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The collection of Nikolay Mosolov is one of the most important among those that became the core of the Print Cabinet of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art.

He was not one of those collectors, very numerous in the second half of 19th – beginning of 20th century, for whom collecting the objects of art was an unexpected passion. The Mosolov collection started already in 18th century, founded by rich and noble brothers Nikolay and Fyodor Mosolov, who lived in the time of Catherine the Great. Fyodor had a gallery of paintings in St. Petersburg, and Nikolay in his estate.

Semyon Nikolayevich (1812–1880), son of Nikolay Mosolov the Elder and father of Nikolay Mosolov the Younger, was not only a collector, but a painter and even an etcher himself. An amateur artist and an outstanding collector, Semyon Mosolov was made a free honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts and was elected a member of the Moscow Society of Art Lovers. His son Nikolay Mosolov the Younger started to paint and etch when he was fourteen, copying Rembrandt’s etchings. He created at least 362 plates.

Lugt markStill, Nikolay Mosolov played a much more important role as collector than as artist. Having inherited his father’s collection in 1880, he decided to orient it towards Dutch school and put together a collection of Rembrandt’s prints, unique for Russia. Almost all the sheets of other schools (among them many old German master prints) were exchanged or given to his friends and, partly, to the Rumyantsev Museum, with which Nikolay Mosolov has always had close relations. In 1884, he became an honorary member of the Museum, later a member of its Council and, when the Society of Friends of the Rumyantsev Museum was created, he became one of its founding members. Every year he made the donations to the Museum: books from his library, drawings and prints. He bequeathed all his collections to the Rumyantsev Museum. Besides graphic art, Mosolov’s collection included paintings, Chinese and Japanese bronzes, netsuke and some European bronze sculptures.