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Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Lead Shot Fired at Tsar Nicholas II to be Sold
Topic: Faberge


The shot was recovered and mounted on a gold seal and presented to Tsar Nicholas II as a gift. Photo Credit: Wartski 

It may look innocuous, but this tiny lead ball is thought to have triggered a rebellion that saw millions of Russians die and gave rise to the world's first communist state.

When the ball of shot narrowly missed hitting Tsar Nicholas II after it was fired from a cannon in 1905 in St Petersburg, it is believed to have set in motion a chain of events that culminated in the Russian Revolution.

Now its unique place in history is expected to see the grapeshot ball - which has been privately owned for almost a century - fetch up to half a million pounds at auction.

The lead shot missed the Russian Tsar by three feet when it was fired during a ceremonial salute outside the Winter Palace in January 1905.

Although an investigation later found the shot had been fired by accident, Nicholas II is said to have been convinced he had been the target of an assassination attempt.

Three days later, the Russian Imperial Guard opened fire on a crowd of striking workers and their families during a peaceful demonstration, killing almost 100.

This incident earned the Tsar the title 'Nicholas the Bloody'* and led to a decade of civil unrest that culminated in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

*Bloody Sunday is the subject of a new article to appear in Royal Russia Annual No. 4, to be published August 2013. The author, Andrei Mantsov takes a new look at the facts of this historic event based on documents from the Russian archives, ones that are continually overlooked or ignored by Western historians - PG.

The rebellion dismantled the Tsarist autocracy in Russia and paved the way for the creation of the USSR, led by communist revolutionary Lenin.

Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed in 1918.

The shot was recovered from scene of the 1905 'shooting' by a Russian duke who had been standing next to the Tsar at the time.

He took it to famed goldsmiths Faberge where the shot, which measures 1.5ins in diameter, was mounted on a gold seal that was later given to Nicholas II as a present.

A member of the royal court took it with him when he fled Russia at the outbreak of the revolution.

It has been in private ownership ever since but has now gone on general sale for the first time through London antiques dealer Wartski.

The item could sell for up to £500,000 given its 'exceptional' provenance and Faberge seal, experts said.

Wartski's managing director Geoffrey Munn, who has appeared on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, said: 'This is a truly historic piece and an extraordinary treasure.

'The provenance is quite exceptional and from a time that now seems so remote yet was in an age of the motorcar and electricity.

'The will to revolution was born from this ball and the events that followed it being fired.'

Nicholas II's grandfather had been assassinated by revolutionary terrorists in 1881, and when he became Tsar in 1894, he used severe measures to subdue resistance movements.

But by 1905 he was seen as a weak leader, and on January 19 that year he concluded the grapeshot fired from a cannon was at attempt on his life.

This grapeshot ball is said to have missed him by three feet while another shattered a window, showering the Tsar's mother, the Dowager Empress, with splinters of glass.

© The Daily Mail. 27 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:17 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 11:09 AM EST
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Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Cinematryoshka: Six Incarnations of Anna Karenina
Topic: Russian Film

There are more than 20 adaptations of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. And the more they appear - they more critical notes they collect from Russian literary square-toes. They are trying desperately to accuse directors of being inattentive towards Anna's descriptions.

According to the text, Anna had full throat and shoulders, rounded arms with tiny slender wrists, firm strong neck and straying curls of dark hair. "All that was noticeable was the little wilful tendrils of her curly hair that would always break free about her neck and temples." She prefered to dress in black and simple gowns, and not in these colorful cake-like dresses with laces and ruches. "Her black dress, with its sumptuous lace, was not noticeable on her; it was only the frame, and all that was seen was she--simple natural, elegant, and at the same time gay and eager."

But who said that a director should relentlessly follow the description? He, as an artist, should be free to treat the text. So we won't judge anyone and let you decide, which Anna Karenina is the most Karenina ever. Is it slim Keira Knightley, or gentle and soft Marceau? Or the most beautiful women of the world of cinematography Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh represents Anna's virtue the best? Are Russian actresses Tatiana Samoilova or Tatiana Drubich more close to the authentic Karenina? It is up to you to decide.

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 26 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:25 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 11:31 AM EST
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Monday, 25 February 2013
Peterhof Discusses Future of Lower Palace of Nicholas II
Topic: Peterhof




Elena Kalnitskaya, General Director of the Peterhof State Museum-Preserve has announced that the museum is now discussing the future of the Lower Palace (or Lower Dacha) located in the Alexandria Park on the shore of the Gulf of Finland.

The Lower Palace was the home of Tsar Nicholas II and his family while in residence at Peterhof. After the Revolution, the palace became a museum until 1936. It was later used as a holiday home for the more privileged members of the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs). During the Second World War the palace was badly damaged. During the 1960s it became a popular spot with monarchists and a decision was made by the local Soviet to blow the building up. 

