The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve received four porcelain vases, a beautifully decorated table from the 1850s-1890s and the Night In Istanbul (lower right photo) landscape by Ivan Aivazovsky.
These objects originally from the Imperial state rooms were kept in St. Petersburg’s Gorky Palace of Culture since the 1930s. Now they are at Tsarskoye Selo, thanks to an initiative from the St. Petersburg Monuments Preservation Committee (KGIOP).
The vases with replicated old masters’ works were manufactured at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory of St. Petersburg, where porcelain pieces were first embellished with painting copies during the time of Alexander I. The high point of this technique was the reign of Nicholas I, when the highest quality vases were produced.
Replicated by artist Kornilov, the astoundingly detailed multi-figure genre scenes with a wide rich colour gamut on the two most impressive vases show a resting place and a winter town originating from works by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem and Jan Miense Molenaer, renowned Dutch masters from the seventeenth century. These pieces are spruced up with relief décor and intricately shaped handles with acanthus swirls and pine cones.
The vases arrived disassembled, with no handles and numerous lost fragments, which had to be restored by the experts from the Tsarsksoye Selo Amber Workshop. These unique historical objects are now on display at the Alexander Palace.
The 1878 landscape by Aivazovsky, one of Alexander III’s favourite painters, is expected to grace the halls of the Alexander Palace. It originates from the picture collection of merchant Kokorev, a native of Tsarskoye Selo and the tsar’s competitor in collecting. Alexander III later bought almost all of Aivazovsky’s canvases from Kokorev’s collection, hanging them at the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg and the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.
After the 1917 revolution, many of those paintings went to the State Russian Museum and to some museums in Moscow, while the Alexander Palace was left with only two. The Night In Istanbul will be a worthy decoration for the WWII stricken former residence of the last monarch of Russia.
Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays Topic: Alexander III
A new exhibition dedicated to Emperor Alexander III will open next week in Finland. Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays will open February 14th and run till May 18th, 2014 at the Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka, Finland.
The exhibition is a joint venture with the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Kymenlaakso and the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.
Alexander III ruled Russia and served as the Grand Prince (Duke) of Finland from 1881 to 1894. The Finns built a fishing lodge for the emperor in Langinkoski, Kotka (1889), to where Alexander III and his family retired for a few days in the summer, to lead a modest country life. The emperor spent his days fishing and chopping wood while his Danish-born spouse Dagmar, also known as Marie Feodorovna, made food for the family. The freedom the emperor enjoyed in Langinkoski in the summers was in stark contrast to the highly regulated life and court etiquette that he had to endure in St Petersburg.
The Alexander III and Finland exhibition showcases the life and leisure of the imperial family through paintings, watercolours and period items. Alexander III made a total of 31 trips to Finland, occasionally accompanied by Albert Benois, who immortalised the landscapes of these trips in his watercolours. The exhibition also includes a few paintings that depict the landscapes of south-eastern Finland. A wholly different perspective is revealed by pieces that depict the emperor’s official life in St Petersburg and his coronation in Moscow.
The exhibition includes portraits of the emperor and empress painted by Ivan Kramskoi and Carl Wenig’s oil painting Russian Girl. The exhibition is complemented by numerous period objects, such as glass and silver Fabergé items and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory, including a plate that belonged to a set used on the emperor’s yacht Tsarevna. Some of the items from the collections of the State Russian Museum will be displayed in Finland for the first time.
From the National Museum of Finland, the exhibition includes parts of the emperor and empress’ personal washing set and a screen given to the empress as a gift, designed by Albert Edelfelt and Gunnar Berndtson.
The exhibition is further complemented by items on loan from the Imperial Fishing Lodge in Langinkoski, which celebrates its 125th anniversary. The items will be displayed in the Museum of Kymenlaakso’s main exhibition from 14 February to 30 September 2014. Visitors can look forward to seeing, for example, authentic silverware used at the fishing lodge, a waffle iron adorned by the two-headed eagle of Russia and a pair of sturgeon-patterned silver fish server.
The Alexander III and Finland exhibition also includes a publication with the same title, which will be available in Finnish, Russian and English from the Vellamo museum shop.
Portrait of Lenin Reveals Hidden Portrait of Tsar Nicholas II Topic: Nicholas II
NOTE: This article was updated with a VIDEO (in Russian) on Friday, February 28th, 2014 - PG
A unique discovery was made last summer at the 206th School in St. Petersburg. A portrait of Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin which had hung in the school for decades was being prepared for restoration when restorers noted some damage in the bottom corner revealing a small painted fragment of someone’s boots. Experts from the State Russian Museum were called in and upon closer examination discovered a painted over portrait of Tsar Nicholas II underneath.
