The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost - VIDEO Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 3 minutes, 13 seconds Topic: Exhibitions
Note: I apologize about the advertisement that precedes the video, unfortunately, I have no control over the ads from other media sources - PG
The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost, is an exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty,and is open now through March 2014 at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dr. Maria Zavialova, Curator, joined KARE 11 News at 4 to talk more about this unique collection.
In 1613, a 16-year-old Michael Romanov was elected Tsar of Russia, inaugurating a 300-year dynasty. This exhibition provides an overview of the three centuries of Romanov rule, focusing on the tragic end of the dynasty in 1917-1918 and the dispersal of the remaining family members and their treasures after the Bolshevik revolution.
The events that led to the collapse of imperial rule in Russia are well known, but what happened to their scattered property after the Bolsheviks seized power is a story still being unearthed. This exhibition explores the multifaceted history of the dynasty and its afterlife through a variety of media, including historically significant objects, photographs, paintings, works on paper, books, icons, porcelains, textiles and more.
The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost will feature loans from more than 15 museums, libraries and private collections. Many of the objects will be exhibited for the first time.
For more information on this exhibition, please refer to the following link;
The Romanovs Created the Russian Empire Topic: 400th Anniversary
Last week, the Secretary of the St. Petersburg regional branch of the United Russia Party, and Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Vyacheslav Makarov, opened an international conference on the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov.
"The history of Russia is a combination of great victories and achievements, but also one of heavy defeats," - said Vyacheslav Makarov at the opening of the conference - "As we mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, we are reminded of the role in which monarchy and the dynasty have played in the history of both Europe and Russia. The Romanov Dynasty strengthened the Russian empire, and did everything to ensure that the country prospered, including the expansion of of the empire, and occupying one of the most important places in the world. At the same time - and most importantly, preserving their identity. The Romanovs created the Russian Empire."
Choosing the Mariinsky Palace as the venue for the conference was symbolic: it was built on the orders of Emperor Nicholas I, as a present to his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia on the occasion of her marriage to Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Eugène de Beauharnais's son. The palace later hosted meetings of the State Council of the Russian Empire under the chairmanship of Emperor Alexander III, and later his son, Emperor Nicholas II took place in the rotunda of the palace from the 1890s to the end of the Russian monarchy in 1917.
"The history of the Romanovs - is the story of a large country," - said Kichedzhi - "Our city served as the capital of the Empire for more than 200 years, and today is considered one of the finest cities in the world, both that of a European city, and a stronghold of a great Russia."
The Romanov dynasty determined the development of the country for more than three centuries. "It is important to understand this unique historical experience and appreciate the contribution that the dynasty contributed to the development of Russian statehood. The conference also discussed the development of the relationship between the European and Russian ruling dynasties, as well as the role of dynastic rule to statehood.
The Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family Topic: Royal Russia
The Farm Palace and the Gothic Chapel at Peterhof grace the cover of our 2014 calendar
Royal Russia's 2014 calendar, The Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family, is now in stock. The 2013 calendar (of the same title) was so popular that we decided to issue another calendar for 2014, offering more palaces, residences and dachas of the Romanov's.
More than a dozen palaces and residences are featured in the 2014 calendar, including the Farm Palace at Peterhof, the Petrovski Palace at Moscow and the lesser known palaces of the Grand Dukes in the Crimea and Krasnoye Selo. The calendar features more than 30 rare vintage photographs of these Romanov residences, including images of their historical interiors, and information on the history and fate of each.
Each year since 2009, Royal Russia has issued a beautiful calendar. The entire proceeds from the sale of these calendars help offset the costs of maintaining the Royal Russia web site and blog, and assist with translation costs and much more.
Also, for the second year in a row, a portion from the sale of each calendar will be donated to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve and the Peterhof State Museum Preserve. These donations go towards restoration work and the acquisition of items for the palace-museum collections. Royal Russia is very proud to have an opportunity to make at least a small contribution to each palace-museum. What an honour to be able to give something back to Russia!
