Russian President Visits Tomb of Emperor Alexander II Topic: Alexander II
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev lays flowers at the tomb of Russian Tsar Alexander II, who died on March 1, 1881, in the Peter and Paul Cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday sought to portray himself as a modern successor to reforming Tsar Alexander II as Russia marked 150 years since his historic decree to emancipate the serfs.
His comments marked a new stage in official recognition for the achievements of the Romanov dynasty which was ousted in the 1917 Russian Revolution but has gradually been rehabilitated under Russia's modern rulers.
Priests Reprint Tsarist-Era Censored Pushkin Tale Topic: Pushkin
A classic Alexander Pushkin fairy tale ridiculing a priest was reprinted by Krasnodar region church officials in a Tsarist-era censored version that replaces the clergyman with a merchant.
The idea was pitched by Russian Orthodox priest Pavel Kalinin from the local town of Armavir, who has obtained an old censored edition of the tale, the regional news web site 93.ru reported Monday.
The book, which has print run of some 3,000 copies, was blessed by the region's bishop and recommended for use in Sunday schools, the report said.
The rhymed story, a staple of Russian children's literature, is called "The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda" and tells of a niggardly priest who hires a man ready to work for the price of three blows to the employer's head. Later realizing how strong the worker is, the priest gives him difficult tasks to accomplish, but Balda fulfills them all and punishes the employer by making him lose his mind from the blows.
The censored story, which delivers a moral lesson about greed instead of satirizing the clergy, better highlights Pushkin's original intent, the publisher was quoted as saying. A dean of the Armavir church behind the project said the censored version is better because it has no "godless mockery of the clergy."
The tale was not published during Pushkin's lifetime, and the first publisher, poet Vasily Zhukovsky, opted in 1840 to replace the priest with a merchant to spare Pushkin's heirs problems with the authorities. The uncensored version was not published until 1882.
Russian Silver Casket Sells for Over $250,000 Topic: Antiques
Excitement was in the air at Weschler’s February 12th auction of European & American Furniture and Decorations including Asian Works of Art when a Russian silver gilt cloisonné and en-plein enamel casket went on the auction block. The casket, made by Antip Ivanovich Kuzmichev, Moscow, 1896-1908, garnered a lot of attention prior to the auction and once bidding began the casket soared past its estimate of $30,000-$50,000 and sold to an overseas phone bidder for $256,750.
Archive for Materials Relating to Russian Emigres Opens in Paris
A new centre for the storing of historical documents relating to the emigration of Russians to France in the years following the 1917 revolution opened on 24 September, in the Parisian suburban town of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. The cemetery of the town, which is located at a distance of 23 kilometres from the centre of Paris, contains the graves of members of the Russian Imperial family, as well as many famous Russian writers and artists. The Russian government took an active role in creating the new archive and memorial-research centre, which has been laid out on the territory of the Maison Russe.
Russian financing has ensured the documents are kept in top condition, and the staff at Maison Russe will help academics access material necessary for their research.
Maison Russe director Jean de Boyer expressed his sincere thanks to the Russian president for supporting the project. Russian Ambassador Alexander Orlov noted the huge cultural and intellectual contribution the Russian emigres made to the life of their new adopted homelands, and especially to France. He also thanked the Paris authorities for helping to keep this memory alive. "The Maison Russe is a testament to the dreams of those, who always dreamt of going home, but never could", he said.
A memorial plaque in honour of the founder of the Maison Russe, Princess Mescherskaya, was also unveiled today.
The Palace Grenadiers Company, was a special honour military unit under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Imperial Court. The company was established by Emperor Nicholas I in 1827 and staffed with enlisted guards who had distinguished themselves in the course of the Patriotic War of 1812 (120 men, including 69 recipients of the Order of St. George). The company was later expanded with veteran guards (also by army veterans from 1900) who had served exceptionally for no less than 20 years and gained special honours in wars. The officers’ staff of the company could include only those promoted from the lower ranks and awarded with the Soldiers' Cross of St. George.
The Palace Grenadiers were unofficially known as the "Golden company" for their rich and ornate red and gold coloured uniforms. Their bearskin hats were similar to those of Napoleon I’s grenadiers and looked somewhat exotic in Russia. Gold braids were widely used even on their belts in red and gold. Their regimental holiday was marked on 19 December (O.S. 6 December), day of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker.
