Kazan has long been one of the oldest cultural centers of the country. Significant role in the formation and the formation of scientific and artistic traditions played Kazan University, opened in 1804. Within its walls were taught artists who have received professional training at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, in Arzamas School of Painting A.V.Stupina and other educational institutions.
The history dates back to 1895, when a collection of paintings, drawings and prints collected Kazan archeologists and historians AF Likhachev (1832-1890). He transferred all after his death to the city - by his brother, vice-admiral of the Russian fleet IF Likhachev.
The museum added a large collection of paintings belonging O.S.Aleksandrovoy-Gaines, heiress Kazan tea merchant. It was more than 50 works by artists of Russian realistic school of the second half of the XIX century genre paintings P.O.Kovalevskogo, K.A.Trutovskogo, V.E.Makovskogo, landscapes A.V.Gine, LF Lagorio, Shishkin. In addition, most portraits of Olga and her husband - the Governor-General of Kazan AK Gaines started IE Repin.
In the early 1940s, a collection of art galleries increased again. It has joined a collection of works from the museum Kazan art school, which consists of the gifts of the Academy of Arts of the Kazan school works and school administrators and students. A significant part of the collection consists of works of graphic PA Shillingovsky, A.P.Ostorumovoy-Lebedeva, PV Kuznetsova, D.D.Shterenberga and others. At the initiative of the employee PE Kornilov at the gallery was created by the Cabinet of prints.
In 1967, the museum moved into a magnificent mansion in the center of the city, which until the revolution of 1917 the residence of the commander of the Kazan Military District.
At the moment, the collection of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, has more than twenty-five thousand exhibits.