The National Museum of Art of Ukraine is the oldest museum in Kyiv, opened in 1899, with the best collection of works of Ukrainian art from the 12th century to the present. The museum was founded through the efforts of Ukrainian intellectuals in the late 19th century as the first public museum in Kiev. The building itself is a monument of art, the work of the famous Kiev architect Vladislav Gorodetsky. The sculptural decoration of the facade was made by Elio Salia. The sculptures of the lions in front of the building have become so iconic that NAMU is often called the Museum of Lions.