The Romanov Legacy 2014 Calendar is available from our online bookshop for $10.00 + postage. They have become collector's items for Romanovphiles and make perfect gifts for friends and family who have an interest in the Romanov's and their legacy.
For more information on the contents of this calendar, or to place an order, please click on the following link;
Romanov Treasures a Dazzling Success at Geneva Auction Topic: Auctions
Dazzling success for the fourth Russian Art sale at Geneva’s Hôtel des Ventes. Bidders from Europe, the United States and Russia gathered in the saleroom and busied the telephones all to take part in this exceptional auction presenting many objects of global importance. The total sale result surpassed *CHF 3.8 million, constituting a record result for a Russian Art sale at Hôtel des Ventes. *Prices quoted in this article are in CHF (Swiss Francs)
It was in the midst of a full and captive saleroom that the fierce battle ensued between multiple bidders seated around the room and on the telephones resulting in 100% of the letters from Tsars Nicholas I, Alexander II and their families being sold for a total of CHF 743,000 ($830,000). Almost the entire collection of 230 letters (pictured above) was sold to a Swiss Russophile collector, the same person who acquired the majority of the photographs from the Thormeyer collection in 2011 and who has a connection to Russian museums. The atmosphere was electric in particular for lots 83 and 84 which sold for CHF 243,000 and CHF 170,000, establishing world records for letters from Tsar Nicholas I at more than CHF 12,000 per letter. A record was also set for three letters from Tsar Alexander II that sold for near CHF 16,000 (lot 76). The letters belonged to the widow of an American Captain who obtained them in Europe and brought them back after Second World War having been deployed there for The Stars and Stripes newspaper. The vendor selected Hôtel des Ventes in Geneva for the sale of this piece of Russian history after having consulted with other auction houses in New York, London and Paris.
The Russian works of art also attracted many international bidders. The exceptional pair of Imperial Porcelain Manufactory vases (top photo) from Saint Petersburg was sold for CHF 1.58 million (lot 240). The vases were an imperial gift from Tsar Nicholas I to his sister-in-law Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna for Christmas in 1849. The provenance and authenticity were confirmed by the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Having remained in the same family for 210 years, the gold snuffbox (below) by master maker Keibel of Saint Petersburg weighing 250g and set with 37 diamonds changed hands for CHF 522,000, setting a new world record for a Russian snuffbox from this period (lot 176). This unique box was given to Prince Comuto by Tsar Alexander I on 7th December 1803 for his appointment as Prince and Governor of the Septinsular Republic (Greece). The auction of these two spectacular pieces aroused great enthusiasm with the public who broke out in applause after the hammer fell on each lot.
Bernard Piguet, CEO and Chief Auctioneer at Hôtel des Ventes, is delighted with the results and underlines: "The auctioning of objects of such high quality that come from private collections and appear on the market for the first time always sparks off enormous excitement amongst collectors. It is not surprising they reached record sale prices as they were indeed exclusive and merited a certain level of attention".
Lot 92 consisting of 33 photographs (below) was withdrawn from the auction following a provisional judicial order from Geneva authorities after a request by the Russian Consulate. Their sale has been suspended until such time as the exact provenance can be established.
Private Letters of the Russian Imperial Family Sell in Geneva Topic: Auctions
A trove of letters from Russian royals revealing secrets of state and bedchamber and voicing scorn for the "hypocrisy" of Victorian court life in Britain drew big money, including some from Moscow, at a Geneva auction.
Written in Russian and French by two 19th-century tsars, an empress and a pride of grand duchesses, the 230 letters were found in a Massachusetts attic in the 1990s, and experts say they open a window into hidden corners of a long-vanished world.
In one, Tsar Alexander II tells his sister Olga, wife of the crown prince of the German Kingdom of Württemberg, that despite pressure he would not bring Russia into a short war setting Austria against France and Sardinia in 1859.
He adds: "Keep it to yourself."
In another, he recounts the problems caused for the straight laced royal family in St. Petersburg by a wild affair and subsequent secret marriage between their sister Maria and a low-ranking Russian count.
