Although MPGU is not an art university, it has a unique collection of works of Russian and foreign art of XVIII – the first half of the XX centuries. Some works date back to the XVIII century. The collection was founded by V.Potyomkin (1874-1946), the first director of Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of RSFSR, and named after him later. The collection was given as a gift to MPGU in the 1960s. It reflects not only the founders’ artistic preferences, but also the political situation in the USSR in the 1930s and 1940s.
The pride of the collection is a number of works by famous Russian artists — Repin, Serov, Korovin, Bilibin, P. Klodt, M. Klodt, Lermitt and others. The collection also has two bronze sculptures made by foreign artists: «Bather», made by E. Falkon and an Italian copy of the Roman statue «Resting Hermes».