A Russian Moment No. 5 - Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo Topic: A Russian Moment
This breathtaking aerial view of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo allows one to appreciate the sheer size of this magnificent Imperial residence.
When the German forces retreated after the Siege of Leningrad, they had the residence intentionally destroyed, leaving only the hollow shell of the palace behind. Prior to World War II, the Russian archivists managed to document a fair amount of the interior, which proved of great importance in reconstructing the palace. Although the largest part of the reconstruction was completed in time for the Tercentenary of St. Petersburg in 2003, much work is still required to restore the palace to its former glory.
It is interesting to note that the Catherine Palace offers accommodations for visitors to Tsarskoye Selo. The Hotel Ekaterina is located in the southern part of the semicircular wings of the Catherine Palace, offering comfortable accommodation (luxury and standard rooms). The view from the rooms across to the palace is extraordinary, both day and night (when the palace is illuminated). Staying at the hotel is a treat to say the very least, and you can go home and tell your friends that you stayed at the Catherine Palace!
Buxhoeveden Memoirs Published in Russia Topic: Books
The first Russian edition of The Life and Tragedy of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
The Russian publisher Grif, have published the first Russian edition of Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden's memoirs.
Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956) served as lady-in-waiting to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Her three books were considered to give one of the best accounts of the Romanov family's life and final days. They were Life and Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna, published in 1928; Left Behind: Fourteen Months in Siberia During the Revolution, published in 1929; and Before the Storm, published in 1938.
Her memoirs were out of print for decades until the 1990s, when they were reissued by Gilbert's Books (the publishing division of Royal Russia).
The publisher will hold a book launch for the new Russian edition at the Russian Orthodox University in Moscow on February 4th.
Plans are underway to install a bust of Empress Maria Feodorovna (born Danish Princess Dagmar) on the Kejserinde Dagmars Plads in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen later this year.
The foundation of the bust is copied from the monument of Emperor Alexander III (husband of Maria Feodorovna), which was erected in Fredensborg Castle park in 1903.
The bust of the Empress is created by sculptor Sergey Boguslavskiy.
The bust of Alexander III was erected in the park of Fredensborg Castle in 1903, nine years after the Emperor’s death, by the initiative of the neighbors of the Imperial villa, Kajservaj 1, Fredensborg. These people respected the Russian Emperor for his personal qualities and thus wished to honour his memory.
The Emperor bought the villa in 1885, and enjoyed it during numerous visits to “Father-in-law of Europe” – King Christian IX.
The project has been spearheaded by the Cultural Society Dagmaria, in Denmark, the bust will be erected in honour of the 400th anniversary of Romanov Dynasty in 2013.
The Loss of the Palaces: Tsarskoye Selo in 1941-1944 Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Loss of the Palaces: Tsarskoye Selo in 1941-1944 is a photo exhibit set out in the Third Antechamber of the Catherine Palace from January 25 to March 3, 2013.
The photographs on display come from the collections of Bair Irincheyev and Denis Zhukov and from a German World War II soldier's album donated to our Museum by Mr. Irincheyev. The amateur shots of 1941-1944 reflect the wreckage of the years when Tsarskoye Selo suffered under the Nazi occupation.
Looking at the rare photos obtained at German online auctions within the last decade, one of the collectors says that many Nazis obviously thought of their invasion as "tourism", an exciting adventure for shot-taking. Almost half of them brought cameras and made up photo albums, which then got into family archives and now are often sold out by the soldiers’ descendants.
The two collectors’ trophies are supplemented with items from our holdings, including the photographs and Leica camera of a German soldier, donated by his daughter, and a 1941-42 journal of a German officer stationed in Pushkin during the occupation (donated by his descendant).
For the first time on museum display in Russia, courtesy of the Berlin-based researcher Dimitri Silbermann, the copies of the photographs made in November-December 1941 by an amateur photographer from the 58th Infantry Division, a unit of the German army (Wehrmacht) under Generalleutnant Friedrich Altrichter then quartered in Slutsk (now Pavlovsk).
Our knowledge of the Nazi occupation of Pushkin town is still fragmentary because the extensive documents of that period are dispersed in hundreds of archives around the world and waiting to be processed, which makes the available wartime photographs of Tsarskoye Selo parks and palaces very interest-worthy.
Kremlin Museums Announces Two Romanov Exhibitions Topic: 400th Anniversary
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.
Russian Imperial House Honours Paul Gilbert Topic: Paul Gilbert
The edict signed by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna; the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislav, III Class
The Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House has announced that Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has elevated Paul Gilbert to the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislav, III Class.
The Order is being given in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Russian Imperial House. Gilbert is best known for his Royal Russia web site and blog, the publisher of more than 30 books and magazines on the Romanov dynasty, his support of the Russian monarchy, and his personal dedication to distributing accurate information about the House of Romanov and to highlighting the importance of the Russian Imperial House in today's Russia.
The edict was signed by HIH on January 7th, 2013. The date for the presentation ceremony is expected to take place in Moscow later this year.
It is truly a rare privilege for non-Russians to receive one of the historic Imperial orders of knighthood.
The Derzhavin Palace in St. Petersburg will host Potemkin Evenings in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty beginning on January 16th.
A total of 20 concerts will be offered over the next 6 months. Each concert will be dedicated to a member of the Romanov dynasty, including: Anna Ivanovna, Elizabeth Petrovna, Peter III, Catherine II, Paul I, Maria Feodorovna, Alexander I, Elizabeth Alexeyevna. Plus, a special concert dedicated to Prince Potemkin of Tauride.
The concerts will feature the Soloists of Catherine the Great, under the direction of violinist Andrei Reshetin. Each concert will offer authentic historic music of Russia's past, including classical and Baroque works, as well as forgotten masterpieces of Russian music of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The first two concerts: Russian Quartets of the 18th Century (January 16th), and Home Baroque of the 18th Century (January 30th).