Almost the entire package of letters, sold Monday at Geneva's Hotel des Ventes auction rooms in 12 lots, are addressed to Olga — who married her German prince in 1846 and later became queen when he succeeded to the throne of the small Rhineland state.
The whole batch fetched more than 743,000 Swiss francs ($830,000) — a large sum for documents of this type — amid heavy bidding at the crowded auction room, with unidentified Russians bidding on the spot and by telephone.
Several letters from Olga's niece, another Maria, reveal antagonism between the Russian grand duchess — as daughters of the tsar were known — and her mother-in-law after she married Alfred, son of Britain's Queen Victoria.
Maria, who held the title of Duchess of Edinburgh and lived until 1920, writes in 1878 of the "hateful slander" spread around the British court about her often-absent husband and of the queen's own "authoritarianism" and coldness.
She also reveals her anger when she discovered that morals around the tsarist court were not so different from those in the hated entourage of Victoria. She tells her aunt of her bitterness at discovering, after her mother died, that her much-loved father had had a series of mistresses and a number of illegitimate children.
Hotel des Ventes director Bernard Piguet says the letters were sent for Monday's sale, which included jewellery, paintings and vases from tsarist times, by the widow of a U.S. army captain who brought them home from Germany in 1947.
He said there was no indication of how the officer, who also worked as a journalist for the U.S. forces Stars and Stripes newspaper, came by them. But they had been authenticated by specialists.
"I think they are a real treasure for anyone interested in Russia's cultural heritage," he told reporters. The American widow and her family did not want their names revealed.
Piguet's auction house has earned a name for Russian sales since he took over what was a declining business in 2005. Last December, it sold four letters written during World War I by Tsar Nikolai II for a Swiss record of nearly $125,000.
And in 2010, it sold a huge batch of letters written by the doomed Nikolai's brothers and sisters over several decades to a Swiss tutor of the imperial children in the last 15 years of the 19th century.
14 Romanov Statues Planned for St. Petersburg Park Topic: Romanov
Zurab Tsereteli is preparing a special gift for Russia’s northern capital. Fourteen bronze sculptures by the famed Russian sculptor depicting the sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty, will be erected in the 300th Anniversary Park in St. Petersburg.
Russian Minister of Culture, Vladimir Medina presented drafts of the monuments at the International Cultural Forum, which was recently held in St. Petersburg. Tsereteli’s idea is to create a Walk of Fame, or “Romanov Alley” began some 35 years ago.
The 14 monuments will begin with Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich (ruled 1613-1645), and end with Tsar Nicholas II (ruled 1894-1917). Each monument will be cast in bronze, and stand from three to six meters in height.
The 300th Anniversary Park is located in north-western St. Petersburg. It was founded in 1995, and by 2003 it offered a beautiful landscaped green space, which included fountains and hundreds of trees.
Zurab Tsereteli has created numerous statues dedicated to the Romanov dynasty. One of the most controversial is a monument to Peter the Great in Moscow. His museum in Moscow is home to other Romanov monuments, including the thought provoking Night at the Ipatiev House.
State Hermitage Museum Marks 249th Birthday Topic: State Hermitage Museum
The birthday of the State Hermitage is marked each year on December 7. The museum, Russia’s largest and also one of the largest in the world, first began to develop in 1764 as the private art collection of Empress Catherine II with the purchase of Johann Ernest Gotzkowski’s collection. In 1852, after the collection had grown to an enormous size and taken on a distinct style, it was decided to open the Imperial Hermitage to visitors.
Immediately after the Revolution of 1917 the Imperial Hermitage and Winter Palace, former Imperial residence, were proclaimed state museums and eventually merged. The range of the Hermitage's exhibits was further expanded when private art collections from several palaces of the Russian Tsars and numerous private mansions were nationalized and redistributed among major Soviet state museums. Particularly notable was the influx of old masters from the Catherine Palace, the Alexander Palace, the Stroganov Palace and the Yusupov Palace as well as from other palaces of Saint Petersburg and suburbs.
