A Russian Moment No. 7 - Monument to Alexander II, Moscow Topic: A Russian Moment
On June 7th 2005, a new monument to Emperor Alexander II was unveiled near the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.
A previous statue of Alexander II by the Russian sculptor Alexander Opekushin was destroyed in 1918. Producing an exact copy of the previous monument--a superficial, lifeless imitation--would have been inappropriate. Nevertheless, surviving photographs and sketches of the first statue served to aid and direct the creators of the new work, the artists Alexander Rukavishnikov and Sergei Sharov, and the architect Igor Voskresensky.
Together these talented individuals developed their own vision of the statue. Their work combines elements of neoclassical monumental sculpture with new urban design. Facing the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the monument is a sign of the respect that many Russians today feel for their national history and the noble virtues of the Russian statehood.
The statue was consecrated by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II (1929-2008).
Monument to Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich at Kostroma Topic: Kostroma
A monument to Russia's first tsar of the House of Romanov, Mikhail Feodorovich (1596-1645) has been unveiled at Kostroma.
The bronze bust is three times smaller than the original created by Demut-Malinovsky. The unveiling of the new monument comes on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
Kostroma is home to the Ipatievsky Monastery where Mikhail Feodorovich lived before being offered the crown in 1612.
The Romanovs regarded Kostroma as their special protectorate. The Ipatievsky Monastery was visited by many of them, including Nicholas II. A wooden house of Mikhail Romanov is still preserved in the monastery.
Pageant of the Tsars: The Romanov Coronation Albums Topic: Exhibitions
The pomp and pageantry of imperial coronations were documented and promoted in lavish albums that became almost as important as the extravagant events themselves. To mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty in 1613, Hillwood Museum present a special exhibition of the albums created over the course of the family’s reign.
Over the course of their reign, the Romanovs celebrated coronations with elaborate celebrations, which included their grand entry into Moscow, fireworks, and the ruler symbolically crowning himself. Fully illustrating the grand celebration and all its details, sumptuous albums were created to spread word of the event and all its symbolism.
In the year of the 400th anniversary of the crowning of the first Romanov tsar, the most complete presentation ever of these coronation albums, including two copies of the monumental Alexander II album of 1856 with one in its original binding, will be on display at Hillwood. Beginning with Catherine I, Peter the Great’s wife, there were a total of seven coronation albums created by the Russian tsars—each published within a few years of the event. The exhibition will feature five albums from Hillwood's collection, plus supplemental material on loan from the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the University of Texas at Austin, bringing together six of the seven coronation albums together for the first time in an exhibition in the United States.
With objects from Hillwood’s Russian decorative arts and paintings collection—the most comprehensive one outside of Russia—an exploration of the Romanovs’ lasting influence on Russian art and culture will add to the understanding of their reign and the coronation albums. Coronation books from other countries such as the Holy Roman Empire will illustrate the bearing that the West had on the Romanovs and the dynamic relationship of the cultures.
These lavishly produced albums are art objects in their own right with eye-catching bindings and illustrations—primarily engravings and chromolithographs—by the best artists and craftsmen of their day. Published in small print runs they were presented to other courts, diplomats, family members, and important guests by the Tsar. Because they were not widely available beyond these circles, a public collection like Hillwood’s, with five of the seven albums, is rare. Featuring views of coronation processions and ceremonies; images of official dinners, balls, and imperial regalia; exact copies of dinner menus and more, the albums offer a fascinating portrait of the dynasty, and what each ruler wanted us to see and remember for posterity.
Pageant of the Tsars will run from February 16th to June 8th, 2013 at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C.
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 13 Topic: Nicholas II
Emperor Nicholas II arriving at the Governing Senate in St. Petersburg, 1911. The dome of Saint Isaac's Cathedral can be seen in the background. Photograph by Karl Bulla.
The Governing Senate was a legislative, judicial, and executive body of Russian monarchs. It was instituted by Emperor Peter I to replace the Boyar Duma. The Senate was chaired by the Ober-Procurator, who served as the link between the Sovereign and the Senate and acted in the Emperor's own words, as "the sovereign's eye".
Monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Planned for Perm Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan
A proposal to erect a monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich has been submitted to the city of Perm.
The monument by the Russian sculptor Rudolph Vedeneev would be erected in Decembrist Square, located in Perm's city center.
The final design has not yet been submitted, and one of the designs also includes Brian Johnson, who served as the grand duke's private secretary.
In March 1918, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson were sent to Perm where they were imprisoned. They were both murdered by the Bolsheviks on the night of June 11th, 1918.
Their remains have never been found. In August 2012 the SEARCH Foundation returned to Russia to search for the remains of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson. They plan to return in the summer of 2013 to continue their search.
There is currently one monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich in Perm, in the hotel where he and Johnson were held captive.
For more on Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson, please refer to the following articles;
Pair of Imperial Russian Vases Found in Oklahoma Topic: Antiques
Two vases from Russia’s Imperial Factory of porcelain were recently found in Oklahoma and have been identified by the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The vases are valued at $1.5–2.5 million and will be put on sale on Apr. 17 at the Dallas Auction Gallery in Texas.
These monumental vases, 4.4-feet-tall and dating back to 1832, are surely among the most beautiful pieces of Russian porcelain presented on the market in recent years. The estimated worth is $1.5–2.5 million for each vase.
Ekaterina Khmelnitskaya is the curator of the porcelain department at the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and the expert charged with the authentication of these pieces. “The discovery of these vases is a real event. They mark the golden age of Russian porcelain production during the reign of Nicholas I, and the quality of their execution is exceptional,” says Khmelnitskaya.
During the 19th century, monumental vases like these were created to decorate the vast Imperial palaces and residences. They were often commissioned by the emperor himself, who presented them to royal families or to foreign diplomats. Made in the classical style, their bellies portray reproductions of paintings by Dutch masters from the Hermitage’s collections. “These remarkable paintings are signed M. Golov and M. Meschcheniakov — undeniably the best copy-makers onto porcelain of that time,” Khmelnitskaya says. “And what a surprise to find these treasures of the czar in the middle of the Far West!”
The vases were bought from a Munich gallery in the mid-1920s by Frank Buttram. At the time, Buttram was an oil magnate, philanthropist and art enthusiast from Oklahoma traveling through Europe. Probably, then, the vases are among the countless Imperial riches scattered by the Communists upon their arrival to power.
After nearly a century in the family collection, the vases are finally to be presented to the public and will be put up for sale on Apr. 17 at the Dallas Auction Gallery. Buttram’s descendants have expressed the wish to see the vases return to their country of origin.
Naryshkin Treasures on View at Pavlovsk Topic: Pavlovsk
An exhibit which showcases many of the Naryshkin treasures found in a St. Petersburg mansion last year will go on display today at Pavlovsk Palace.
In March 2012, workers found an enormous cache during the restoration of the former Naryshkin mansion on Tchaikovsky Street in the city center. Nearly 2,000 items dating from the 19th-early 20th centuries had been hidden under the floors by the owners of the mansion prior to their escape from Russia during the Revolution.
Silverware, porcelain, medals and awards, jewellery, among other items were found wrapped in old newspapers, dated June-September 1917.
After their discovery, the cache was carefully packed into 40 boxes and coffers and sent to the Konstantin Palace at Stelna for examination and cataloguing.
In January, about 400 items were transferred to Pavlovsk Palace to be put on display. The Konstantin Palace at Strelna hosted an exhibit last year displaying a portion of its share of treasures. Organizers from both museums note that only half of the Naryshkin treasure has been put on display.
Over the decades similar caches of Imperial treasures have been found hidden in other palaces, including the Yusupov and Shuvalov in St. Petersburg.
The Naryshkin exhibit at Pavlovsk will run until June 1st, 2013. The ultimate fate of the collection has yet to be decided by the Ministry of Culture.
Historic St. Petersburg Church to Be Rebuilt Topic: Russian Church
Church of the Assumption. Artist: Karl Beggrov (1799-1875)
Architectural excavation work on Sennaya Ploshchad aimed at the possible rebuilding of the Church of the Assumption (also known as the Savior on Sennaya), which was located on the square until it was demolished in the 1960s, will begin next month, Interfax reported.
