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Monday, 9 September 2013
A Russian Moment 15 - Imperial Gardens of Russia
Topic: A Russian Moment

A great Imperial Crown was the highlight of this years' Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival. Photo © RIA Novosti
The 6th annual Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival was recently held at the Mikhailovsky Palace in St. Petersburg. A great Imperial Crown made of flowers, was the highlight of this years festival dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. This year also marks the 115th anniversary of the State Russian Museum (formerly the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III) , the 155th anniversary of the Imperial Russian Horticultural Society and the Year of the Environment.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:04 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 September 2013 8:15 AM EDT
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Cost of Hermitage Museum Annex Swells to $450M
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

PHOTO: Situated on the opposite side of Palace Square, the eastern section of the former General Staff Building will house the new wing of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Once complete, the museum will be the largest in the world.
The cost of renovating a building whose east wing will go to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has grown to 15 billion rubles ($450 million) from an initial 10.6 billion rubles ($318 million), but project participants insisted that all expenses were aboveboard.

The first phase of the restoration totaled about 7 billion rubles, and the second will cost 8 billion rubles, said Andrei Vasilyev, head of St. Petersburg City Hall's investment fund.

Vasilyev, speaking in an interview published Monday in Vedomosti, played down the fact that the revised amount was about 50 percent more than originally planned, saying that the construction agreement included a clause that allowed for increases based on inflation and other unforeseen new costs.

A 2008 contract for the first phase allocated 4.4 billion rubles and was awarded to the construction firm Intarsia. The second phase, worth 6.2 billion rubles, was awarded to Intarsia in 2010.

Funding for the first phase came from the Russian government (80 percent) and the World Bank (20 percent). The second phase is being covered from money left over from the reconstruction of the Mariinsky Theater, said Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky.

But the Audit Chamber, a federal agency that makes sure that government money is properly spent, raised concerns in late July about possible corruption in the relationship between Intarsia, Vasilyev's department and the Culture Ministry. The chamber noted that the reconstruction contracts had been awarded without tenders and said that the costs were higher than expected.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, while noting that the contracts were arranged under the previous culture minister, defended the decision to award them both to Intarsia.

"We should not change horses in midstream because the project is very complex," he said in comments to Vedomosti.

He said that no money has been paid up front and that Intarsia only charged the real costs of its work. He conceded that the project was expensive and could probably have been carried out more cheaply, but he said such big projects are always expensive.

A construction industry insider told Vedomosti that inflation could easily reach 15 percent annually in the building sector, and he said it was customary to re-evaluate and re-adjust costs on long-term projects.

According to the Spark database, 80 percent Intarsia belongs to its president, Viktor Smirnov, and the other 20 percent is owned by businessman Gennady Yavnik. The company's revenue in 2012 amounted to 6.8 billion rubles. 

The building under reconstruction covers 60,473 square meters. Only the east wing of the building will be used by the Hermitage, which needs additional space to display its large collection.

The  east wing will contain artwork from tsarist Russia and contemporary times, as well as galleries dedicated to the artists Shchukin and Morozov, a Russian Guard Museum and a Faberge exhibition, said Piotrovsky, the museum director. 
© The Moscow Times. 09 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:38 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 September 2013 6:48 AM EDT
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Saturday, 7 September 2013
Romanov Dynasty Through the Eyes of Russian Artists
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds
Topic: Exhibitions
A military brass band accompanied the opening of a new exhibit called The Romanovs: Portrait of a Dynasty at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. The exhibition celebrates the 400th anniversary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty in Russia.
According to the curator of the exhibition,Yevgeny Lukyanov, their main goal is to show that, in addition to popular monarchs such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II, there were other interesting personalities in the royal family.
Among them were talented artists, such as the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, wife of Paul I, who personally carved portraits of her family out of stone and glass.
Or the actor, poet and translator, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, who is pictured in a colorized photo from 1899 dressed as Hamlet—a role he played in the Hermitage theatre with the permission of the emperor.
There were also people with dramatic fates. Take, for example, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna, who is shown here in a Western European engraving, grandly marching arm-in-arm with her husband, the Duke of Orange.
The Russian duchess who became a Dutch queen was and still is so beloved by her adopted people that the Dutch city of Anna Paulowna was named in her honor.
The exhibition includes not only historical content, but also art. Arranged in chronological order, it tells the story of the portrait genre in Russia—from the early “parsuna”(secular portraits) of the 1670–80s (represented by a portrait of czars Mikhail Fedorovich and Alexei Mikhailovich), up to pre-revolutionary photographs.
Among the artists are some famous names: There is the formal portrait of Nicholas II painted by Ilya Repin, and a marble bust of Alexandra Feodorovna created by Mark Antokolsky.
There is also an etching by Ivan Kramskoi of Crown Prince Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Alexander III; the artist created the etching after his own portrait. Kramskoi called his prints "banknotes," since engravings of monarchs were always printed in large quantities, were popular, and brought artists a handsome income.
In the next room are small, black-and-white photographs of Alexander II holding his infant son on his lap. At the feet of the emperor rests his beloved dog, Milord, who was so attached to his master that, when the emperor went to Paris for the World's Fair in 1867, the dog could not stand to be without him and died. 
From the court painter Mikhail Zichy there is a watercolor of the reception at the Winter Palace on April 5, 1866—just one day after the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Alexander II by Dmitry Karakozov.
Russia's era of terrorism began at that moment, but, in the drawing, the emperor is accepting congratulations for his miraculous escape. 