Kalnitskaya said that the museum is currently considering a number of options. Among them is the conservation of the ruins, or even a complete reconstruction of the palace. She made the announcement during an interview with in St. Petersburg. 

During the interview she noted that her father, who was born in 1915, told her about the days when it was a museum, "filled with lots of toys" that once belonged to the Tsar's children.

The subject of reconstructing the Lower Palace was raised several years back, however, the project was shelved due to lack of funding. According to museum staff, the storage vaults at Peterhof house a large repository of documents, plans, photographs, and items from the former palace that would allow them to rebuild the structure and open it as a museum dedicated to the private world of the last Tsar and his family.

Kalnitskaya noted that she favours the conservation of the ruins as "a monument to human barbarism of the 20th century." All options will be reviewed by a special committee before a final decision is made. 

The ruins of the Lower Palace are a short walk from the Cottage Palace in the Alexandria Park, however, accessibility is now greatly restricted due to a large fence that was erected in 2004.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 February, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:15 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 21 April 2016 8:12 AM EDT
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Saturday, 23 February 2013
Power and Time: Images of Russian Monarchs in Modern Painting
Topic: Exhibitions


In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, the Artillery Museum in St. Petersburg is hosting a unique exhibition, Power and Time: Images of Russian Monarchs in Modern Painting.

The exhibit showcases a total of 72 portraits of the Russian monarchs from the founder of the Rurik dynasty to the last monarch, Emperor Nicholas II of the Romanov dynasty.

The uniqueness of this project lies in the fact that the portraits are done in the Parsuna style which was popular during the 17th century in Russia. Portraits created in this style reflect a strong dependence on iconography.

Along with the gallery of Russian monarchs are iconic paintings of the heavenly patrons of Russia, as well as paintings of various scenes of Russian history. More than 200 portraits are on display, created by established artists and students of art schools including the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts.

The Artillery Museum is the oldest military museum in Russia and situated directly across from the Peter and Paul Fortress. The exhibition will run through April 2013.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:05 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 23 February 2013 8:30 AM EST
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Friday, 22 February 2013
A Russian Moment No. 8
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


A breathtaking aerial view of the Feodorovsky Gorodok (left) and the Sovereign Feodorovsky Cathedral (right) at Tsarskoye Selo. The Feodorovsky Gorodok is currently under restoration and once completed will serve as the Patriarch's official residence. The Sovereign Feodorovsky Cathedral has undergone exhaustive restorations that span nearly two decades. Both are a short walk from the Alexander Palace. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:28 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 February 2013 3:39 PM EST
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Thursday, 21 February 2013
Romanov Dynasty Turns 400 Years Old
Topic: 400th Anniversary


A man takes time to view an outdoor exhibition dedicated to the Romanov dynasty in Yekaterinburg

Today, February 21 (O.S. Julian Calendar)  marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, which ruled the country for a little over three centuries, until 1917. On February 21, 1613, a Zemsky Sobor elected the 16-year-old Mikhail Fyodorovich.

His coronation was held on June 11, 1613, in the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, making him the first tsar of the Romanov Dynasty. The Moscow Kremlin museums have unveiled a facsimile edition of the 17th century manuscript which describes the crowning.

Celebrations were held across Russia today.

In Saint Petersburg, a requiem service was held at the tombs of the Romanov buried at the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

In the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, celebrations began with a divine liturgy and the opening of an outdoor exhibition dedicated to the Romanov dynasty.

The exhibition is centered on the last Russian emperor Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in the cellar of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918. The Moscow Patriarchate canonized the family in 2000.

The museums of the Moscow Kremlin in 2013 will showcase two exhibitions related to the history of Russia and its rulers. On March 19 the exhibition dedicated to Ivan III opens at the Pillar Chamber – this ruler is often connected with the association of Russian lands around Moscow which became the center of the state, he also adopted the so-called Code of Law.

The Art of Saving Art exhibition which will open on April 9 in the exhibition hall of the Uspenskaya Belfry will reveal the secrets of restoration crafts on the examples of the best art works of Russian and foreign artists - Moscow Kremlin is rich in these works.

In mid-September the Museums of the Kremlin will present a magnificent exhibition Coronation in the Moscow Kremlin (XVI-XIX centuries) dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

Among other events taking place in Russia in honor of this anniversary, a memorial Romanov bell will be raised at Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, the 2013 Romanov Festival is being held in Kostroma, the Omsk Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a Romanov Exhibition and Nizhniy Novgorod is hosting a photography exhibition depicting royal visits to this city.

