bukhara artIn the south-west corner of former Frunze square lies the first tsarist Central Asian Bank (1912) in Bukhara, designed by the same architects as the Emir’s Summer Palace. The bank became the Bukhara State Museum of Art a decade later, and slowly took on an artistic focus, with works by native Bukharans and painters from other parts of the Soviet Union who spent formative years here.

Among the most evocative works in Bukhara State Museum of Art are those by Pavel Benkov (1888-1949), who painted in Bukhara from 1928-1930, and a series of local artisan portraits by Michael Kurzin (1888-1957), a native of Siberia’s Altai region who spent much of the 1940s here, often painting on disused cardboard when materials grew short. The most famous picture in Bukhara State Museum of Art, ‘The Fall of the Bukharan Emirate’, depicts a cowering procession of rich merchants and beys in front of the ‘victorious masses’, and took Tashkent artist Ruzi Chariev ten years to complete (1964). It’s currently on loan to Tashkent.

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