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 07 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:50 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 February 2014 1:25 PM EST
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Presenting the Romanovs: Their Lives in Art and Objects
Topic: Exhibitions


The exhibition "The Romanovs. Portrait of a Dynasty" at the State Historical Museum in Moscow celebrates the 400th anniversary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty in Russia.

According to curator Evgeny Lukyanov, the exhibition’s main goal is to show that, in addition to popular monarchs such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Nicholas II, there were other interesting personalities in the royal family, too.

The exhibition includes both historical content and art. Arranged in chronological order, it tells the story of the portrait genre in Russia, from the early parsuna (secular portraits) of the 1670-80s—represented by a portrait of tsars Mikhail Fedorovich and Aleksei Mikhailovich—up to pre-revolutionary photographs. There are some famous names among the artists exhibited. There is Ilya Repin’s formal portrait of Nicholas II and a marble bust of Alexandra Feodorovna made by Mark Antokolsky. There is also an etching by Ivan Kramskoi with the image of Crown Prince Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Alexander III, which the artist created after his own portrait. Kramskoi called his prints "banknotes" since engravings of monarchs were always printed in large quantities, enjoyed great popularity, and brought artists a handsome income. 

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 07 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:16 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 September 2013 6:21 AM EDT
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Thursday, 5 September 2013
The Romanovs Return to Livadia

The final stages of filming of the new Russian documentary The Last Emperor: A Russian Lesson,  have now been completed in the Crimea. The documentary will be the culmination of a 5-part documentary series, The Romanovs: Tsar's Case devoted to the 400th anniversary of the dynasty.

Between September 1st - 4th, the filming took place at the Livadia Palace, The Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and at other places associated with the life of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II during his visits to the Crimea.
"We have just finished shooting at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Tsarskoye Selo, and now the Crimea," said Helen Chavchavadze, who serves as creative head and vice president of the Russian Cultural Foundation.

The series is to be broadcast in Russia and internationally in November 2013 on the television channels Rossia and Planeta, the Center of Investigative Journalism reports. Note: The documentary series will be broadcast in Russian. These channels are now available on some Western cable and satellite television services, check your local listings - PG. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:20 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 September 2013 12:23 PM EDT
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Royal Russia Annual No. 4 (Summer 2013) - NOW IN STOCK
Topic: Books




I am pleased to announce that the NEW issue of our official magazine, ROYAL RUSSIA No. 4 is now AVAILABLE! --PG. 

Included in our Summer 2013 issue are the following full-length articles:

The Coronation of Emperor Alexander III

- An eye-witness account of the ceremonies marking the coronation of Emperor Alexander III at Moscow on 27th May [O.S. 15th], 1883. Richly illustrated with reproductions from the coronation album.

My Russia: The Children's Island at Tsarskoye Selo

- Located in the Alexander Park, the Children's Island and Pavilion is often overlooked by visitors to Tsarskoye Selo. This article explores the history and future of this unique folly built for the children of Emperor Nicholas I. Includes photographs by the author, Paul Gilbert.   