However, in the 1930s the museum fell on hard times as the Soviet authorities saw the museum’s treasures as a means to filling state coffers. The Soviet sale of Hermitage paintings resulted in the departure of some of the most valuable paintings from the collection to Western museums. Several of the paintings had been in the Hermitage Collection since its creation by Empress Catherine the Great. In total 2880 paintings were sold, including about 350 major works of art, such as masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael, and other important artists. Andrew Mellon donated the 21 paintings he purchased from the Hermitage to the United States Government in 1937. They became the nucleus of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Today the museum boasts a collection of approximately 3 million works of art, from the Stone Age to the 20th century. In 2014 the Hermitage will be celebrating its 250th jubilee, and the festivities will be linked to the III International Cultural Forum, which will take place in St. Petersburg during the first week of December next year.
Stolypin: Reformist Ahead of His Time Topic: Stolypin, Pyotr
The following article was originally published in the December 7th, 2013 edition of Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Yan Shenkman owns the copyright presented below. It is important to note that the opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Royal Russia, nor do they reflect my own personal opinions. For instance, Shenkman notes that Stolypin could have turned Russia into a "European country," an idea of which I am completely opposed to -- Paul Gilbert
The whole country reviled Pyotr Stolypin. But it was he who could have turned Russia into a European country and prevented many of the disasters of 20th century Russia.
Pyotr Stolypin (1862-1911), a reformist who served as prime minister in tsarist Russia, was a true European. He was born in Dresden, Germany, lived in Lithuania and holidayed in Switzerland.
He was a tall, handsome man, very hardworking; he slept just four hours a day. Stolypin was popular with women but was a faithful husband, and father to five daughters and a son.
At the time of the 1905 revolution, he was the governor of Saratov Region. Stolypin inspected rebellious areas unarmed and without bodyguards. During one of these trips, somebody dropped a bomb under his feet. There were casualties, but Stolypin survived.
Two photographs from that time remain: One shows mutinous peasants threatening the governor with fists and sticks; the other, the very same peasants, on their knees, asking his forgiveness.
The tsar appointed him first interior minister and then prime minister. He was the only man in the then government who could cope with running the country, and the tsar was a weak man.
Officials had only their own interests at heart, while politicians in the parliament spent their time in heated debates as to what needed to be done but were unable to actually do anything.
In the meantime, the situation in the country was extremely difficult. Russia had just suffered a humiliating defeat in the war with Japan. One political crisis came after another. There were arson attacks and rioting in the cities. Various terrorist groups were engaged in a so-called dynamite war, carrying out bomb attacks targeting senior officials.
Stolypin's country house was nearly destroyed in one such attack. His daughters were wounded, and some 30 people from among the guests and the servants were killed.
The explosion was so big that the windows in a house across the river from Stolypin's were smashed. When the tsar offered Stolypin money for his daughters' treatment, he replied, "Your majesty, my children's blood is not for sale."
Stolypin began his work as prime minister with introducing court-martials and announcing an agrarian reform. The latter meant that he gave land to the peasants.
That was the promise that Lenin gave to the people in 1917, except that Lenin never kept it, whereas Stolypin did. He realized that if peasants were turned into private owners, it would reduce the risk of a revolution.
Emperor Nicholas II and his family are greeted by Pyotr Stolypin at Kiev on 29 August, 1911
Stolypin relied on economic liberalism and a strong power. Many years later Pinochet did a similar thing in Chile. Having grasped the essence of Stolypin's reforms, German Kaiser Wilhelm II said that it was necessary to start a war with Russia as soon as possible; otherwise it would be impossible to defeat it.
Stolypin's reform was supposed to give peasants what the end of serfdom in 1861 had failed to give. Back then peasants were liberated from serfdom but were not given any land.
They became free but they did not become landowners. Stolypin wanted to turn Russia from a country of communes into a country of farmers.
