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Thursday, 11 October 2012
The Tsar's Cabinet Exhibition, Edmonton
Topic: Exhibitions


A new exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Canada  provides a glimpse into the lost opulence of Imperial Russia.

The Russian court under the Romanovs was famous for its excess. Beginning with Michael I and ending with the tragic loss of Nicholas II, who was executed during the Russian Revolution, the Romanovs spent lavishly to demonstrate their authority and enlightenment. Each successive generation of Tsars surpassed the other in an effort to show the world that their court was the best and brightest, and was a European power to be admired and feared.

The dazzling porcelains and superb decorative arts in this exhibition are a reflection of the private and public splendour of the life of the Romanovs.

The Tsars' Cabinet is developed from the Kathleen Durdin Collection and is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

The exhibition runs until January 2nd, 2013.

© Royal Alberta Museum. 11 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:37 AM EDT
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Saturday, 6 October 2012
Exhibition of 17th-20th Century Head-Dresses Opens in Tula
Topic: Exhibitions


Princess Zinaida Yusupova wearing a traditional Russian head-dress. Portrait by Konstantin Makovsky (1895) 

A new exhibition has been opened in the Antiquities Museum Exhibition Center at Tula.

The exhibition will acquaint visitors with the peculiarities of head-dresses during the 17th - early 20th centuries.

The kokoshnik is the more commonly used name for a variety of traditional Russian head-dresses worn by women and girls to accompany the sarafan. They  have always been considered a reflection of the epoch, the styles of which changed together with its laws, customs, and governors. 

Head-dresses were divided into daily and festive ones, the latter having a variety of ornaments and decorations. Festive head-dresses and headgears of the rich and privileged classes were often decorated with furs and jewels. 

All visitors of the exhibition will have a chance to learn about the history and rules of wearing head-dresses in Russia.

The exhibition runs till the beginning of April, 2013.

© Tula Foto and Paul Gilbert. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 10:40 AM EDT
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Moscow Kremlin in 1812
Topic: Exhibitions


Photo credit: Moscow Kremlin Museums 

The exhibition The Kremlin in 1812: War and Peace that has been staged in the Moscow Kremlin’s Armoury – the treasure-house of Russian tsars – will run from October 4 through January 10.

This exhibition provides information about the efforts that were made to save the priceless exhibits during Napoleon’s invasion, when Moscow was surrendered to Napoleon’ troops.

The Armoury is the first public museum of Moscow. In 1806 Emperor Alexander I of Russia signed a decree to set up the Armoury to keep national treasures, including tsars’ regalia, historical relics, and sacred things there. The construction of the building on the Kremlin’s territory for this purpose was completed in 1812. Parallel with this, work was done to select the exhibits for the Armoury, Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums Yelena Gagarina says.

"It required 6 years to create the inventories and to classify the monuments. When the came to move to the new building this was impossible to realize because information appeared that Napoleon was on his way to Moscow. It was necessary to immediately evacuate the treasures from the Kremlin’s territory."

It was exactly that dramatic page that marked the beginning of the history of the Russian Armoury. Packaging work started after it became known that the French troops had entered Smolensk, the key town on Russia’s western border. More than 150 carts and wagons were needed to take away both the exhibits and documents. When all of them reached Kolomna near Moscow, they were loaded on ships to be transported to Nizhny Novgorod in the Volga Region.

Meanwhile, fires started in Moscow that was surrendered to the French troops. Historians are still involved in the heated debates about who was to blame for the then fires: the Russians or the French. The exhibition in Moscow offers proof in favour of none of these versions… And still, among the items on display is the English watch that belonged to the adjutant of the Moscow governor – Lieutenant Obreskov. According to family legend, it gave a signal to numerous acts of arson in Moscow. The city was burned down to ashes but the Kremlin survived. However, serious damage was done to it because the French turned its palaces and churches into storehouses and stables. Napoleon received no response from Russia to his proposal for peace, but leaving Moscow he ordered the destruction of the Kremlin. Fortunately, his order was not carried out. Nearly one year passed before the collections of the Russian Armoury returned to Moscow, the exhibition’s curator Viktoriya Pavlenko says.