The portrait was then transferred to the St. Petersburg Art and Industry Academy (founded in 1876 as the School of Technical Drawing of Baron Alexander von Stieglitz) where it was carefully examined further by staff. The portrait of Lenin by Vladislav Izmailovich depicts the Bolshevik leader with the Peter and Paul Fortress, the burial place of the Russian tsars in the background. Academy staff used varnish to remove the water-soluble layer of paint on Lenin’s portrait revealing the original portrait of the tsar, painted by the Russian artist Ilya Galkin Savich (1860-1915).
Savich's works are little known outside of Russia, but his portraits and other paintings are in the collections of the State Russian Museum. Towards the end of the 19th century, among his admirers were members of the Imperial family. His other portraits of members of the Imperial family include Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Vyacheslav Mashkov, the Head of the Department of Painting and Restoration at the Academy, noted: "It's amazing how well preserved the portrait is. It is in great condition!"
The formal unframed portrait of Nicholas II is now on display in the Great Hall of the Art and Industry Academy in St. Petersburg. Several reference sites are visible, however, staff are confident that a full restoration is possible. The full restoration of the portrait will be carried out with the assistance of experts from the State Hermitage and State Russian Museums in St. Petersburg.
To watch a video (in Russian) of the discovery of the hidden portrait, please click on the following link;
Portrait of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Presented at State Historical Museum Topic: Sergei Alexandrovich
Portrait of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich by Karl Lemokh
The exhibition The Romanovs: Portrait of a Dynasty, will close on February 10th at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, however, one final interesting touch to compliment the exhibit in its final week is a unique portrait of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (1857-1905).
The small portrait is slightly larger than the album the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich is reading at his summer residence at Ilyinskoe. The portrait was painted in 1886 and was intended, according to historians, as a gift to his wife, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. The portrait was painted by the Russian painter of German origin Karl Lemokh (1841-1910). A graduate of the Academy of Arts, he was one of the founders of the Wanderers. His works can be seen in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Lemokh, received the Orthodox name of Cyril at the Russian Court of. He accepted an invitation to give private lessons in drawing and painting to the children of the Emperor Alexander III, including His Imperial Highness the Heir Tsarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich, the eldest son of Alexander III, the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. However, his most talented pupil was the younger sister of Nicholas, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. Olga took a serious interest in painting, one that she enjoyed for the rest of her life. During her lifetime, she painted more than 2,000 paintings, and today are highly sought after by collectors.
Lemokh's portrait of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich will be on display at the State Historical Museum until February 10, along with other paintings and photographic portraits of the imperial family during the final days of the exhibition The Romanovs. Portrait of a Dynasty. During my visit to Moscow in October 2013, I had the opportunity to visit this exhibit. The collection of paintings and photographs was superb! Many were new even to me, and the exhibit ranks among the finest that I have seen to date on the Romanov dynasty.
For more information on this exhibition, please refer to the following link;
Monument to Alexander I Erected in Lipetsk Region Topic: Alexander I
A new monument to the Emperor Alexander I has been unveiled in the village of Panikovets Zadonskiy in the Lipetsk region, situated approximately 438 km southeast of Moscow. The bust was created by the Russian sculptor, Alexander Apollonov and set in the village centre near the Church of the Epiphany, it was financed by donations raised by local residents. The ceremony was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Siberian Tomsk Elder Fyodor Kuzmich. An urban myth still exists to this day that the Emperor faked his own death in 1825, taking on the person of Kuzmich.
The solemn ceremony took place yesterday, February 3rd, 2014. The consecration of the monument was made by Metropolitan Nikon of Lipetsk and Zadonskiy. The opening of the monument was attended by public figures who arrived from Moscow, including representatives of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as local writers and historians.
Among the guests from Moscow was one of the main initiators of the project - Alexander Shurinov, who serves as the chairman of the society of descendants of heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812. Shurinov’s great-grandfather fought during the war against Napoleon and invading French troops. According to Shurinov, many heroes of the war came from the villages of this district. He went on to say that there are plans to establish other historical monuments in the Lipetsk region, including another monument to Emperor Alexander I near the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Christ in Lipetsk. During his reign, Alexander I visited Lipetsk in 1805 where he gave his approval of a now famous balneological resort in the region.
