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Monday, 25 March 2013
State Hermitage Museum Constantly Buys Art Works
Topic: State Hermitage Museum


St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum has spent 68.4 million rubles in 2012 buying art works to enlarge its collections.

In 2011 the Hermitage spent 39.4 million and in 2010 75.4 million rubles for the purpose, the museum said in a statement.

"Madonna and Child" by Gaetano Gandolfi (1734-1802) and "Landscape with a shepherdess and her flock" by Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712-1774) were last year's biggest acquisitions, with 5.5 million rubles paid for the former and 2 million for the latter.

"A view of the red study of Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna in the Anichkov Palace" by 19th-century painter Luigi Premazzi, a vase-shaped mantel clock by Robert Osmond made around 1760, and two ice-cream vases with lids dating to 1808 that belonged to Imperial Chancellor Count Nikolai Rumyantsev were other additions to the Hermitage collections in 2012.

"Currently, the expert purchasing commission comprises 19 people. The director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is the chairman of the commission. A separate decision is made on the purchase of each item and on its purchasing price. On a compulsory basis, the museum seeks the approval of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation for the acquisition of any item costing more than 100,000 rubles," it said.

The commission considers buying works offered for sale by Russian and foreign auction houses, antiquarians and private individuals.

The Hermitage permanently monitors the art market for any items that might be worth buying. It receives several offers by email daily.

Every Thursday, the museum's new acquisitions section holds its doors open to anyone who would like to offer something for sale. Priority attention is given to items that could be put on permanent display or fill gaps in current Hermitage collections.

The most expensive acquisitions are usually items bought for the western European arts departments, the Russian cultural history section, and the Orient unit.

All acquisitions for the modern art section are gifts, and the eastern Europe and Siberia archeological unit is mainly replenished with archeological finds.

Some of the most significant acquisitions in 2010 and 2011 were a china collection from Paris gallery Popoff & Co, "Hunters outside a tavern" by August Querfurt, and "Seaside view" by Antonio Marini.

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 25 March, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:56 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 March 2013 8:43 AM EDT
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Christie's Offers Exceptional Faberge Works
Topic: Faberge


Christie’s sale of Russian Works of Art on Monday, April 15 in New York features one of the strongest offerings of Fabergé to come to the market in recent years. Highlighting the sale is Property from a Distinguished Midwest Private Collection, which comprises over 30 lots by Fabergé, as well as Imperial porcelain table services and silver. Other highlights include an Important Silver-Mounted Porcelain Imperial Presentation Vase by Fabergé and the Imperial Porcelain Factory; an impressive section of cloisonné enamel from a Private Arizona Collection; a Collar and Badge of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called from a Private Collector; and a wide selection of late 19th/early 20th Century bronzes. With over 160 total lots and more than 60 by Fabergé, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $3.2 million.

The exceptional group of works from a Distinguished Midwest Private Collection exemplifies the refined taste of an American collector who, with regular visits to important Russian art dealers and auctions in Paris, London and New York, carefully built the collection over the course of the last quarter century. This finely curated group of Fabergé includes everything from desk clocks to photograph frames, hardstone animals to Imperial cigarette cases. Many works have been exhibited widely and benefit from remarkable Imperial provenance.

Fabergé highlights from the Distinguished Midwest Private Collection include a Jeweled Gold Box originally gifted to Princess Irene of Prussia by her sister Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, later in the collection of a German Royal Family (estimate: $40,000-60,000); an Aventurine Quartz Gum-Pot in the form of an apple originally purchased by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna from Fabergé in 1901 (estimate: $25,000-35,000); a Gold and Bloodstone Gum-Pot formerly in the Forbes Magazine Collection (estimate: $30,000-50,000); and a vibrant blue Jeweled Enamel Imperial Presentation Cigarette Case (estimate: $50,000-70,000).

