Irina Antonova (b. 1922) has been the head of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts since 1961.
and Irina Antonova has been awarded an Honorary Member of the International Council of Museums, an Academician of the Russian Academy of Education and (без the) Russian Academy of Arts due to her outstanding achievements as a museum director and a public figure. She is also a holder of Honorary Doctorate of the Russian State University for Humanities. Irina Antonova is an Honored Promoter of Arts of the Russian Federation.
Along with her academic achievements, Irina Antonova has been awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour, the Order of the October Revolution, the Order of Friendship of the Peoples and the Order of Services to the Motherland Classes I, II and III. She has also been awarded the Order of the Légion d'honneur of the French Republic (Commander) and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Commander).
The program, celebrating the centenary anniversary of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was orchestrated by Irina Antonova and sponsored by the Russian Federation Government.
Irina Antonova initiated the general concept for the development of the Museum and the creation of "Museum Town", where Sir Norman Foster of Great Britain, one of the world's leading architects, is involved in a reconstruction project.
Upon the initiative of Director Antonova, a number of comprehensive catalogues for the Museum's collections have been published in recent years (such as "German Drawings", "French Drawings" and "Coptic Textiles") and several large-scale exhibitions have been organized: "Encounter with Modigliani" (2007), "Turner 1775-1851" (2008), "Futurism - a Radical Revolution: Italy-Russia – to mark the Centenary of an Artistic Movement" (2008) and "Picasso" exhibition (2010).
Irina Antonova's distinguished reputation in the international museum community has made it possible for unique masterpieces from the world’s leading art collections, which are only allowed abroad on extremely rare occasions, to be displayed in the Pushkin Museum for the general public in Russia. Amongst these were Parmigianino's Antea (Capodimonte Museum, Naples, 2007), Mantegna's Holy Family (State Art Collections, Dresden, 2009), Titian's Portrait of an Unknown Man (or the Man with Grey Eyes – Palatine Gallery, Florence, 2008).