Popular Romanov Exhibition to Open in St. Petersburg Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds Topic: Exhibitions
This time lapsed video of the Moscow exhibit shows the amount of preparation that went into the exhibition installation at the Manege in November 2013. It also provides fantasic views which depict the sheer size of the exhibition itself. The popular exhibit allows Russians to learn about the Romanov dynasty and the contribution they made to Russia's history. The exhibition will tour other major Russian cities including Vladivostok, Kazan, Voronezh, Samara and Sochi and Ekaterinburg.
Orthodox Russia - The Romanovs: My Story, the popular Romanov exhibition marking the 400th anniversary which took Moscow by storm in November 2013 is scheduled to open in St. Petersburg this month. Beginning February 16th, St. Petersburg residents will have an opportunity to explore this unique exhibition, which tells the history of the Romanovs with the latest multimedia technology.
During the exhibition in Moscow at the Manege exhibition hall it caused an incredible stir. The exhibit was so popular that it had to be extended twice to accomodate the number of visitors. In three weeks it was visited by more than three hundred thousand people.
The exposition is devoted to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. During the reign of the Romanov dynasty in Russia there was a lot of great geographical discoveries, the dawn of the "Golden Age" of Russian culture, the victory over Napoleon and the Industrial Revolution. Visitors to the exhibition will travel through the centuries, to visualize the entire history of dynasty with modern technology: 3D- animated collages and installations, touch tables and panels, lightboxes and a giant plasma screen size is four times the face of the Kremlin chimes.
The exhibition runs from February 16 - March 2, 2014 at the St. Petersburg Lenexpo. Admission is free.
Important Romanov Letters, Photographs to be Auctioned at Paris Topic: Auctions
Olivier Coutau-Begarie have announced their next Souvenirs Historiques auction to be held on March 21st, 2014 in Paris, France. The auction will offer correspondence and photographs of the Imperial Court of Russia and the Royal Courts of Britain, Greece and Denmark. More than 3,000 letters and 4,000 photographs to members of the members of the Romanov, Orleans, Windsor and Oldenburg families, from Princess Marie d'Orléans (1865 - 1909) and her husband Prince Valdemar of Denmark (1858-1939) will be offered.
Of particular interest are the correspondence addressed to the Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia by her brother, Prince Valdemar. These rare and unpublished letters cover the period 1917-1925, recording the tragic events of the Russian Revolution, from the fall of the Romanovs to the exile of members of the Russian Imperial family. They also reveal the final moments of Tsar Alexander III in 1894, and the splendour of the coronation of the last Tsar of Russia in 1896. The photographs were taken by the princess and her father, Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres, between 1890 and 1909. They include previously unseen photographs of the Romanov, Windsor, Oldenburg and Orleans families.
The auction will take place at the Hotel Drouot in Paris on Friday 21st March, 2014. Further details of this auction will be posted on Royal Russia as they are made available.
Requiem for Murdered Grand Dukes Held in St. Petersburg Topic: Peter and Paul Fortress
January 30th marked the 95th anniversary of the murders of the Grand Dukes Paul Alexandrovich, Dmitry Konstantinovich, and brothers Nicholas and George Mikhailovich at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. Last Thursday, about 100 monarchists and Orthodox faithful gathered at the Peter and Paul Cathedral where a requiem was held for the four grand dukes. The requiem was led by Archimandrite Alexander Fedorov, and assisted by the rector of the Leushinsky Monastery in St. Petersburg Archpriest Gennady Belovolov.
The grand dukes were among 17 members of the Romanov family murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918-19, the last four taking place in St. Petersburg. The Peter and Paul Fortress, which was built by Peter the Great to protect the capital of Russia, became the place of execution of four Romanov grand dukes. They were shot together, along with other citizens of St. Petersburg, an act of revenge by the new government for the death of two revolutionaries in Germany, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
In 1981, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad glorified the new martyrs and confessors of all members of the House of Romanov, murdered in 1918-19. This honour, however, was denied Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, the reason being that the grand duke had been "a socialist, an atheist, and a Mason."
St. Petersburg Lawmakers Attack Bill on Imperial Russian Flag Topic: Imperial Russia
The black-yellow-and-white tricolour flag was the official national flag of the Russian Empire from 1858 to 1883. In 1858, Alexander II ordered for the black-yellow-white flag to be used during celebrations. In 1865, the emperor issued a decree naming black orange (later “golden yellow”), and white as the state colours of Russia. Today, the flag is being used by Russian Nationalists and Monarchists. It is such a shame that a proud symbol of Imperial Russia has created so much negative media attention today - Paul Gilbert
A bill aimed at officially designating the imperial Russian flag a historical symbol has irked a number of deputies in the St. Petersburg legislative assembly, who say that the legislation is poorly crafted and potentially threatening to neighbouring countries.