Another highlight of the Fabergé section of the sale is an Important Silver-Mounted Porcelain Imperial Presentation Vase by Fabergé and the Imperial Porcelain Factory from a New York Collector (estimate: $150,000-250,000). The vase was recorded in the ledgers of the Imperial Cabinet and was intended to be presented by Emperor Nicholas II. However, it remained in the Imperial Cabinet’s stock until the Russian Revolution in 1917. By mid-century, the vase had found its way into the collection of India Early Minshall (1885-1965), the renowned American collector of Fabergé. Minshall’s iconic collection was donated to the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, the latter of which eventually deaccessioned the works. The present vase was among those deaccessioned works sold at Christie’s New York in 1988, where it was acquired by the present owner.

Another Fabergé highlight with extraordinary provenance is an Important Silver and Enamel Presentation Clock initially gifted to George Nikolaevich de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg (1872-1904), an officer of the Horse Guard Regiment. George Nikolaevich was a descendant of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (1819-1876), daughter of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855), and also, Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), the first wife Napoléon Bonaparte. The clock was gifted to him in 1905 by his fellow officers of His Majesty’s squadron, presumably upon his retirement (estimate: $80,000-120,000).

The militaria section of the sale features a rare badge and collar of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called from a Private Collector (estimates: $80,000-120,000 and $150,000-250,000). Founded by Peter the Great, the order of St. Andrew was the highest and oldest Imperial award. The badge was made by the Russian Imperial court jeweler Julius Keibel in 1865 and the collar by the jeweler Eduard.

The sale also features an excellent selection of bronzes, including a portrait of Mary Clark Brabant, the daughter of an industrialist and senator from Montana, by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy (estimate: $50,000-70,000).

© Art Daily and Christie's. 25 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:51 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 March 2013 8:47 AM EDT
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Sunday, 24 March 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 4
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches


One of the most beautiful cathedrals in the St. Petersburg area has to the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral at Peterhof. Every time I visit Peterhof I make a point of stopping here before heading back to St. Petersburg. 

The cathedral is located at 4/ 32 Sankt-Peterburgsky Avenue, near the entrance to the famous Peterhof Palace-Museum.

The Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is considered by many to be "an architectural monument of the Old-Russian style." The construction project was ordered by Emperor Alexander III in 1893 and commissioned by the Ministry of the Imperial Court.

The construction, which lasted from 1894 to 1905 on the hill by Tsaritsyn Pond was overseen by architects N. V. Sultanov and builder V. A. Kosyakov who designed the building in the shape of 16-17th centuries Russian architecture.

The pyramidal building, which is 70 metres tall, is encircled with a covered gallery and crowned with five hip domes, holding 800 people. The walls are faced with dark red and light yellow bricks and embellished with sandstone columns and glazed tiles, and the apse features decorative arches.

Before the Revolution, the facades had been adorned with icons of saints and patrons of the members of the Imperial family. The hip-roofed belfry and a chapel are located near the entrance.

The interior frescoes were ordered by Sultanov and done by Moscow craftspeople N. M. Safonov, V. I. Kolupaev and Palekh icon painters; the icons on bronze plaques were made by V. P. Guryanov.

The main altar boasts a five-tier iconostasis made of glazed tiles; the other iconostases are from white marble.

In 1938, SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral was closed down. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, it was damaged and used as a storehouse. In the 1970s-80s, the Cathedral was restored (architect E. P. Sevastyanov), and in 1989 - returned to the eparchy; in 1994 the main altar was consecrated anew.

© Royal Russia. 24 March,  2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:16 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 March 2013 7:02 AM EDT
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Saturday, 23 March 2013
The Fletcher Collection of Imperial Russia
Topic: Auctions

||| Click Here to View and Print 61 Page Romanov Section of the Catalogue |||

As Russia celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, Skinner Inc.  is proud to present the diverse and eclectic Fletcher Collection of Imperial Russia. The auction will take place on Saturday, April 6th in its Boston gallery

John Fletcher always had an intense interest in Nicholas II and his family. After over fifty years working with auction houses and specialized dealers worldwide, Fletcher has amassed a collection reflecting the splendor of Russia’s cultural Golden and Silver Ages, which includes yet another magnificent collection of photographs of the family's of Emperor Alexander III and Emperor Nicholas II.

