New Jerusalem Monastery to Become Major Exhibition Venue Topic: Russian Church
The new museum complex being constructed at the New Jerusalem Monastery will become a main exhibition centre of the Moscow Region.
Its repository will also become the center for storage of collections of several museums located around Moscow.
The New Jerusalem Monastery housing the museum is a unique phenomenon in the history of Russian architecture. Its founder Patriarch Nikon (1605-1681) wanted to create near Moscow an image of the Holy Land - "Russian Palestine" - which became a grandiose architectural and landscape complex.
A new museum building is under construction now, and the museum repository will be ready by the end of 2012. Construction of the new museum building will be completed in 2012, with about one billion rubles planned to be spent on its construction.
Restoration of the Facets Palace in the Moscow Kremlin Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds Topic: Kremlin
The Facets Palace, considered to be one of the major buildings in the Moscow Kremlin ensemble has undergone a large-scale restoration and is once again open to the public. The restoration which began in 2007 involved master craftsmen from Moscow and St. Petersburg who have painstakingly returned the unique architectural building to its original appearance.
The Facets Palace is famous for its throne hall which served the Russian monarchs from the end of the 15th century. Many historic events and ceremonies took place here. It was here that the future heirs to the throne were solemnly proclaimed. Tsar Ivan IV celebrated the capture of Kazan, and a century and a half later Peter the Great celebrated the victory of the Battle of Poltava. The famed Red Gate was used during the coronation ceremonies of later Russian tsars up to and including Nicholas II.
The last time the Facets Palace was restored was in 1968. Carpets from the Byzantine era took eight months to restore. Paintings and frescoes have been restored, as well as the elaborate floors made from no less than 16 types of the finest woods.
During the recent restorations, excavations were carried out in the basement which yielded yet another treasure trove of more than 3,000 items, among them valuable jewels and items made of gold. These have all been transferred to the Armoury Museum where they will eventually be put on display.
While the Facets Palace is now open to the public, admission can only be made through special arrangement with museum officials.
Leo Tolstoy: Russia Unthinkable Without Yasnaya Polyana Topic: Country Estates
Yasnaya Polyana was the home of Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy, where he was born and spent nearly 60 years of his life. During the distribution of inheritance between the Tolstoy brothers in 1847 Leo Tolstoy inherited the Yasnaya Polyana estate and several villages. Soon afterwards he sold the villages and the more than 1,000-hectare Yasnaya Polyana estate became his only property. The spacious three-storey house with 32 rooms where Leo Tolstoy was born on August 28th 1828 was later demolished. Upon his return from St.Petersburg in 1856, Leo Tolstoy and his family had to occupy one of the two wings which had been built by his grandfather. As Tolstoy’s family became larger, the wing was extended to provide more room. Members of the Tolstoy family referred to the Yasnaya Polyana house as “the big house”. Leo Tolstoy wrote many of his novels at Yasnaya Polyana and the estate bore witness to all the twists and turns of his more than eventful life.
The largest room, “the parlor” as the Tolstoys used to call it in those days, has preserved the interior of the old mansion. Director of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum Yekaterina Tolstaya comments.
"Many heirlooms were passed on from generation to generation. Portraits, mahogany furniture, and the comfy old chairs from the old mansion – all moved together with the family. The writing desk which belonged to Leo Tolstoy’s father is now in the writer’s study. Tolstoy wrote his most significant works at this desk."
Leo Tolstoy preferred to do a large share of work around the house himself and was on good terms with peasants for whom he had infinite respect. Even in his younger years Tolstoy believed that the landlord owed a lot to his peasants. When he was 21, Tolstoy opened a school for peasant children in Yasnaya Polyana and often gave classes himself. The student-teacher relations were built on the basis of equality. Yekaterina Tolstaya comments.
"Tolstoy deemed the ABC book he wrote to be nearly the most important of all his works. While teaching high school, he practiced an individual approach. He knew what the kids’ interests were and read and discussed things with them. His classes were held in a friendly atmosphere so each pupil found them interesting and benefited from them."
In addition to “the big house”, the Yasnaya Polyana estate consists of a huge park with alleys and ponds. One of the most remote alleys has Leo Tolstoy’s favorite bench from which opens a marvelous view on the local landscape. The Tree of Love is another attraction. As the legend goes, if you go around the tree several times and wish for something, your wish will come true.
Despite Tolstoy's views on politics and the church (the latter of which led to his excommunication from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901) it is interesting to note that the novels and short stories of Leo Tolstoy were a favourite of Tsar Nicholas II, who used to read them aloud to his wife and children on cold winter nights while in residence at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.
Monument to Emperor Alexander III Unveiled at Novosibirsk Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds Topic: Alexander III
A new monument to Emperor Alexander III has been unveiled in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The ceremony was attended by local government officials, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as Paul Kulikovsky (the great-grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna).
It was Emperor Alexander III who ordered the construction of the Trans Siberian Railway, of which the city was a major terminus. The new monument overlooks a railway bridge which spans the Ob River.
Large screens were erected for the ceremony in which visitors could view newsreels and photographs about the reign of Alexander III and the construction of the Trans Siberian Railway, considered to be one of the most significant events in the city's history.
I have added a new section to my online bookshop which offers a selection of Rare and Second-Hand books on the royal families of Russia, Europe and Great Britain. Books on Russian, European and British royalty are combined into one list.
The new section currently offers more than 30 titles for collectors to choose from. Some copies are brand NEW, while others are more than 100 years old, and yet in excellent condition! All the titles listed in this section are one of a kind! The page will updated twice a month with additional titles.