Like the United States, the Baltic countries, and almost all Western countries, the farmer was the basis of the country's agriculture. One of Stolypin's assistants wrote at the time that "Russia's tragedy consists in that the issue of land-tenure regulations was not addressed right after the Liberation…
Western Europe has managed to (and will continue to) avoid bolshevism precisely because land relations and regulations for a French, German, English, or an Italian farmer have long been settled."
But the time was lost. The public was vehemently opposed to the reform. Leo Tolstoy was particularly indignant. He wrote to Stolypin directly and said, "Stop your horrible activity! Enough of looking up to Europe, it is high time Russia knew its own mind!"
That was the argument that Tolstoy often had with Dostoyevsky, who was in favor of private ownership of land. Dostoyevsky wrote: "If you want to transform humanity for the better, to turn almost beasts into humans, give them land and you will reach your goal."
Transformation for the better involved a lot of blood. More than 1,000 terrorists were executed by Stolypin's court-martials. In one of his interviews, Stolypin said: "I have grabbed the revolution by the neck and I will strangle it, if I myself remain alive."
The reform was stalling. The landed gentry were worried for their estates. Socialists realized that if the reform succeeded, they would lose the support of the people. And the people themselves were not particularly eager to become landowners.
New owners had to be transported to their land by force in what became known as Stolypin cars. Yet the reform did manage to produce some results. Before the First World War, Russia was a prosperous country, judging by all economic indicators.
However, Stolypin did not live to see it. Everybody knew that he would be assassinated, including he himself and the security services. The attack took place at the theatre in Kiev, at a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan."
After the famous "Flight of the Bumblebee," a young man approached Stolypin and shot him twice. Stolypin unbuttoned his jacket soaked in blood, sank into his chair and said, "I am happy to die for the tsar!" Interestingly, the tsar was present at the opera, but the attacker targeted Stolypin rather than him, since Stolypin was more dangerous.
The assassin, whose name was Dmitry Bogrov, was a revolutionary and at the same time, an undercover agent for the security services. He was soon tried and hanged.
It is still not quite clear who was behind the assassination. But one thing is clear: Stolypin was hated by everybody — the authorities and the people alike, the whole of the country whom he desperately tried to drag into the 20th century.
The World of Russian Nobility: Under the Family Coat of Arms and the Imperial Eagle Topic: Exhibitions
A new exhibition, The World of Russian Nobility: Under the Family Coat of Arms and the Imperial Eagle has opened in the Nicholas Hall of the Yusupov Palace on the Moika in St. Petersburg.
The exhibition, a joint project between the Yusupov Palace and the State Hermitage Museum is devoted to Russian titled nobility, its history, government service to Russia, ceremonials, insignia and distinction. It presents nearly 300 unique items related to the national heraldry - state, military and family from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Many items in the exhibit are on display to the public for the first time.
Vintage portraits, personal seals with the coat of arms, medals and tokens, rare books and weapons, works of glass, china, jewellery, historical costumes from the collection of the State Hermitage reveal new details of the valiant service to the Fatherland, from the finest representatives of the noble families of the Russian Empire - Yusupovs, Sheremetevs, Stroganovs, and Golitsyns.
The exhibition presents objects connected with the official life of these families at the imperial court and in the Guard, including uniforms and costumes attributes court officials, the standards, military equipment and uniforms, awards, etc. Also presented are unique personal items used in the private day-today lives of the noble families of Russia.
Noble families for centuries maintained attributes, emphasizing the importance of their birth and the height of social status, often placing their insignia on personal items.
The family coat of arms and monogram under the crown decorated the facades of mansions and palaces, interiors, furniture, porcelain, objects of decoration and modes of transport, demonstrating the high social status of the owner. Special stamps were made bearing the coat of arms, and used for labelling envelopes, plus personal and business letters. Heraldic symbols accompanied accessories and social life - used for decorating watches, snuff boxes, fans, handkerchiefs, wedding bags, letter pads and other personal belongings.
The World of Russian Nobility: Under the Family Coat of Arms and the Imperial Eagle exhibit, promises to be a vivid and memorable event in the cultural life of Saint Petersburg. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, and runs from December 3, 2013 to March 30, 2014.