The square will be surrounded by fencing, and major excavation work will take place, exposing the engineering infrastructure on the site, according to Mikhail Malyushin, described by Interfax as the church’s parish priest.
Archaeological work will continue on the site throughout 2013, during which time the final plans for the new church are also to be worked out, Malyushin said.
Artist's concept of the newly rebuilt Church of the Assumption
The lead designer of the project, Rafael Dayanov, said that construction of the church could begin in 2014.
The foundation of the original church was uncovered during excavation of an entrance for the Spasskaya metro station.
While former St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko was in office, the idea of rebuilding the church on its historical site was first raised and a small chapel built on the spot. In 2011, work on establishing the original footprint of the church began.
The Church of the Assumption was built on Sennaya Ploshchad in the 18th century and was one of the city’s largest houses of worship. In the early 1960s, the church was demolished to make way for the metro station entrance now standing in the square.
Nicholas II Depicted in Serbian Graffiti Topic: Nicholas II
A rare historical figure is the subject of a graffiti drawing in Belgrade, Serbia. An enormous image of Emperor Nicholas II can now be found on Ulitsa Tsara Nikolaja II, in the Vrachapy district of the capital. I regret that the artist is unknown.
The Serbian people had great respect for the last Russian Tsar, never forgetting his coming to their aid in World War I.
On 24th July, 1914, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia sent Tsar Nicholas II the following telegram;
Yesterday the Austro-Hungarian Government presented to the Serbian Government a note about the murders at Serajevo. Ever since this horrible crime was committed Serbia has condemned it. We are willing to investigate the plot and we will severely punish any Serbians who are found to be involved. But, the demands from Austria-Hungary are unnecessarily humiliating for Serbia . However, they say we must agree to all of them in forty-eight hours or Austria-Hungary is threatening us with war. We are prepared to accept some of the conditions but we need more time and the Austro-Hungarian army is already preparing for war.
We are unable to defend ourselves and we beg your Majesty to help us. The friendship which your Majesty has always shown toward Serbia gives us confidence that our appeal to your noble heart will be answered.
On 27th July, 1914, Tsar Nicholas II sent Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia the following reply;
Your Highness was quite right to contact me and nor were you mistaken about the friendship I have for the Serbian people.
My Government is doing its utmost to smooth away the present difficulties. I have no doubt that neither you nor the Serbian Government will neglect any step which might lead to a settlement, and both prevent the horrors of a war and protect the national dignity of Serbia.
All efforts must be directed at avoiding bloodshed; but if, despite everything, there is war you can rest assured that Russia will never abandon Serbia to her fate.
According to Father Demtrios Serfes, on March 30, 1930, a telegram was published in the Serbian newspapers stating that the Orthodox inhabitants of the city of Leskovats in Serbia had appealed to the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church with a request to raise the question of the canonization of the late Russian Emperor Nicholas II, who was not only a most humane and pure-hearted Ruler of the Russian people, but who also died with the glory of a martyr's death.
Grand Imperial Crown Showcased in St. Petersburg Topic: Jewels
It took six months to make the replica of the Grand Imperial Crown that was showcased at a jewelers’ forum in St. Petersburg. Sixty jewelers from Smolensk made it for the 250th anniversary of the coronation of Catherine the Great and the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. A total of 11 thousand diamonds adorn the white gold crown.
The Imperial Crown of Russia, also known as the Great Imperial Crown, was used by the Emperors of Russia until the monarchy's abolition in 1917. The Great Imperial Crown was first used in a coronation by Catherine II, and was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II. Since December 20, 2000, the Imperial Crown has appeared on the Coat of arms of the Russian Federation.
It is currently on display in the Moscow Kremlin Armoury State Diamond Fund. No one is allowed even to touch that, and therefore that replica is the only one in the world. Jewelers are confident that a second replica will never be made. The replica will be exhibited in several Russian cities later this year.