The Museum of Imperial Court Carriages

- A history of the Museum of Imperial Court Carriages in St. Petersburg, and what happened to the collection after the museum was closed by the Bolsheviks in 1920. Includes photographs by the author, Paul Gilbert.

plus, these articles by Russian and foreign historians:

  • Russia's Thespian Mentors by Irene W. Galaktionova 
  • Crowned in a Far Country: The Five Daughters of Emperor Paul I by Gema Faye O. Nicdao
  • An Interview With Anna Vyrubova by Rheta Childe Dorr
  • Bloody Sunday: A Tragedy That Became a Sign by Andrei Mantsov
  • Princess Zenaida Yusupova by Meriel Buchanan

 Plus 2 collections of rare and vintage photographs:

  • Frozen in Time featuring photographic memories of the Russian Imperial family
  • The Lost World of Imperial Russia featuring vintage photographs of Imperial Russia before the Revolution

For more information on the contents of this issue, or to order your copy, please click on the following link;


© Gilbert's Books. 05 September, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:25 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 October 2013 4:09 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 4 September 2013
New Portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

A portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna by Pyotr Neradovsky is now on display at the State Historical Museum in Moscow
Further to my article about The Romanov's: Portrait of a Dynasty (see below) which opened on September 3rd at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, I am happy to update it with this very interesting image.
The photograph is from the exhibit but it is the portrait on the far left that I would like to draw to your attention. It is a previously unknown portrait of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, painted by the Russian artist Pyotr I. Neradovsky. It has been kept in storage for decades but as been specially restored for this exhibition.
Neradovsky (1875-1962) was a gifted artist, art historian and museum curator.
The other portraits in the photograph: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (top oval portrait), Emperor Nicholas II, and Grand Duke Michael Nicholayevich by other Russian artists. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 September 2013 7:13 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Exhibition: The Romanov's: Portrait of a Dynasty
Topic: 400th Anniversary

A new exhibition, The Romanov's: Portrait of a Dynasty opens today at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. The exhibit is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, featuring grand and royal portraits from the collection of the State Historical Museum.

The State Historical Museum has a rich collection of Russian art, and an important repository of grand and royal portraits. For the first time in one exhibition space are portraits of all the members of the royal family, executed in painting, sculpture, miniature, graphics and photos. As a result of the addition of such an ensemble is the opportunity to showcase the "Romanov portrait" as a bright phenomenon of Russian culture. The chronological framework of the exhibition covers a little more than three centuries - from 1613 to 1917. It is divided into sections corresponding to the main periods of the Romanov era. 

The exhibition features more than 400 exhibits, including the works of painters, sculptors, miniaturists, graphics and photos: John Doe, A. Makovsky, IE Repin, FS Rokotoff; Antokolsky, RR Bach, IP Vitali, BK Rastrelli DI Evreinova; AP Bryullova, GS Verey, PF Sokolov, among others. Many of the works are on display for the first time, such as the portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna by the Russian artist P. I. Neradovsky, which for many years was kept in storage and has been specially restored for this exhibition. 

During their reign, which spanned a little more than three centuries, the Romanovs were often the subjects of art  - being painted,  sculptured and photographed by both Russian and foreign artists. In addition to portraits, the exhibition will show genre works that reveal important events and the day-to-day life of the Romanovs: the coronations, events of social and cultural life, court life, war scenes, etc. The exhibition also includes Romanov Memories which features personal items, autographs and memorabilia of individual members of the Russian Imperial family.

Particular attention is also paid to the many great dukes and duchesses. Among the many generations of the Romanovs were many extraordinary people, endowed with an iron will, strong character, fiery temperament and outstanding ability. For more than three centuries, many of the grand dukes occupied important government posts, and played a prominent roles in the social, political and cultural life of the Russian Empire. Among them were the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich - poet and playwright, President of the Imperial Academy of Sciences; the Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich - prominent historian and one of the founders of the national science about butterflies - lepidopterist; Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich - the outstanding numismatic, managing the Russian Museum; the Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich - an outstanding architect and builder; Grand Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich - a noted horse breeder; Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich - the creator of the national air force; the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna - a talented artist, who left behind a huge artistic heritage through her paintings; the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna—the Younger - a gifted designer, based in Paris, she collaborated with the fashion house Chanel. 