Highlights from the collection include a white leather child’s shoe, by tradition belonging to Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich (lot 473, estimated between $3,000 and $5,000); a pair of Fabergé gilded silver and enamel napkin rings (lot 387, $6,000 to $8,000); a collodion print of the Russian Imperial Family by the Boisson and Eggler workshop (lot 348, $700 to $900); a letter written by Tsar Nicholas II (lot 536, $2,000 to $3,000); costume designs for a nurse and coachman from Petrushka by Alexander Nikolaevich Benois (lot 458, $500 to $700); and an icon depicting Christ Pantocrator (lot 546, $1,200 to $1,800).

© Skinner Auctioneers. 23 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 23 March 2013 1:03 PM EDT
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Friday, 22 March 2013
Lenin, Bolsheviks, Romanovs Subject of Talks in Moscow
Topic: Bolsheviks


An important round-table discussion was held in Moscow yesterday which assessed the role of the Bolsheviks and their leaders in Russian history.

The round-table talks were organized by the All-Russian Committee for the Removal of Lenin! The discussions were held in the State Duma of the Russian Federation and attended by more than 100 prominent politicians, scientists, historians, and philosophers, many of which tabled papers. Representatives from monarchist groups, Cossacks and the Russian Orthodox Church were also present.

The main purpose of the round-table is to consolidate public opinion from a historical perspective for the future development of Russia. Prominent thinkers, philosophers, scientists, along with representatives of the State Duma will work out a consensus on the moral and historical assessment of the October Revolution of 1917, the criminal activities of the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin. Of importance to those present will be the discussion of the removal of Lenin's remains from the mausoloeum on Red Square. The talks are considered a landmark, historic and watershed event in modern Russian history.

The main topics of discussion:

1. "Crimes of the Bolsheviks and their leaders. Extremism in the works of Lenin"

On the investigation of crimes committed by the Bolsheviks headed by Lenin himself; and by creating a public commission of inquiry into crimes of Lenin and to study issues relating to the murder of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family;

Speaker: Vladimir Lavrov, Russian historian Doctor of History, Academy of Natural Sciences, Deputy Director of the Institute of Russian History (up to 2011). Head of Research Center of Religion and the Church in Russia (until June 2012).  Author of works on the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia, the history of the revolution of 1917 in the Russian Empire.

2. "Bolshevism as the Red Faith"

Speaker: Petr V. Multatuli, Russian historian, author of a contemporary study of Nicholas II.

 3. "Evaluation of the Bolshevik era crimes in determining the identity of modern Russian"

Speaker: Alexander Tsipko, Russian expert in the field of social philosophy, political scientist. Senior Researcher, Institute of International Economic and Political Studies. Doctor of Philosophy.

4. "Spiritual and moral assessment of the further preservation of Lenin's body in the mausoleum on Red Square"

Speaker: Fr. Vladimir, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church and the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing.

5. "Lenin, as a source of inter-ethnic, and religious hatred in Russia"

Speaker: Leonid Simonovich-Niksic Donatovich, Russian public figure, the head of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (SPH), the chairman of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, co-chair of the St. Sergius of the Union of the Russian People, Deputy Chairman Union "Christian Revival", Deputy Chairman of the Society of Russian-Serbian friendship, head of the Russian-Serbian brotherhood.

6. "Cultural, historical and aesthetic background on the dismantling monuments to Lenin in Russia"

Speaker: Vladimir Makrousov, Prominent Russian sculptor, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Member of the Artists' Union, Member of the Russian Academy of Arts, the Chairman of the Parish Council of the community of Christ the Savior.

