Guardians, Photos of Women Quietly Guarding Art at Russian Museums

Statues of Antonius Pius, Youth and Caryatid, Hermitage 2008

Guardians is a project by photographer Andy Freeberg that shows women quietly guarding art at Russian galleries and museums in a collection of photographs. According to My Modern Metropolis, in Russia, gallery guards are not required to wear uniforms and “choose to work in the galleries and guard the collections because they enjoy being surrounded by Russia’s great art.” A book has been authored by Freeberg of this project, it’s also titled Guardians and is available to purchase online.

Freeberg’s statement on Guardians:

In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.

Stroganov Palace

Pushkin Museum


New Tretyakov Gallery


photos by Andy Freeberg

via My Modern Metropolis