The books offered in this section of my shop are from the personal library of a former royalty enthusiast who had amassed an enormous collection over many decades. Many of the books are in near mint condition, despite their age. Some books are extremely rare collectors items. Copies have been priced according to condition and rarity.
Please note that a portion from the sale of each book will be donated to Royal Russia. This helps me offset the costs of maintaining and developing the growing Royal Russia web site and blog.
A unique exhibition opens today at the Upper Bathhouse of the Catherine Park in cooperation with the ROSPHOTO State Museum & Exhibition Centre, which tells how photography came to Tsarskoye Selo, how the tsar’s court influenced a fashion for photography, and how the Romanov family helped boost the quality of daguerreotypes and photographs in Russia.
After the first pewter-plate photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1826 and then his partner Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre invented a photographic process using silver on copper plate in 1839, the daguerreotype came to Russia during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I and was called “writing with light”.
Photography became a favourite hobby of the Tsar’s family which, like any other, loved its life chronicled in pictures. The photographs of the “most august family” used for the press and postcards were taken by professionals, who wore awarded the title “Supplier to the Imperial Court and Photographer” after 8–10 years of flawless service.
During Alexander III’s reign, photography bloomed and competed with portrait painting. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their children, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich took photography lessons from professional “light-writers”. Particularly noteworthy in the current exhibit are a touching photograph of the little Tsarevich Alexei standing together with a guard near a snow-covered Alexander Palace and an album of photographs taken by Anna Vyrubova, Tsarina Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting and close friend.
In 1860 the architect Ippolito Monighetti built an addition to the Llama Pavilion in the Alexander Park, which was used by the Romanovs as a photography studio and laboratory. After the Tsar’s special permission of 1866, photographic ateliers opened in the town of Tsarskoye Selo: Mikhail Kozlovski’s on Konyushennaya St, the workshop of Wilhelm Lapré on Moskovskaya St, and the photographic studio “K.E. von Gann and Co” of Alexander Yagelsky on Shirokaya St.
Besides showing part of the museum’s exhaustive photographic collection, the exhibit gives visitors a chance to feel as if they are in a Tsarskoye Selo photographic studio of the past.
TheExhibition is open through September 30, 2012, from 11.00–19.00 (tickets until 18.00). Closed on Thursdays and Fridays. Admission for adults is 100 rubles.
Lost Book Recounts Love Affair With Russian Grand Duke Topic: Books
In the 1870s, a young American woman had a passionate relationship with Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich (1850-1918), the first-born son of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, and a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I.
Her account of the 28 months in Russia is a love story, not only of her love for the Grand Duke, but also for Russia itself. She had written a book accounting her story, and only a few copies of her book survived. Now, Eva and Daniel McDonald bring this story to readers in Fanny Lear: Love and Scandal in Tsarist Russia.
Harriet Clarissima Ely Blackford, also known as Fanny Lear, was an American courtesan in the late 19th century – a strong, independent woman who refused to accept the restrictions placed on women by society at the time.
In her short, adventure-filled life, Harriet’s travels took her from Philadelphia to the social heights of Europe and ultimately to Tsarist Russia, where an affair with the Tsar’s nephew culminated in her arrest and expulsion from Russia. Various diplomatic reports from the U.S. State Department detail the scandalous events and the dire implications of this ill-fated love affair.
Once out of Russia, she reportedly wrote this account in English over the course of 11 days and then supervised its translation into French. Published under the title Le Roman d’une Americaine en Russie, it was an instant bestseller. Her story brought on diplomatic pressure from Russia that caused her expulsion from France and Italy, although she continued to be a prominent figure in the social and celebrity sections of the European media during the 1870s and ’80s.
Thunder of Guns to Mark Unveiling of Monument to Alexander III at Novosibirsk Topic: Alexander III
A new monument to Emperor Alexander III will be unveiled in the Siberian city of of Novosibirsk on the night of June 22/23. Organisers have announced that the ceremony will be "nothing short of impressive, complete with the unveiling of the monument to the thunder of guns."
For more information on this new monument to Alexander III, please refer to the following news clips on this blog;
Rare Russian Imperial Porcelain Kremlin Service Plate Topic: Antiques
Estate Auctions Inc. is offering a rare opportunity to own a unique and very hard to find Kremlin Service Plate. "We continue to be astonished at the rare unique items that come through our doors. Our clients appreciate the out of the ordinary and quirky items and this plate certainly falls into that category." says Norb Novocin, Owner of Estate Auctions Inc. of Delaware.
After much research Mr. Novocin discovered that a set of 12 plates, which matches this single plate currently listed on eBay, sold at Sotheby's in 2004 for $78,000. Again in 2008, a set of 6 sold for $34,000. A single plate available outside of a high end auction house is very rare but for the opening bid to be less than a dollar... you may never see that again.
The plate is from a service that was commissioned for use in the Great Kremlin Palace, the official Moscow residence for the Imperial family, when the process of renovating, and ultimately rebuilding, the palace began in 1837. The task of designing the new service fell to the talented student and future professor of the Academy of Arts Fedor Solntsev, who had been studying and recording Russian antiquities. He drew upon 17th century metalwork as a model; in the case of this plate, the source was a sumptuous gold plate made for Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich by masters of the Moscow Kremlin Armory in 1667. See Tamara Kudriavtseva, Russian Imperial Porcelain, St. Petersburg, 2003, pp. 130-132.
The auction closes Monday, June 18th at approximately 10:00 PM EST. Interest in this rare and historic plate continues to increase as the closing draws near.