The presentation ceremony of the "Masterpieces of Russian Art" album took place on Wednesday evening at the Russian Embassy in London.
Valentin Rodionov, the general director of the Tretyakov Gallery (the largest museum of Russian art) and one of the authors of the book, told RIA Novosti that the album was published within the framework of The Golden Map of Russia project.
The purpose of the project is to organize exhibits from regional Russian museums in the Tretyakov Gallery. More than 20 exhibits of this kind have already been held and there will be more in the future, Mr. Rodionov said.
"Regional museums display works of art that are of no less quality than pieces in Moscow museums," he said. He underscored that the regional authorities paid more attention to their museums and supported them more if the Tretyakov Gallery was watching them.
"We also try to help them in their activity, in restoring canvases, in making frames and in expertise," Mr. Rodionov added.
"The 516-page album contains about 400 high quality reproductions of the pictures from the Tretyakov Gallery and from 25 other art museums in Russia.
"The book also contains pictures from the museum that do not exist anymore. I am thinking of the art museum that was in the Chechen capital of Grozny and was destroyed in the first Chechen war."
He said that every possible effort would be made to restore the museum.
According to him, the album, which was sponsored by Gazprom, will be sent to regional Russian museums and museums in 40 countries in Europe and America.
"We have already presented 30 copies of the book to the Russian Embassy in Great Britain which will forward them to our British colleagues with whom we are in contact now or will establish contacts in the future," Mr. Rodionov said.
Galina Andreyeva, the head of the perspective projects department of the Tretyakov Gallery, said that in the near future the Tretyakov Gallery would be involved in several international projects.
These projects include the Dyagilev festival in Germany in December 2004 (Sergei Dyagilev was the organizer of the famous Russian art season in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century), as well as the "Russia-Italy. Italy-Russia" and "Moscow-Warsaw. Warsaw-Moscow" projects, scheduled for the fall and winter.
"We are also negotiating with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington about organizing an exhibit of 20th Russian art next year under the title, 'Art without Politics,'" Ms. Andreyeva said.
As was reported earlier, the "Russian Landscape in the Age of Tolstoy" exhibit opened at the National Gallery London on June 23. The exhibit includes 70 paintings by 15 Russian artists from the 19th century - Shishkin, Kuindzhi, Levitan, Venetsianov, Shchedrin, Nesterov, Polenov and others. The pictures are on loan from the largest museums in Russia.
"We hope for good attendance at the exhibit," Mr. Rodionov said.