"After the French troops left Moscow, the Armoury’s new building that was built shortly before the war – by 1813 was restored, and the Armoury’s valuables returned to the Kremlin."

The conduct of the Russian troops that defeated Napoleon’s army and entered Paris was different compared with the conduct of the French troops in Moscow. On display at the exhibition is a weapon set that the Paris residents gave General von der Osten-Sacken as a present, who in 1814 was appointed the governor of Paris, as a sign of gratitude for nobility and quietness displayed by the Russian troops.

© The Voice of Russia. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:48 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 9:54 AM EDT
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Friday, 31 August 2012
Exhibitions on War of 1812 Set to Open in Moscow
Topic: Exhibitions


On display at the two exhibitions dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon in the Patriotic War of 1812, due to open in Moscow on August 31st, are various items, including letters of the Russian Emperor, and also drawings of the crowned heads dating back to their childhood and their poems.

One of these exhibitions is prepared by the Federal Archival Agency of the Russian Federation and the other – by the House of Russia Abroad.

The majority of exhibits are put on view for the first time. Studying the authentic documents, visitors can easily gain an understanding of both the political reasons and consequences of the war against Napoleon. Reports from the battlefields, the plans of the battles, and officers’ service records are very helpful in studying the developments in the Patriotic War of 1812. Visitors can also see Russian and French firearms and orders. The exhibition staged by the House of Russia Abroad is dedicated rather to observing the memory of the Patriotic War of 1812 by the Russian immigrants of the first wave, including the military first of all, than to the war as such.

One of the most exciting exhibits is the file of the St. Petersburg newspaper “Severnaya Pochta” (“Northern Mail”) for 1812 that has survived by some miracle, including the issue where the Russian Emperor declares the beginning of the war against France.

By the way, 50 years ago when the 150 anniversary of the war against Napoleon was celebrated, the Society of the Lovers of Military Antiquities that existed in Paris at that time struck a medal with the head of Emperor Alexander I of Russia, the winner in that war. This medal is exhibited too, and Emperor Alexander I is called the blessed on it. “This was the initiative of the historian of the Russian army who emigrated from Russia Anton Kersnovsky”, another historian, Igor Domnin, says:

“After Emperor Alexander I made a serious blunder and broke off relations with Napoleon, he started acting irreproachably. He defended Russia’s honour and dignity in the Patriotic War of 1812, proving that he was really blessed in his life”.

There are sensational materials at the exhibition in Moscow too. Meaning a series of drawings showing the guardsmen of Emperor Alexander I of Russia in the 1812 uniforms.

"What created a sensation at the exhibition was the fact that all these drawings were made by the next Russian emperor - Alexander II, at that time the Cesarevitch (Crown Prince in tsarist Russia)."

For 19th-century Russia the war with Napoleon became an unprecedented example of the unity of the Russian people. And now the memory of the past war should add something to this too, the organizers of the two exhibitions say.

© The Voice of Russia. 31 August, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:58 AM EDT
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Saturday, 18 August 2012
Exhibition With a Century-Old History
Topic: Exhibitions


The former Lenin Museum will house the new Museum of the 1812 Russian-French War 

The museum of the 1812 Russian-French War, which was recently built in Moscow, is preparing to open in September, when the main festivities devoted to 200 years since Russia’s victory in that war will take place.

In fact, such a museum might have opened already a century ago, in 1912, when Russia was celebrating 100 years since the victory. At that time, initiators of the museum collected items, which had to do with the 1812 war, all over Russia – documents, personal things of the war’s participants and so on.

“In 1912, these items were shown at a large preliminary exhibition in the Moscow Historic Museum,” the current director of this museum Alexey Levykin narrates. “Emperor Nicholas II himself visited this exhibition.”

“It looked like only one step was left for a museum of the 1812 war to open in Russia,” Mr. Levykin says. “But then, the First World War broke out, which was followed by the 1917 revolution, and later, the Second World War. The idea of the museum was altogether forgotten. It looked like there remained no chances that it would ever come into being.”