7. "Bolshevik leaders as government assassins"

Speaker: Boris S. Ilizarov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Russian History

8. "Russian legislation in overcoming the consequences of the communist terror"

Speaker: Daniel V. Petrov, Master of Laws (University). He worked as head of the arbitration department of the St. Petersburg City Property Management Committee, Head of the Department of State Policy Law Office "EPAM", Head of the Department of property management "RZD"

9. "Socio-cultural study of historical return is cities and towns of Russia, by the example of Ulyanovsk"

Speaker: Konnov Vladimir Deputy Simbirsk branch of the International Foundation of Slavic Literature and Culture, a public figure in Ulyanovsk.

10.  "On the need for the establishment of a permanent anti-Bolshevik and anti-Leninist historial and ideological center"

Speaker: Yuri K. Bondarenko, writer and journalist.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:18 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 23 March 2013 1:32 PM EDT
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400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty 1613-2013
Topic: 400th Anniversary


The popular Russian news agency, Voice of Russia have launched an interactive web page to mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

The interactive page is in English, richly illustrated, and divided into the following categories:

- Romanoff Brand

- Jewelry

- Family Tree

- Timeline

- Facts

- The Romanovs and the World

- even a Romanov Quiz!

Clicking on a category will reveal pop-up boxes with more information about the Romanov dynasty.

||| Click Here to View the 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty|||

© Voice of Russia. 22 March, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 March 2013 6:17 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Over a Quarter of Russians Would Welcome New Monarchy
Topic: Russian Monarchy


28 percent of Russians say they would not mind a revival of the monarchy in the country, a poll has revealed, noting however that people don’t know anyone who could fill such a position.

Meanwhile, four percent of the population both want the Tsar back and do know who could come to the throne, a survey by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) discovered. 

Almost a century after the February 1917 revolution put an end to the rule of Romanov dynasty and the Russian Empire, one in ten Russians still believes that being a monarchy would be better for Russia. Notably, in Moscow and St Petersburg such a view is shared by 19 percent of residents.

However, the vast majority of respondents (82 percent) are happy with the current – republican - form of the government, where the head of the country is chosen through elections. Only 7 percent of people could not decide which of the two they would actually prefer.

Two thirds of Russians are confident that autocracy is a closed chapter for Russia. This opinion is particularly common for supporters of the Communist party and the elderly, pollsters found.

When asked who could hypothetically become a new Russian tsar, 70 percent of people stated that the revival of monarchic rule would simply be “impossible and wrong.”

At the same, time 13 percent of those questioned suggested that a possible ruler could be a politician or a public activist elected either directly by people through a referendum or – alternatively – by parliament.

Only six percent of respondents would want to see the descendants of the Romanov Family on the Russian throne.

2013 marks 400 years after the Romanov dynasty ascended to the Russian throne in 1613, reigning for over three centuries, until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. In July 1918, Nicholas and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

Editor's Note: This is just one of many polls conducted in Russia over the past decade asking the same question: "Should the monarchy be restored?" The results have been varied, one poll stating 35% support of a restoration. Even this statistic is remarkable given Russia's turbulent history over the last century. Who would have predicted the fall of the Soviet Union and Communism in 1991, or finding the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, followed by their burial at St. Petersburg in 1998 and their canonisation by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000. The poll fails to acknowledge the fact that many Orthodox Christians support the monarchy, and that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna as Head of the Russian Imperial House. So, will the monarchy return? Let's wait and see. Winston Churchill once said: "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." -- Paul Gilbert

© Russia Today. 20 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:13 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 March 2013 9:05 AM EDT
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The Romanov Murders at Alapaevsk
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 14 minutes, 52 seconds
Topic: Alapaevsk

Note: the video depicts places associated with the final days of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and other members of the Russian Imperial family at Alapaevsk. Included are the Grammar school where they were imprisoned, and the Monastery to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Later in the video you will see the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Alapaevsk. 