The Palace Grenadiers Company performed the most exclusive honour guard duties at the Imperial residences, including escorting the Emperor during major state ceremonies and standing guard over monuments to the Patriotic War of 1812. The company was disbanded in 1917. Its quarters were located in the Winter Palace, at the Guards Corps headquarters at 33 Millionnaya Street, among other locations.
The large-scale exhibition of the masterpieces manufactured by Wedgwood, a legendary British company, opens on 15 November in halls of the All-Russia Decorative Art Museum. The exhibition is a part of official program of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. The White Hall of the museum with the floor area of more than six hundred square meters will present artworks from the Lady Lever Collection (Liverpool) which never travelled abroad before, and unique and rare exhibits from collections of the State Hermitage, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. S. Pushkin, palace museums of Moscow and St. Petersburg suburbs (Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Peterhof, Ostankino, Kuskovo, Kolomenskoye estates). The main idea of this display is to show the impressive experience of Josiah Wedgwood, to illustrate the importance of innovative thinking in spheres of art, science and entrepreneurship. Visitors of the exhibition will be able to see original objects of impeccable taste, high quality, elegance and style produced by the Wedgwood Company which will be displayed in Moscow for the first time.
The exhibition will put together more than three hundred objects of highest esthetical value: jewelry, furniture pieces, costumes, works of painting and graphics from the XVIII – XIX cc. Among the unique exhibits of the display the visitors will discover one of the three marble fireplaces with Flaxman blue jasper plaquettes in its original form, porcelain plates with paintings by animalist George Stubbs, two oval medallions with portraits of Catherine II and Peter I (the unique nature of these porcelain plates and medallions is in their size and sophisticated manufacturing technology), pieces from the famous Green Frog service of Catherine II comprising almost a thousand of objects. Besides that, the exhibition will feature one of the most perfect reproductions of the famous Portland vase (the antique Roman original of it made in color glass was owned by Barberini Family, by Dukes of Portland – now it is kept in the British Museum) made in black basalt. A masterpiece of late Thomas Gainsborough, the Portrait of the Duchess of Cumberland, is another unique exhibit from the collection of the Lady Lever Collection, amazing in its virtuous performance, exquisite color scheme and noble model, one of the inimitable beauties of the period. Only one work of this master is represented in Russian collections.
Josiah Wedgwood, the creator of ceramic artworks, was simultaneously an artist, an inventor and a businessman. Wedgwood products came to symbolize British culture and turned into a standard of style. His business abilities and personal character helped him to launch a flourishing business, and support of influential persons helped to shape a brand which is still inseparably associated with such notions as “superb taste” and “English traditions” today. The exhibits of our display will cover an extensive range of topics associated with culture, science and organization of production: emergence of the company in 1759, manufacturing of products in ancient Greek and Roman styles, experiments with color and form, introduction of innovative technologies, issue of new pottery and creation of fashionable jewelry.
The Unrivalled Wedgwood exhibition in our museum will coincide with the Music of the Earth festival conducted by Boris Berezovsky, a piano player. The festival will become an annual event, and it will be devoted to musical cultures of different countries. The festival will form a sort of a musical accompaniment for the exhibition during the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. It will open on November 26 with a gala concert at the House of Music, and then four unforgettable recitals of star performers from Russia, England and Ireland will continue its program during the next four days at our museum.
Visitors of our exhibition will also be able to participate in the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 intense program which will accompany the main exhibition: lectures and round-table discussions, watching of films about Wedgwood, its time and fate, recitals of British literature works popular in the XVIII century, master classes, presentations of the Russian and the English tea party traditions, educational quizes. A special souvenir shop offering Wedgwood products will be open during the exhibition.
Unrivalled Wedgwood runs from November 15, 2014 – February 1, 2015 at the All-Russia Decorative Art Museum, Moscow.
Rare Russian Imperial Porcelain to be Auctioned in Toronto
A set of 12 Russian Imperial Porcelain dinner plates from the Raphael Service. Photo: Waddingtons
An extremely rare set of 12 Russian Imperial Porcelain dinner plates bearing the royal cyphers of both Alexander III and Nicholas II will be auctioned in Toronto at Waddington's on December 9, 2014.