The anniversary is also being celebrated elsewhere around the world throughout the year. For example, in the United States at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC is presenting a special exhibition of the coronation albums created over the course of the family’s reign. In Great Britain new tableware released by Royal Buckingham for purchase by the public will have the Romanov crest and 1613-2013 depicted on it. A collection of historical carpets called “The Romanovs: A Great Dynasty” will tour to world, travelling to Moscow, St. Petersburg, London, Paris, New York and Madrid.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:05 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 February 2013 3:25 PM EST
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Could the Russian Monarchy Return?
Topic: Russian Monarchy


HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House 

While the House of Romanov is celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2013 HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, its head, spoke with Russia Beyond the Headlines about her position and what role her family could play in modern Russia.

||| Click Here to Read the Interview with Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna |||

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 21 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:38 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2013 6:43 AM EST
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Russia: Tempted by History Exhibit Opens in Moscow
Topic: Exhibitions


Solikamsk (1910). Artist: Alexander Vladimirovich Makovsky (1869-1924). Photo Credit: MacDougall's 

UK-based MacDougall’s Auction House has kicked off an exhibition called “Russia: Tempted by History,” marking the opening of its first Moscow showroom in the late February. Some 20 Russian masterpieces have been brought home for a short stay, including oeuvres by Viktor Vasnetsov, Konstantin Korovin, Nikolai Roerich, and Konstantin Korovin. Experts say the show is a real gift for all Russian art-lovers who haven’t had a glimpse of these rare Russian paintings for over a hundred years.

© Voice of Russia. 21 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:49 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2013 6:00 AM EST
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Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland
Topic: Russian Art


 Double portrait of Natalia Noordman and Ilya Repin (1903)

The exhibition Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland has opened at the recently renovated Kadriorg Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia. The exhibition, which was organised in collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum of the Finnish National Gallery, introduces the distinguished artist Ilya Repin's paintings from his Finnish period, which have received less attention. 

"Ilya Repin's work is well-known among the Estonian public. However, it has been predominantly viewed through the prism of the Soviet Union's art policy, which was limited to the social and socially critical portion of the artist's work," Linda Lainvoo, one of the exhibition curators, said. "However, this exhibition focuses on the artist's more intimate paintings and helps us understand the background of Repin's craftsmanship. The artist, who was known for cultivating a realistic style of portrayal and socially critical subjects, is revealed at this exhibition as a sensitive portraitist and passionate drawer."

Repin. A Russian Master's Life and Work in Finland is based on the Repin collection at the Ateneum Art Museum, and is directly connected to the artist's home "Penates" in Karelia, as well as to Finnish history. The works have arrived at the museum as gifts, donations and purchases by the government. Through drawings that were completed at various period of his life, the exhibition also illustrates Repin's lifelong dedication to improving his art.

Ilya Repin (1844–1930) is one of the Russian artists whose work is renowned around the world. He is known primarily as a great realist, and his works, which often contain a socially critical subtext, provide a reflection of the daily lives of simple people and peasants.

The artist settled in Kuokkala, Karelia (today Repino, in the Russian Federation) in the early 20th century. Together with his life partner Natalia Nordmann (1863–1914), who was active in photography and literature, he established his home there, which soon became an active centre of cultural life. After Finland became independent, Repin became increasingly involved with the Finnish art scene and art community. In the 1920s, the artist, who was quite elderly, appeared at exhibitions in Russia and Finland. Despite many invitations from the Soviet Union, Repin did not leave Finland, remaining there until his death in 1930.

© Kadriorg Art Museum. 20 February, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:02 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2013 7:05 AM EST
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Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Imperial Family Exhibit to Tour Russia
Topic: Exhibitions


Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky 

Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky has organized a traveling exhibit comprised of personal items of the Royal Family to mark the 400 th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty.

The exhibit opened on January 16th in Vladivostok, and will continue on to Tyumen, Ekaterinburg, Moscow and other cities of Russia, said Olga Nikolaevna, as reported by ITAR-TASS.

The exposition is part of a jubilee program called From Ocean to Ocean—From Vladivostok to Toronto, initiated by the Benevolent Fund of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna.

“Most of the exponents will be artistic works and letters of the sister of Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. We brought a picture from the family archives which was a gift to [Tsar] Nikolai Alexandrovich in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. We will also show personal items belonging to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna from Ekaterinburg. It is very likely that they were in the Ipatiev House, where the Royal Family spent their final days on earth and where they were executed,” said Olga Alexandrovna. Her husband, Tikhon Nikolaevich Kulikovsky, the son of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, cherished everything he had which was connected to his family.

Olga Kulikovsky, who recently celebrated her 85 th birthday, lives in Canada, but spends most of her time in Russia. The charity she founded helped Russians in the difficult 1990’s by providing food and medical equipment, and to this day provides aid. Olga Nikolaevna published several books about the Royal Family, her husband, his mother, grandmother and grandfather, Tsar Alexander III, and Empress Maria Feodorovna, and about her spiritual father, Protopriest Leonid Kolchev.

||| Click Here to View 30 Colour Photos from the Vladivostock Exhibit|||

© ITAR-TASS. 19 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:38 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2013 8:51 AM EST
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