However, before the 200th anniversary of the victory of 1812, another attempt of opening the museum was taken – this time, successful. It took only one year to build a new facility for this museum. The two-storey building is situated in the inner yard of the the *Historic Museum (former Lenin Museum and Moscow Duma), near the Red Square. “Hidden” in the yard, it is unseen from the outside, so the traditional look of the historic center of Moscow has not changed at all.

The new museum’s exposition includes such rare exhibits as a military uniform of Emperor Alexander I, who ruled Russia during the 1812 war, a set of pistols which Napoleon once presented to one of his generals (at that time, Napoleon has not proclaimed himself an emperor yet, but occupied the post of the First Chancellor of the French Republic) and a sword which used to belong to Napoleon himself. By an irony of fate, after the 1917 revolution, this sword somehow came to belong to a man who served in the Red Army and fought against opponents of the Bolshevik regime.

Among the other exhibits, there are personal items of soldiers and generals, both Russian and French, who took part in that war, and documents of the wartime, including orders signed by Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who commanded the Russian army during the 1812 war.

In total, the exhibition counts about 2,000 items. All of them were presented at the exhibition in the Historic Museum in 1912, and all were represented in a catalogue of that time, now a rarity, that will also be presented at the exhibition which is due to open soon.

Note: The building was originally constructed in 1887 by the architect Dmitry Chichagov. It served as the Moscow City Duma (City Hall) up until 1917. After the Revolution, the duma was disbanded and the building was handed over to the Lenin Museum. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Lenin Museum was closed due to the lack of visitors. The building was handed over to the State Historical Museum. - PG

© The Voice of Russia. 18 August, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 August 2012 7:06 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 July 2012
Catherine the Great Exhibition Opens in Edinburgh
Topic: Exhibitions


The exhibition Catherine the Great: An Enightened Empress opened today at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. More than three hundred works of art associated with the image and life of one of the most famous women in the history of Russia on loan fromthe Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg are on display until 21st of October, 2012.

Writers continue to write books about her, the theatre and cinema constantly return to the image of this great woman. Who could have thought that a modest German princess called Sophia Frederica Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst, who was brought to Russia at the age of 16 to marry the heir to the Russian throne, would become Empress Catherine the Great. Catherine’s first portrait in Russia, painted by an unknown artist, is just a picture of an ordinary nice young girl. Eighteen years later, in the coronation portrait by Danish artist Vigilius Eriksen she looks a sovereign.

Contemporary western cinema, in the opinion of historian Olga Yeliseyeva, distorts the image of Catherine the Great emphasizing her German origin.

“Catherine spoke a very good Russian without an accent. We have a lot of documents at our disposal that Catherine wrote in Russian. It is true that she made small mistakes in spelling and punctuation but this is also true of many Russian women. In any case, what did it mean to be Russian in the Russian Empire? People could be of the German origin but at the same time feel Russian, accept the Russian ways and live like Russians.

Catherine adopted a lot of Russian features, such as generosity, taste for luxury and living in style. Catherine’s gifts to her favourites and the luxury of her court became legendary. The exhibition in Edinburgh shows jewellery, dresses and accessories made by the best craftsmen of the time. Even snuff-boxes and perfume bottles are studded with precious stones. Catherine was interested in Chinese art and loved the elegant gold hair clasps that were given to her by the Chinese Emperor. She commissioned first-rate silver and porcelain sets for the dining-rooms of her palaces and she bought large collections of European art to arrange a picture gallery in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The Imperial Museum was to show the world that Russia had the right to be called a European country and the Russian Empress was well-educated. She bought paintings by Giordano, Rembrandt, Van Dyke and Velasquez. The National Museum of Scotland displays Rubens’ Apotheosis of James I from the Walpole collection bought by Catherine in 1779. This collection belonged to British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. It was famous all over Europe and was sought after by many art collectors. However, Sir Walpole’s grandson chose to sell the paintings to Russia. At that time Empress Catherine was already known to be an experienced art collector and an educated woman who corresponded with famous European philosophers and writers and wrote novels and plays herself.