The Romanov's: Portrait of a Dynasty runs from September 17, 2013 to January 30, 2014, at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 September, 2013 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 September 2013 9:02 AM EDT
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Friday, 30 August 2013
Exhibition: Denmark and the Russian Empire 1600-1900
Topic: Exhibitions

Queen Margrethe of Denmark attends the gala opening at the Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Castle
Denmark and the Russian Empire in 1600 - 1900, an exhibition devoted to Russian-Danish relations opens today at the Museum of National History in the town of Hillerød, 40 kilometers from the Danish capital.

In the halls of Frederiksborg Castle can be seen table silver from the Moscow Kremlin - derived from the collection of ambassadorial gifts of the Armoury Chamber, they had been delivered to Russia as a part of a dowry by the son of King Christian IV, Valdemar Christian, for his marriage to the daughter of the Russian Tsar. Here are also portraits of the Empress Catherine the Great, by the Danish artist Vigilius Eriksen (1779) and the Empress Maria Feodorovna, born Danish Princess Dagmar, created by the Russian painter Alexei Korzuhin (1885).

Presented are the elegant ballroom toilette of Maria Feodorovna, among them - a gorgeous dress by the famous Parisian couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. The exhibition also features a silver cup with a diameter of about one meter, created by the famous jeweller to the Russian Court, Carl Faberge, which was a gift of Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna to her parents - King Christian IX and Queen Louise, on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary.

The exhibition tells about the arrival of Peter I in Denmark in 1716, about his stay in the country from 1780 until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the last descendants of the extinct "Brunswick" branch of Tsar Ivan Alexeyevich and, of course, about the daily life of Maria Feodorovna that 19-year-old Danish princess came to Russia in 1866 to marry the heir to the Russian throne, and after the revolution of 1917 was forced to return to her homeland.

"Few countries can match the Russian imperial style of luxury and splendour," - said in a press release, the exhibition, which has been four years in the making. During its preparation, the Danish Museum staff visited four times in Russia. Some of the exhibits provided by the Kremlin Museums, and the Pavlovsk Museum-Reserve and the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve, whose directors attended the gala opening . Other items belong to Danish museums, archives and private collections, as well as the Danish Royal Family.

The opening ceremony was attended by Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who flew in from the south of France where she is currently vacationing.

"Russian-Danish relations which span more than five centuries, has always been based on the principles of friendship, respect and mutually beneficial cooperation, - noted Mikhail Vanin, Russian Ambassador to Denmark. - It is no small measure the close links between the Imperial House of Romanov, which marks its 400th anniversary in 2013, and the Danish royal family. This is why the exhibition, devoted to the relations between the two countries, this year is especially important. "

The exhibition opens to the public on August 30 and will run until December 1, 2013. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 August, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 August 2013 8:34 AM EDT
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Thursday, 29 August 2013
Unknown Portrait of Tsesarevich Alexei Discovered
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 52 seconds
Topic: Tsesarevich Alexei

Hidden for nearly a century, a previously unknown portrait of the Tsesarevich Alexei Nicholayevich, the son of Emperor Nicholas II was discovered in a house on Wednesday, not far from the Catherine Palace at Pushkin. The portrait was found by workers during the restoration of the facade of the 18th century Kabinetskaya (Cavaliers) House on Sadovoi Ulitsa.

The 86cm x 67cm oil painting of the Tsesarevich Alexei, dressed in a sailors shirt, was found hidden between the wall and the eaves of the house. The canvas was rolled up, wrapped in newspapers dating from 1917 and 1918, and pinned down with bricks. Experts at the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum Preserve believe that the owners of the house removed the portrait from its frame and hid it after the revolution of 1917. 

The artist is unknown but believed to be painted from a photograph of the young heir to the throne during the 1913-1914 period. Experts will now attempt to identify the artist and learn more about the original owner of the house. It is known that the house was occupied by Gendarme Corps Colonel Boris Gerardi, who served as Head of the Palace Police from 1905-1917.
Iraida Bott, Deputy Scientific Director at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve told local media that the oil painting is dilapidated, with numerous creases and a torn-off fragment and in urgent need of restoration. Once this has been done, the portrait will then go on display at the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum, presumably in the Alexander Palace where the Tsesarevich spent much of his life. In the meantime, further investigation of the house will result in the discovery of other treasures from the Tsarist period. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 August, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:23 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 December 2017 4:55 PM EST
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