The Soloists of Catherine the Great was created by Andrei Reshetin in 2007, along with the choir Tauris. The group are named after the great musicians who served at the Court of Catherine the Great.
Organizers point out the historical interiors of the palace will provide ambiance for guests to immerse themselves in the bygone era of 18th century St. Petersburg.
The former palace of the famous Russian poet, Gavriil Derzhavin is situated on the Fontanka Embankment in central St. Petersburg.
Kuskovo, the mid-18th century retreat of the Sheremetyev family near Moscow, has the expected neoclassical palace, gardens and pond. But among the white columns and gilded parlors is a more unusual bit of architecture: a fantastical grotto inspired by Neptune’s underwater kingdom.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, lavishly decorated grottos were a popular feature at the estates of European elites. Among the most famous was the grotto at Ludwig II’s Linderhof in Bavaria, a watery den inspired by Wagner’s “Tannhäuser.”
German architect Fyodor Afgounov built Kuskovo’s grotto between 1756 and 1761. It lost some of its treasures when the French ransacked the estate during the War of 1812, but most of the pavilion survived intact. Today, it’s the only one of its kind left in Russia. Here’s a look at the seashells, seaweed, dragons and other curiosities inside.
The lavish Baroque structure is composed of a main room (meant to be Neptune’s throne room) and two side wings, with marble laid over the walls and floors. The grotto’s cool temperature made it an inviting place for guests to seek respite during the summer months. The green-and-gold iron grilles on the windows and doors, intended to look like seaweed, were made by serf artisans in the town of Pavlovo.
The circular windows ringing the base of the cupola were once entirely open, which helped keep the temperature low. The pictures of whales and sea turtles that now cover them are remnants from a recent exhibition about sea creatures.
The fantastical flowers, birds and plants that ornament the grotto’s walls took 14 years to complete. To create them, artisan Johann Focht used seashells, moss, mother of pearl, glass shards and tuff (a rock made of volcanic ash). The seashells, which number 26 types in all, come from the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Black Sea, as well as bodies of water outside Moscow.
The central room holds three genre paintings that are heavily studded by shells; they depict a deer, a romantic meeting by a fountain and a comedic scene involving a noblewoman slaying a pheasant. Iron garden furniture next to the panels encouraged noble visitors to put up their feet.
Statues of Greek and Roman deities such as Juno once occupied the empty pedestals along the walls. Some statues fell prey to theft, while others have lost limbs. But a variety of sculptures remain to guard the grotto’s peripheries, including a dapper monkey in a hat and an armless noblewoman carrying a basket.
A number of animal figures are hiding amidst the swirling shell patterns on the walls. In the room to the right, a pelican perches above a window, while a gaping white seahorse bobs by the main window of the room to the left. Look up: in both side rooms, dragons writhe on the ceiling.
Simply hearing the name Fabergé evokes the splendor and extravagance of late 19th and early 20th century Imperial Russia. The House of Fabergé designed the renowned Imperial Easter Eggs for the Romanov family, as well as an array of objets d'art, luxurious gifts, and practical items for the wealthy patrons ofEurope.
Visitors can glimpse this grandeur in a special exhibition, Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision , from the McFerrin Collection and hear from more than half a dozen internationally-recognized experts, including Tatiana Fabergé, great-granddaughter of Carl Fabergé, during a special one-day symposium in advance, Jan. 31. The exhibition opens to the public Feb. 1.
Featuring more than 350 objects, highlights include two Fabergé eggs recently added to the collection-the breathtaking Diamond Trellis Imperial Egg and one of the celebrated Kelch Eggs. The exhibition also includes past favorites such as the famed Nobel Ice Egg, the dazzling Empress Josephine Tiara, and the ornate Fire Screen Frame, a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. New additions to the collection include several important Imperial presentation boxes and other objects d'lux.
The McFerrin Collection
In recent years, the McFerrin Collection has become one of the world's most significant private Fabergé collections. Tatiana Fabergé, calls it "one of those rare gems."
"The McFerrin Collection on extended loan will bring such pleasure to the many visitors, both young and old, who again will have the opportunity to dream and imagine the glory of the past," Fabergé said. "This will both educate and enrich the art experience of the American public and allow them to be captivated by the magic of the Fabergé genius so that they can perhaps understand just a little of what has drawn the McFerrins to create such an outstanding collection."
While many pieces in this collection have been featured individually in other exhibitions and publications over the past 60 years, the 2010 exhibition organized by HMNS, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars marked the first time that the McFerrin Collection was presented to the public.
"We have had the distinct privilege of having ring side seats from which to watch one of the most important private Fabergé collections in the world being built, and then entrusted to our care," said Joel A. Bartsch, president of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. "We are very thankful to the McFerrins' for letting us continue to share these beautiful, masterful and important pieces-many for the first time ever-with the Museum and its 2.5 million annual visitors."
To celebrate the opening of the McFerrin Collection , the Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting a Fabergé Symposium featuring leading experts from across the globe: Tatiana Fabergé, Switzerland; Tim Adams, USA; Alice Ilich, Australia; Galina Korneva, Russia; Christel McCanless, USA; Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, Finland; and Annemiek Wintraecken, the Netherlands.
Full registration also includes specialized tours of the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals and Smith Gem Vault, and a preview of the McFerrin Fabergé collection before it opens to the public. In addition to scholarly lectures and an advance preview of the exhibition, attendees can observe demonstrations of gem-cutting and metalsmithing techniques employed by Fabergé craftsmen. Following the presentations, The McFerrins will give a short presentation about their collecting adventure. Breakfast and lunch are included in the Symposium ticket. Tickets are based on availability.