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Sevastyanov was a statesman and collector. Many valuable icons and rare manuscripts occupying special places in museums and libraries of our country come from his collection.

Pyotr Ivanovich Sevastyanov was a merchant’s son. Having graduated from the Law Faculty of the Moscow University, he served in the Ministry of Justice, in the Ministry of War and in the Ministry of Education. But his passion was the culture of the Christian East, most especially Byzantine, and he dedicated all his life to studying and collecting it.

In 1865, not long before his death, Pyotr Sevastyanov dedicated his collection to the Rumyantsev Museum. It counted around 20,000 items, including Greek manuscripts of 4th–17th centuries, manuscripts in Latin, in Slavic and Eastern languages, icons (wooden, carved on bone, enamel, silver), carved crosses made in Russia (14th–18th centuries), small objects of carved bone and wood, clay objects, glassware, sculptured fragments of Christian monuments, church vessels, enamel from Limoges and of other origins.

When Rumyantsev Museum was closed in 1924, Sevastyanov collection was distributed between different museums, and its parts are now being preserved in the State Historical Museum, the Russian State Library, the State Hermitage Museum, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, the Russian National Library and the Academy of Arts.

Among other things, Sevastyanov collected graphic art linked with Christian history. In his collection there were excellent prints of Dürer’s woodcuts which now make part of the Department of Graphic Art of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum.

Lugt markThe history of these sheets permits to trace the links between Pyotr Sevastyanov and other collectors of graphic arts, notably Nikolay Mosolov and Nikolay Basnin. All these Dürer’s sheets entered the Rumyantsev Museum and later the Museum of Fine Arts not directly from the Sevastyanov collection, but through the collections of Mosolov and Basnin.