The solemn ceremony of stone laying of the Museum took place on August 17, 1898 in the presence of the Emperor Nikolas II and members of the royal family. The Museum was opened on May 31, 1912 as a Museum of Fine Arts named after Emperor Alexander III under the University of Moscow. On May 31, 1923 ceased its subordination to the University. In 1932 was named The State Museum of Fine Arts, in 1937 was named in honour of Alexander Pushkin the great Russian poet. The founder of the Museum and its first Director (1911-1918) was Prof. Ivan Tsvetaev, the head of the Department of Theory and History of Art at the Moscow University, Ph.D. of Roman Arts and Letters. The Museum has been created on the basis of the Cabinet (museum) of Fine Arts and Antiquities of the Moscow University as an educational and public institution where the most important periods of art history from the ancient times to the New Age have been represented: in plaster casts, maquettes, pictorial and galvanic copies, in accordance with the unique scientific program. The Museum became the first institution of this type in Russia. The ideas of founding a Museum of this type in Moscow have been expressed many times in the past: by princess Zinaida Volkonskaja and S.P.Shevyrev (1831), by Prof. K.K.Gerz (1858) by N.V.Issakov, director of the Moscow Public and Rumiantsev Museum (1864). The Tsvetaev's conception has developed the basic ideas of his predecessors. The Museum has been constructed in the centre of the city on the territory of the former Carriage court (Kolymazni) not far from the Kremlin and turned by the Moscow Duma to the University for this purpose in 1895-1898. In 1896 a competition for the best project of the Museum building was announced that attracted 19 architects from a number of cities of Russia. The Board of the University has chosen Roman.J.Klein (1858-1924) a Moscow architect, a competition participant awarded a golden medal. He adopted his final project to the demands of the Board and the Committee on the Construction of the Museum of Fine Arts attached to the Moscow University. The construction of the building answered the latest achievements of the techniques and museum requirements. It has been conceived in the style of an ancient classical temple on the high podium with the Ionic colonnade along the facade. Its splendid interior was executed in the architectural styles of different historical periods corresponding to various collections. Well-know Russian engineers I.I.Rerberg and V.G.Shukhov participated in the construction of the building. The Museum was created mainly with the financial support of the members-founders of the Committee and other donors whose number exceeded 40 people. A.E.Armand, N.P.Bogolepov, S.Mamontov, A.D.Mein, S.T.Morozov, F.O.Shekhtel, A.A. and N.S.Scherbatovs, D.A.Khomjakov, Z.N. and F.F.Yusupovs were among them. Y.S.Netchaev-Maltsov (1834-193) the associate-Chairman of the Committee, an important industrialist, a graduate of the Moscow University, owner of the Gus-Chrustalni glass manufacture, contributed to the construction and acquisition of the collections about 2 million rubles (one third of the total cost of the Museum).
The Solemn ceremony of the inauguration of the Museum of Fine Arts named after Alexander III took place on May 31, 1912. In April 1923 the People's Commissariat on Education adopted a resolution on re-organising the University Museum of Fine Arts by setting up in Moscow a Central Museum of old Western art on the basis of Western European collection of the Moscow Public and Rumjantsev Museum. In 1924 the Museum has adopted paintings from private collections of G.A.Brokard, D.J.Shchukin, from the State Museum fund and a few from Museums of Leningrad. Research work on the collection and organisation carried out by the Museum's staff and its Director N.J.Romanov were unprecedented in scope. On November 10 1924 its first galleries were opened. In the period from 1924 to 1930 a great number of paintings of Western European masters were turned to the Museum from the nationalised Moscow estates, from the History Museum, Icon Museum, Kremlin Museums, Tretiakov Gallery. Several groups of paintings have been received from the Hermitage and the Museum fund of Leningrad. As a result a nucleus of the Picture Gallery of old Western Art has been formed at the Museum. Over one thousand of cuneiform plates and about 3 thousand of other monuments of Ancient East from the former Institute of Classical Oriental studies became part of oriental collection of the Museum. In 1941-44 the greater part of the Museum funds were evacuated to Novosibirsk and Solikamsk. In 1944 reconstruction of the Museum's building that suffered from the bombing has started. And work on the exposition commenced under the guidance of its Director Sculptor S.D.Merkurov, the deputy Director Prof. B.R.Wipper and the Head Curator A.A.Gouber. Aquisition work and educational activities have been renewed, as have archeological excavations held by the Museum's stuff in Crimea and Taman since 1927. In 1948 when the Museum of Modern Western Art was closed and its collection was divided between Moscow and Leningrad the Museum has acquired 300 paintings and over 60 sculptures of Western-European and American masters of the second half of the XIX and the early XX centuries, mainly the works of French Impressionists and postimpressionists from the collections of two Moscow collectors Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov, a large selection of graphic art and their archive. This acquisition changed the Museum of Fine Arts' orientation completely having extended the parameters of the collection chronologically right up to the present time and bringing the Museum a new fame. At present the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts constitutes more then 500.000 works of art paintings and sculptures, graphic art, decorative art, archaeological monuments and numismatic items,photography.