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Crater nearby and damaged paintings: aftermath of Russian attacks on Odesa Fine Arts Museum

Monday, 6 November 2023, 10:37
Crater nearby and damaged paintings: aftermath of Russian attacks on Odesa Fine Arts Museum
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum

The building of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, which is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was badly damaged as a result of a Russian attack on the night of 5-6 November on Odesa. The missile struck the road right in front of the museum.

The museum had planned to celebrate its 124th anniversary today, but instead the workers have been forced to record the damage and deal with the aftermath of the Russian attack.

"On 6 November, Odesa Fine Art Museum marks its 124th anniversary. It was on the night of 5-6 November that Russian nonentities ‘greeted’ our architectural monument with a missile that hit nearby," said Oleh Kiper, Head of Odesa Oblast Military Administration.

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The missile struck right in front of the museum.
Photo: President’s Office
 
Photo: Bohdan Maksymets

He added that the building’s walls were damaged and the windows were broken. Work is currently underway to examine and record the damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 
Photo: Bohdan Maksymets
 
Photo: Bohdan Maksymets
 
Photo: Bohdan Maksymets
 
Photo: Bohdan Maksymets

The museum itself announced that they had cancelled all festive events and Free Entrance Day, scheduled for the occasion of the museum's birthday. "We are very grateful that there are no casualties and that the community is so united, but there is no need to come to the museum tomorrow because the damage assessment process, determining the consequences of the strike and investigative actions continue, and everything should remain untouched," they said.

 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum

Museum workers also specified that the Odesa Fine Arts Museum was hosting seven exhibitions with works by contemporary artists from private collections.

The exhibitions affected by the Russian attack: 

  • "Sunset Sun/Sol occidens" by Margit and Roman Selsky from the collection of Eduard Dymshits
  • "Flowers behind spoil tips" by Boris Eisenberg
  • Works by Oleksandr Hrekhov
  • "Black Sea" by Stas Zhalobniuk
  • "Joy" by Volodymyr Semkiv
  • "Altar of the Heavenly Army" by Albina Yaloza
  • "Large meadows, abundant grasses" by Kinder Album
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum

Hennadii Trukhanov, Mayor of Odesa, said that the museum could have lost world-famous exhibits. "A few centimetres here, a few there, and we could have lost many of our pieces and exhibits, which are very famous to the whole world. Fortunately, this did not happen," said Trukhanov.

 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum
 
Photo: Odesa Fine Arts Museum

"I think there will be many posts about our museum. Please do not forget to wish it a happy birthday. 124 years. ... There have been different greetings in our life. We did not expect this, although we were preparing for it," wrote Oleksandr Kovalchuk, Deputy Director for Development at the Odesa Fine Arts Museum.

Early reports on damage caused to Odesa Museum 

The Odesa Fine Arts Museum suffered from the aftermath of a missile attack by the Russians on 23 July 2022 for the first time. At that time, employees repaired all the damage and installed protective structures.

The second time it happened was a year later, during massive missile strikes in July 2023. The blast waves knocked out the windows in the museum, broke the сlerestory windows, and caused cracks in the walls.

The damage to the Odesa Fine Arts Museum in July was recorded by UNESCO representatives in the updated list of cultural monuments destroyed by the Russians in Ukraine. In addition to the art museum, the following were added to the list: Odesa Archaeological Museum, Odesa Maritime Museum, Odesa Literary Museum, Church of St. Nicholas, Transfiguration Cathedral, Chyzhevych Residential Building and Solomos Building.

The missile attack on Odesa, which Russia carried out on the night of 24-25 September, again caused fresh damage to the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. Some of the windows and pieces of ceiling were knocked out, and cracks were added to the walls.

On the night of 5-6 November, the Russians attacked Odesa with various types of missiles and attack drones. The missiles hit the city centre and a mothballed industrial building. A blast wave damaged several multi-storey residential buildings and a museum in the historical part of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eight people were injured.

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