A major phenomenon of the cultural life of Russia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was the “Mir iskusstva” (“World of Art”) art association, established in St. Petersburg in 1898. Its organizers and participants were the theatrical figure S. P. Diaghilev, the artists A. N. Benois, K. A. Somov, L. S. Bakst, Ye. Ye. Lanceray, A. Ya. Golovin (invited from Moscow), and also M. V. Dobuzhinsky, N. K. Roerich, Z. Ye. Serebryakova, B. M. Kustodiev and others. The artists of “Mir iskusstva” considered aesthetics a priority in art and strove for modernity and symbolism, opposing the ideas of the Wanderers’ group. Art, in their opinion, should express the personality of the artist. They published their “Mir iskusstva” art magazine.
A. N. Benois was the brightest representative of the “Mir iskusstva.” Through all of Benois’ art there are two themes - Versailles and St. Petersburg with its suburbs. Both these themes are represented in the museum by paintings “Versailles. A Pool” and “Oranienbaum. The Menshikov Palace. Pavilion.” They are solved in one color range of greenish-yellow and grayish tones, with a strictly symmetrical composition. 
The museum also exhibits the works of A. N. Benois’ nephew and niece - sister and brother Z. Ye. Serebryakova and Ye. Ye. Lansere. 
The works of the original artist from “Mir iskusstva,” M. A. Somov are characterized by a peculiar manner of interpretation and special themes. His world is a fusion of fiction and historical associations. The painting “In the Woods” presents characters typical for Somov - a lady in the clothes of past centuries and a man in a white wig. The sky, almost covered with clouds, looks alive and natural in the “Cloud” watercolor. 
In 1910 “Mir iskustva” was headed by N. K. Roerich. In the landscapes “Cloud,” “Sign,” “Archaic landscape,” Roerich’s attraction to symbolism is quite definitely felt. These landscapes are deserted. As evidences of a thousand-year history, ancient stone “signs” remain on this earth. The earth keeps the memory of the past. 
At the exhibitions of the “Mir iskustva” in 1913-1915 the works of B. D. Grigoriev caused a keen interest among art critics. In Grigoriev’s paintings and graphics a special type of grotesque emerged as a form of artistic convention - comic in content and decorative in form. In his “grotesques” while interpreting the images, he introduced a touch of irony, which gave his work a big uniqueness, as in the “Village girls” painting. Grigoriev was a virtuoso draftsman and graphic master. In the “Zoo” painting the animals, people and trees are surprisingly look like each other by the bends of their shapes and the stillness of poses. The artist sneers at his “heroes” and at the same time - over the entire world order. 
The painting “Mother and Child” presents the wife of the artist, nursing the baby.
B. M. Kustodiev was one of the most significant painters of the “Mir iskusstva.” Joy and love of life are the main topics that the artist tries to convey in his paintings. The vivid examples of this are the works presented in the museum, such as “The Beauty,” “Summer. A Walk.” With a good-natured smile, the artist watches how a naked, burly beauty puts her foot into a red slipper, giving the viewer an opportunity to admire that scene: the artist watches also a merry walk on horseback in the Russian field under the rainbow. It is hard to believe that these jolly and optimistic paintings were created by a seriously ill artist. For many years, being chained to a wheelchair, Kustodiyev never stopped creating his beautiful paintings. 
One of the most famous theatrical artists of Russia, A. Ya. Golovin, is represented by the landscape “The Blossomed Pond.” This decorative painting is very characteristic for the artist, which covers the surface of the canvas with a green pattern. Golovin, with his landscapes - with their decorative and ornamental character - completely fits into the parameters of the style that in Russia named modernity. 
This hall features also the famous Russian poet and artist, watercolor master M. A. Voloshin, whose work is mainly devoted to the Crimea. His landscape “Crimea. Sudak” is detached from everyday life and deserted. Voloshin’s friend K. F. Bogaevsky also worked all his life in the Crimea, creating his heroic and fantastic paintings, one of which is the work “Crimean Landscape.”