Commissioned for the Alexander Palace in 1883, the 'Raphael Service' was the most expensive and considered one of the greatest achievements of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
William Kime, Senior Specialist Decorative Arts at Waddington's, says, "This 12-piece set has been referred to as 'the stuff of legends'. To my knowledge, no other set of 12 plates has ever been offered." Kime added, "What makes the plates so rare and extraordinary is that they remained together, and are in such good condition."
The story behind the exquisite dinner service is as dramatic as the Russian Imperial family itself. The design was based on the Raphael Loggia murals in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, which were ordered created by Empress Catherine the Great in the 1780s, based on the Raphael frescoes of the Vatican loggia. Production was personally overseen by Czar Alexander III and took 20 years to complete. As new items for the service were completed, they were presented to the Emperor every year as Christmas gifts.
The set of 12 plates was sold in 1947 by Wartski (British antique and jewellery dealers specialising in Russian works of art, founded in 1865) and never seen again, until consigned to the Toronto auction house this year.
Contained in its original brass-bound mahogany box, in excellent condition. Pre-sale estimate is set at $120,000 – 150,000.
Catalogue Listing - Lot 111
RARE SET OF TWELVE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL PORCELAIN DINNER PLATES, FROM THE RAPHAEL SERVICE, PERIODS OF ALEXANDER III AND NICHOLAS II, 1884-1903
with central red ground hexagonal panels painted en grisaille with classical subjects, the cavettos with gilt Greek key and cream ground borders painted with winged animals, the rims with three interjections, six grey ground panels of grotesqueries and three red ground medallions with figures, all within gilt surrounds on a foliate bordered celadon green ground, the edges and basal rims all gilt, contained in their original brass-bound mahogany case, diameter 9.5" — 24.2 cm., painted crowned ciphers and dated in red and gilt.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his approval for the restoration of the memorial cross erected on the site where the former Governor-General of Moscow Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated in the Kremlin in February, 1905. The cross was established in 1908, but was later destroyed by the Bolsheviks.
A special committee will now discuss plans for the restoration of the memorial cross, and will include the following organizations: the All-Russian Social and State Organization, the Russian Military-Historical Society, the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Office of Presidential Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Their recommendations will be presented to President Putin on September 30, 2016.
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (1857-1905) served as governor-general of Moscow from the spring of 1891 until January 1, 1905. He was assassinated on 17th February 1905 just 65 steps from the Nikolskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin - his carriage having been blown up by a bomb thrown by the terrorist Ivan Kaliayev. Historians note that this was the first murder committed in the Kremlin, and was a portent of the coming Revolution and Civil War.
The remains of the Grand Duke were buried with full military honours in a specially constructed tomb located in the Chudov Monastery. A temporary wooden memorial cross was erected at the site of his assassination. Muscovites began to leave money at the foot of the cross, to help fund construction of a monument to the Grand Duke. The city government approved the implementation of the project which included a monument and fence. The monument was created by the famous Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) at the personal invitation of the widow of Sergei Alexandrovich Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna.
Vasnetsov’s memorial cross was unveiled on April 1, 1908, but was demolished in May 1918 by the personal order of Vladimir Lenin. It would be the first Kremlin monument demolished after the revolutionary events.
The Chudov monastery was demolished in 1928, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was built on the site. The burial crypt of the Grand Duke was located in a courtyard of that building, which had been used as a parking lot. In 1990, building workers in the Kremlin discovered the blocked up entrance of the burial vault. The coffin was examined and found to contain the Grand Duke’s remains, covered with the military greatcoat of the Kiev regiment, decorations, and an icon. He had left written instructions that he was to be buried in the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard regiment uniform, but as his body was so badly mutilated this proved impossible.
On September 17, 1995, the coffin was officially exhumed. His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II held a Panikhida in the Cathedral of the Archangel of the Moscow Kremlin. The grand duke’s remains were then transferred and reburied in a vault of the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow. In 1999, a replica of the memorial cross destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 was erected on the grounds of the monastery. The new monument was created by D. Grishin, and the sculptor Nikolai Orlov and based on the original sketches by Viktor Vasnetsov.
For more information on Grand Duke Sergei’s tomb in the Novospassky Monastery, please refer to the following article: