feodosia Museum collection. This was informed by Vasyl Rozhko, head of museum and cultural values department at the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Now we actually know at least five paintings titled “Shipwreck” that are in Venice, St. Petersburg and Yerevan. There are two paintings produced in 1843 and in 1876 stored at the Feodosia Museum. The picture that was sold was made in 1875. According to documents provided by the auction house, since 1960 it was owned by French collectors,” explained the Ministry of Culture representative.

Vasyl Rozhko noted that under the guise of exhibitions and restoration work cultural heritage objects may indeed be exported from Crimea and Donbas. “We urge international organizations not to cooperate with Russian museums that take out cultural property for exhibitions outside Crimea,” stated the head of museum and cultural values department at the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. He reminded that currently the biggest loss is Scythian gold, transported to the Netherlands. The first court hearing on returning Scythian gold to Ukraine is scheduled for October 5.

Vasyl Rozhko also noted that in 2014, the ministry began to develop a new action program in the event of military aggression and any other emergencies. “Efforts were aimed at establishing a new way of interaction between the Ministry, the regions, and the regional centers. […] This is the first guarantee that in case of such situations, we will manage to respond properly,” he noted. In particular, we introduced a system of training based on the international methodology in the field of conservation and restoration. “A number of training sessions have been held Ukraine. The major trainings have been held in Zaporizhzhia and Opishnya. Now we have a network of professionals who know what to do in any risky situation,” informed the official. Besides, data about all historical monuments are added to the single database. Vasyl Rozhko reminded that until 2014 every museum registered cultural heritage objects in paper format. Thus their exact number is still unknown.