The exhibition's title - "Archaeology of War: The Return From Oblivion" - hints at the Russian pride that has been an undercurrent of the anniversary commemoration this year. For all the flaws of the Soviet Union, the thinking goes, its victory over Nazi Germany was an unassailable achievement.
The museum's curators and two dozen restorers spent five and a half years doing an inventory and restoring the works, which were salvaged from the ruins of a bunker near the Tiergarten in Berlin. (Which side destroyed the bunker is a matter of dispute; the museum says it was German troops, while German officials say records suggest that the cache was intact when Soviet troops arrived.)
After the war, the art spent decades in boxes, mixed with ash and soot, in storage in Sergiyev Posad, a city north of Moscow. "Most of the objects were picked up with shovels," said Lyudmila Akimova, the exhibition's curator and head of the museum's department of antique art and archeology. "They were mixed with dirt and covered with tar. Whatever we managed to restore to this date, we included in the exhibition. There is still more work to do."
Much of the pottery, for example, had been reduced to shards that restorers pieced together, in some cases incompletely. A Greek red-figure vase from 470 B.C., depicting the murder of Aegisthus by Agamemnon's children, Orestes and Electra, has regained its form, though significant gaps had to be patched.
A stunning bronze sculpture, the Zeus of Dodon, made in the fourth century B.C. and just 30 centimeters, or 12 inches tall, had been badly charred by flames, Akimova said.
While restoration may have brought the works back from oblivion, their provenance is not nearly so obscure. Virtually all the works once belonged to Germany's state museums in Berlin. Akimova said that research had traced some of the works to specific collections amassed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that several of them were well known to art historians.
"I feel joy, of course, that these objects are back in the world," she said, showing visitors around the exhibition's three halls the other day.
And what about all that stuff Schliemann found?
The most famous is a collection of gold known as Priam's Treasure, which was recovered by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1873 in what he believed to be ancient Troy. The Pushkin displayed the treasures in 1996 and has since dropped any question of its return.
The gold is back in storage.