Imperial Residences: A Four-Part Documentary Topic: Palaces
The palaces and residences at Tsarskoye Selo (the Catherine and Alexander Palaces); and Yalta (Livadia Palace), were among the most important residences of a succession of Russia's sovereigns and their August families.
This series of four documentaries explores the residences most favoured by four of the last five emperors: Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, and Alexander III. They were produced in 2008 by T.L. Tour and directed by Andrei Semak.
Each film explores the history of each palace, the further developments made to the Imperial residences that each of the reigning Russian monarch made to it.
Each film runs about 26 minutes with narration in Russian only.
Catherine Palace: Lyons Hall Displays its 19th-Century Furnishings Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Lyons Hall, Catherine Palace. Watercolour by Luigi Premazzi (1859)
The Lyons Hall of the Catherine Palace is one of the interiors waiting to be restored. At the present time, the Lyons Hall welcomes our visitors with the surviving items from its pre-war furnishings and a copy of Luigi Premazzi’s watercolour of 1878 titled The Lyons Hall (Yellow Drawing-Room) in the Great Palace of Tsarskoye Selo, which demonstrates its mid-nineteenth century splendour.
The interior is the creation of two architects: Charles Cameron and later Ippolito Monighetti. Decorated with lapis lazuli and a luxury silk wall lining from Lyons (hence the name), the hall was finished by Cameron in the eighteenth century Classical style in 1781-83. It was reworked in 1848-61 by Monighetti who treated Cameron’s work with great delicacy, intensifying the visual impact of the room by adding new furnishings: mirrors above the fireplaces, flanked by white marble cupids, and lapis-lazuli sconces on the walls. The room was filled with tables, jardinières, cachepots, screens, pedestals and desks.
Monighetti designed the gorgeous chandelier (see below left) for 84 candles made of lapis lazuli and gilded bronze, which beautifully completed the now-lost exquisite ceiling décor.
The architect’s highlight for the Lyons Hall is the gilt-bronze and lapis-lazuli furniture set (see below) with such a unique feature as the monogram of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, spouse of Alexander II. The initials are an indication of the owner for whom these pieces were specially commissioned in 1856 from the Peterhof Lapidary Works to spruce up the empress’s favourite interior of the palace. Its Afghan lapis lazuli of rich deep colour with golden speckles is superbly set off by the gilded bronze surroundings.
Besides the marvellous furniture set, also saved by the evacuation in 1941–44 and featured on the current display are the two paintings: Raphael’s Death by Felice Schiavoni (see below right) and The Sibyl of Libya by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) (below left).
Revival of the Ballroom Tradition Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 26 minutes, 15 seconds Topic: Imperial Russia
Balls were very popular events in 19th-century Russia. The latest Joe Wright's Anna Karenina film with Keira Knightley is a sufficient proof of how beautiful these balls were. Only the very wealthy were allowed to attend these fetes, which required some serious preparation. Those who attended had to wear a fashionable dress or a perfect suit, know the etiquette and be a confident dancer. Follow Russia Today correspondent James Brown for an in-depth look at Russian ballroom culture, and visit the major ball of the year.
State Hermitage Museum - No Celebrations Planned to Mark 250th Anniversary Topic: Winter Palace
The staff of the State Hermitage Museum will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the museum in a modest way, the director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky said at the meeting with the residents of St. Petersburg.
The Hermitage will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2014. As it had been previously reported by Piotrovsky, by its anniversary the museum plans to significantly expand its exhibition space and to open the new storages to the public. The activities related to the anniversary of the Hermitage, including the depository construction and the renovation of buildings, the publication of catalogs and updates of the website, will cost 13.03 billion rubles, of which 12.96 billion will come from the federal budget. "We are not planning any big celebrations: we will not have any special formal meetings, there will be no exhibitions gathered from around the world", - Piotrovsky reported.
Russian Imperial Porcelain Urn Sells for $152,500 Topic: Auctions
A 19th century urn from the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory proved to be the most valued lot at Bonhams' Fine American and European Furniture, Silver and Decorative Arts auction, which was held January 24 in New York.
The spectacular urn took the title of top lot, selling for $152,500. It was consigned from the property of the Jerome Dalseme Family Trust.
The urn was manufactured during the second quarter of the 19th century at the Imperial Porcelain Factory, which was established on the order of Empress Elizabeth in 1744. Producing handpainted ceramics, the factory made items exclusively for Russia's ruling Romanov family.
The factory is still functioning today, having survived the revolution and the Soviet era.
The urn depicts a young girl seated beside her bed, with the reverse painted with a wide border of neo-gothic style patterns. Unfortunately, it has recently been drilled and mounted as a lamp, hampering its final sale price.
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.