At the presentation of the exhibition in St. Petersburg British Consul Gareth Word said that this year Russia and the UK were marking important dates in the history of their monarchies: Empress Catherine the Great ascended the throne 250 years ago and Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of her reign. The British Consul believes that for any country and nation the figure of a monarch symbolizes unity and permanent values even in the contemporary fast-changing world.

The exhibition Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress will undoubtedly be a great success, the staff of the National Museum of Scotland believe. A lot of applications to attend it have already been registered. The residents of the Scottish capital are eager to know the life story of that great woman ‘at first hand’, at the exhibition of works of art from the world-famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg which was actually founded by Catherine the Great.

© The Voice of Russia. 13 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:54 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 July 2012 5:12 PM EDT
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Peter the Great at the Hermitage Amsterdam
Topic: Exhibitions


Next year, the Hermitage Amsterdam will host a new exhibition dedicated to Peter the Great. 

The central theme for the year 2013 will be the special relationship between Russia, the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Golden Age, and Amsterdam’s canal ring inspired Peter the Great’s to found the city of St Petersburg. In the centuries that followed, this relationship grew stronger. In 1813, when Napoleon was defeated, the Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam, and a member of the House of Orange-Nassau married the daughter of a tsar. The year 2009 saw a crowning moment in relations between the Netherlands and Russia: the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum. The Hermitage Amsterdam will kick off the anniversary year of 2013 with a major exhibition about Peter the Great, the tsar who brought Russia into the modern age.

The exhibition will run from 26 February 2013 - 13 September 2013.

© Hermitage Amsterdam. 13 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
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Thursday, 5 July 2012
Video Tour of GARF Exhibit on Murder of Imperial Family
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Topic: Exhibitions

Join Alexey Litvin as he takes a group of visitors on a guided tour of the exhibition on the investigations into the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family at Ekaterinburg.

The exhibition is being hosted by the Federal State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow until July 29th.

Note: the video is in Russian, however, for those of you who do not understand the language, do not allow that to deter you from previewing the items on display in this historic exhibition.

For more information on this exhibition, please refer to the following articles:

||| Documents Relating to the Murders of Nicholas II and His Family Presented in Moscow + VIDEO |||

||| Investigation into Murders of Russian Royal Family Takes Nearly a Century |||

||| GARF Hosts Exhibition on the Death of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family |||

||| The Deaths of Tsar Nicholas II & His Family: Images from an Exhibition + VIDEO and 43 PHOTOS! |||

||| Russians Examine the Evidence Surrounding the Murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his Family |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:24 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2012 9:02 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Empress Catherine II: the Path to the Throne
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 1 second
Topic: Exhibitions

An exhibit called Catherine II: the Path to the Throne, dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the Russian empress’s ascension to the throne opens today, July 3, at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. The exposition focuses on the early period of Catherine's life in Russia: from her arrival in Russia to the time she became empress, ITAR-TASS reports.

The key sections of the exposition tell about the origins of the German princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg and her upbringing, arrival in Russia, conversion to the Orthodox faith, marriage to the heir to the throne, birth of her son and the palace coup on June 22 and subsequent coronation on September 22, 1762.

The creation of the exhibit was made possible in part by the Russian Museum, Tretyakov Gallery, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, State Archive of the Russian Federation, Peterhof museum reserve, and others.

© ITAR-TASS. 03 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2012 8:03 AM EDT
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Monday, 2 July 2012
Order of Malta Exhibition
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 51 seconds
Topic: Exhibitions


A unique exhibition dedicated to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta opened in the Moscow Kremlin on Monday.


On display are about 200 artifacts which were delivered to Russia from Italy, Malta and France

The goal is to give visitors a better understanding of the Order of Malta which was founded in Jerusalem in 1113. The world’s oldest surviving order of chivalry, the Order of Malta currently deals with a variety of issues, including those pertaining to the humanitarian sector.

Enhancing ties with Russia remains the organization’s priority, especially given that in 1798 Russian Emperor Paul I became the Grand Master of the Order of Malta.

© The Voice of Russia. 02 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:52 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 July 2012 8:52 AM EDT
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