The black-yellow-and-white tricolour flag was first introduced by Tsar Alexander II in 1858, but has been widely adopted by nationalist movements since the end of the 20th century.
United Russia's Vitaly Milonov, who introduced the bill to the assembly, said that the flag needs “to be cleared of its negative extremist symbolism” in order “to allow football fans to quietly carry it without being accused of extremism,” Regnum news agency reported Wednesday.
“We are not talking about forbidding anyone from using this flag, but it should not be a simple piece of cloth that can be thrown in a puddle,” Milonov said, Fontanka.ru reported.
Members of the Yabloko and A Just Russia parties were quick to criticize the proposal.
A Just Russia's Alexei Kovalev said the bill was a prime example of unprofessional legislation, and one that would surely sour the reputation of the assembly.
“It was this flag that became a symbol of the most notorious nationalist organizations, analogous to those, which are now fighting on” Independence Square in Kiev, Kovalev said, “Under this flag people are killed, it has become a symbol of extremism. Why should we make a political gesture today and support this symbol of extremism?”
The assembly's speaker, Vyacheslav Makarov, himself a member of United Russia, repeatedly turned off the podium's microphone during Kovalev's speech.
Another A Just Russia lawmaker, Marina Shishkina, said that much of the bill's explanatory note had been taken from the flag's Wikipedia page. About two-thirds of the article had been used, conspicuously leaving out the final paragraph detailing the flag's contemporary popularity among fascist-leaning nationalist parties.
Yabloko's Alexander Kobrinsky said that granting historical status to the flag would send an unmistakable message to Russia's neighbors that it was rediscovering its imperial ambitions.
Milonov, who coauthored the city's anti-gay legislation, refuted the suggestion and said Kobrinsky feared the revival of Russia as "a Great Power." "You want us to remain an uncrowned chicken,” Milonov said. At this point, Makarov once again shut off the podium's microphone, thereby ending the floor debate.
In the end, the draft legislation passed with 27 in favour, and 13 against. Deputies have three weeks to amend the bill before deliberating on the final version.
Russia's Hidden Treasure: The Mystery of Kolchak's Gold Topic: Kolchak, Admiral
The following article was originally published in the January 30th, 2014 edition of The International Business Times. The author Lydia Smith owns the copyright presented below.
Divers have begun searching for a £50 billion stash of royal gold in Lake Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake located in southeastern Siberia.
Kolchak's Gold, named after the commander of the Imperial Russia Navy Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak, is thought to have spilled into the lake around 100 years ago.
The gold is a significant portion of the Russian Empire's gold reserve, which came into the possession of Admiral Kolchak during the Civil War. Originally contained in Petrograd, now known as St Petersburg, the treasure was moved to the city of Kazan over fears the city may be occupied by German troops in 1915.
By mid-1918, the State Bank's vaults in Kazan contained over half of Russia's gold reserves. After a short while, the bullion was moved again by the Bolsheviks, who only managed to ship around 100 boxes of the treasure.
In August 1918, the city of Kazan was seized by the Czechoslovakian Legion, along with sections of the Komuch People's Army, an anti-Bolshevik movement during the Civil War.
The gold was brought to the State Bank's Omsk branch later that year. One month afterwards, Admiral Kolchak was declared Supreme Ruler of Russia and from then, the bullion was known as "Kolchak's gold".
The gold comprised coins and ignots, which was valued at around 645.4 million rubles in total. German marks, Spanish alfones, British sovereigns, American dollars, French francs, Chilean condors, Japanese yen and Greek drachmas were found in the hoard.
Where the treasure lies now is still a mystery, however. Divers are investigating Lake Baikal over rumours the gold was buried deep in the sediment after a train derailed into the water.
Another theory suggests troops belonging to the White faction in the Civil War were carrying the gold across the lake, but perished as the temperatures dropped to minus 60C. The gold is said to have sunk to the bottom of the lake in Spring, when the ice melted.
According to another, the gold remains in two sites. One half is hidden in the tangled passages underneath the city of Omsk, where Kolchak's main office was located. The other half is believed to be stashed in Zakhlamino, a nearby village.
Local folklore in the region of Krasnoyarsk, near the Yenisei River, suggests the gold is hidden in a mysterious graveyard where 500 White soldiers are thought to be buried.
For more information on the search for Kolchak's gold, please refer to the following article;