In 1918 the small Ural town of Alapaevsk hosted very unusual prisoners. Among them were members of the Russian Imperial family and their faithful retainers: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna with her sister in Christ Varvara, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich and his secretary Fedor Ramez, Princes Ioann, Constantin and Igor Konstatinovich, and Prince Vladimir Paley.

Here, in a Grammar School on the outskirts of Alapaevsk, the prisoners spent several trying months full of horror and suffering. On the night of 17-18th of July they were taken outside the town towards the Verkhne-Siniachikhinsky Factory, and their bodies were thrown in to the abandoned Staroselimskaia Shaft 12 miles away from Alapaevsk.

The White Army started an investigation of the murders immediately after they took Alapaevsk on September 28, 1918. On October 9-11, 1918 the bodies of the martyrs were taken out of the shaft, and on October 19, 1918 they were buried in a crypt of the Holy Trinity Cathedral with great honor. In July 1919, as the Red troops were advancing to the city Hiegumen Seraphim (Kuznetsov) transferred the coffins with the relics first to Chita, and later to Beijing (China). In January 1921 the relics of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and nun Varvara were transferred to Jerusalem and buried in the crypt of the Church of Mary Magdalene of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, where they remain now.

Today at Alapaevsk there is a Veneration Cross and a small chapel dedicated to Grand Duchess Elizabeth built near the old shaft. In 1996 a monastery dedicated to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia was built nearby.

The classroom of the Grammar School, where Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Sister Varvara were held captive is now a memorial museum.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 March 2013 5:42 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Grand Prince of all Rus Ivan III
Topic: Exhibitions

The Kremlin Museums is hosting a new exhibition, being held in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, which covers the time under the Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III (1462-1505). His reign was marked by the overthrow of the dominance of the Golden Horde over the Rus and the gathering of Russian lands around Moscow as a political centre, which laid the foundations of the Russian state. However, the personality of Ivan III and his contribution to the development of Russia was not fully appreciated by his descendants.

Through presenting historical masterpieces, including icons and archival documents, the exhibition is intended to reveal the search for an ideology of the emerging Moscow state and show how the new images and symbols reflected the most significant deeds of the Grand Prince and Sovereign, who had turned the Moscow Principality into a Tsardom and Moscow - into a new capital, that had taken over the glory of the fallen Constantinople. The exposition is based mostly on the artifacts, which are closely related to the Kremlin as the Grand Prince’s residence. Artworks, lent by the leading museums of Russia, serve as a vivid illustration of the new tendencies and intentions of the epoch, which have been spread all over the territories, subordinated to Moscow, and demonstrate the influence of the new capital.

The exhibit covers a remarkable period within the history of Russia, introducing the figure of Ivan III to visitors and reveals his contribution to the development of the Russian state and culture as well. The exhibition runs until July 14th, 2013.

Photo: Ivan III depicted in the Monument of Russia at Veliky Novgorod 

© Kremlin Museums. 19 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:00 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 March 2013 4:40 PM EDT
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Romanov Photos, Letters to be Auctioned in Paris
Topic: Auctions

||| Click Here to View and Print 48 Page Romanov Section of the Catalogue |||

On April 3rd,  Olivier Coutau-Begarie in Paris, France, will auction yet another selection of photographs and letters of the Russian Imperial family.

The collection of photographs is exceptional, including the private photo albums of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (1857-1905) containing photos taken at Ilyinskoe, and more than 200 photographs from the private collection of Pierre Gilliard. There are also many individual photographs, and cabinet cards depiciting members of the various branches of the family: Alexandrovichi, Vladimirovichi, Constantinovichi, Nikolayevichi and Mikhailovichi. Overall, an outstanding collection of images! 

Of particular interest with this collection are letters from Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919) to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918); letters from Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960) to Ferdinand Thormeyer written between 1926-1939; and letters from Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna (1860-1922) to her brothers and parents dating from 1887-1921. 

*Note: The full catalogue consists of 124 pages. I have only included the pages from the catalogue which reflect the Romanov letters and photographs being offered in the auction. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 March, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:38 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:26 AM EDT
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