Amsterdam Examines Peter the Great, the Inspired Tsar Topic: Exhibitions
Prince Willem-Alexander at the Peter the Great exhibit, Amsterdam Hermitage
On March 8, Prince of Orange Willem-Alexander presided over the opening ceremony of the exhibition “Peter the Great, the Inspired Czar” at the Hermitage Amsterdam. The exhibition paints a picture of this unconventional, inspired and inquisitive Russian tsar, who by the time he took power at the age of 17 was determined to transform his country.
Peter is credited with reforming the military and the church, expanding trade and industry, and improving education and public health. He turned Russia into a great European power with a brand-new capital city: St Petersburg, his “window on the West.” With historical artifacts, paintings, gold jewelry from the ancient world, weapons and unique documents, the exhibition will sketch the life of this peerless ruler. From his youth Peter collected art, including a Rembrandt, planting the seed for St Petersburg’s later Hermitage collection.
An enthusiastic traveler, he visited Western Europe, including the Dutch Republic. It was the city of Amsterdam, in particular, that inspired him to found his new capital. Peter befriended many leading figures in Dutch society, such as Nicolaas Witsen (mayor of Amsterdam), Christoffel van Brants (shipper, and grain and arms merchant), Albert Seba (apothecary and collector of natural curiosities) and Frederik Ruysch (physician, anatomist and botanist).
Like a sponge, he absorbed what they taught him about shipbuilding, making instruments, carpentry, etching, dissection, pulling teeth, making paper, gardening, bookmaking, and much more. Find out how this knowledge bore fruit in Russia during your visit to Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar. You will also find many of Peter’s personal effects, such as his suits and one of his coaches, which show how profoundly he was influenced by Western tastes.
The exhibition will be based on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, with additional pieces from the collections of museums and institutions in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
In 2013, the Netherlands, Russia, and the city of Amsterdam are celebrating their special relationship. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Dutch Golden Age, and their ties grew stronger in the centuries that followed. When Napoleon was defeated in 1813, Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam. One Dutch prince even married the sister of a tsar. The year 2009 saw a crowning moment in Dutch-Russian relations: the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum.
Imperial Glassware to be Auctioned Topic: Auctions
Photo Credit: Lyon & Turnbull
A collection of seven 19th century glassware which belonged to the Russian Imperial Family is to be sold at auction.
The items, once owned by Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich (1861-1929), whose grandfather was Tsar Nicholas I, are said to have come from three separate banquet services made by the Imperial Glass Factory for use in palaces.
They bear three different monograms or ciphers, one of which is for Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich (1832-1909), the father of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich.
The glass pieces, which have been valued collectively at £18,000, are being auctioned off as separate lots by Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on Tuesday March 26.
The Grand Duke was banished to England after entering a "socially unequal" marriage with Countess Sophie de Meckenberg and the glassware is thought to have descended through the family to their daughter, Countess Anastasia de Torby, who later became Lady Zia Wernher of Luton Hoo.
Douglas Girton, a ceramics and glass specialist at Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers, said: "In the context of European Royalty, a morganatic marriage is a marriage between people of unequal social standing which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage.
"Now rare, it is also known as a left-handed marriage because in the wedding ceremony the groom traditionally held his bride's right hand with his left hand instead of his right."
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 2 Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches
The Dormition Cathedral Omsk is one of the largest churches in Siberia. Its fanciful design of many shapes and colors utilizes a plethora of elements from the Russian and Byzantine medieval architectural vocabulary. The main square of Omsk takes its name from the cathedral.
The first stone of a new church was laid by Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Tsar Nicholas II) during his journey across Siberia in 1891. A revivalist design was commissioned from Ernest Würrich, a fashionable architect based in Saint Petersburg. The church was consecrated in 1898. It was shut down after the Russian Revolution and was blown up in 1935. The Russian Orthodox Church had the edifice rebuilt to Würrich's original designs in the early 21st century.
The worshippers from all over Siberia come to the church in order to venerate the relics of Bishop Sylvester, a Admiral Kolchak supporter who was martyred by the Bolsheviks in 1920.
Celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty through the pages of Royal Russia.
This unique publication offers new, previously unpublished articles and photographs about the Russian Imperial family, monarchy and the history of Tsarist Russia by experts from around the world including Russia.
Each issue features a beautiful full-colour cover, a large 8-1/2" x 11" format with more than 100 pages of text, and more than 100 rare black-and-white photographs.
Royal Russia is published once a year as an annual and each issue is completely free of advertisements.
For more information on the contents of each issue, please refer to the following links;
In honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty this year, a second issue of Royal Russia (No. 4) will be published this summer. The cover story is dedicated to the Coronation of Emperor Alexander III in 1883.
Issue after issue, Royal Russia builds into a beautiful and authoritative collection.
Royal Russia is available through our online bookshop (links provided above), or from the following booksellers: Amazon.com (USA); Librairie Galignani (Paris, France); and Booksellers Van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands).
Quartercentenary of the House of Romanov - Exhibition Topic: 400th Anniversary
The exhibition Quartercentenary of the House of Romanov features objects drawn from various collections held by the Bakhmeteff Archive and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University. It consists of books, correspondence, original charters, maps, photographs, posters, personal documents, ephemera, and books and other possessions that belonged to the Russian Imperial Family. The exhibition will be on display from February 14th – June 28th, 2013 in the RBML’s Kempner Gallery.
One highlight of the exhibition is the 1622 manuscript Charter of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov granting land and other privileges and rights to Onufrii, Archbishop of Astrakhan and Terek. Never shown before and unpublished, this charter is a very rare and significant document from the reign of the first Romanov tsar. Another highlight is the recently opened collection of nearly 500 letters sent by Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna, mother of the last Russian Emperor, and her two daughters, Grand Duchess Ksenia and Ol’ga, to their close friend and companion, Princess Aleksandra Obolensky. There letters are written in French and Russian and reflect the daily life and expectations of the Imperial family in exile.
Most poignant is a white lace parasol that belonged to Aleksandra Fiodorovna (1872-1918), the last Russian Tsarina, along with a never-shown-before while lace pillow, that was also her property, preserved by one of her ladies-in-waiting, Countess Mariia Semenovna Benckendorff. Other items from the reign of the last Romanovs include a variety of elaborate menus and other ephemera relating to the coronation festivities of Nicholas and Aleksandra in 1896, a print announcing of the birth of the Tsarevich, Grand Duke Aleksei Nikolaevich, in 1904, a draft of Nicholas II’s abdication manifesto, 1917, and a volume of Nikolai Sokolov’s Preliminary Investigation into the Death of Nicholas II and His Family, Ekaeterinburg, 1918.
Academy of Arts Honours Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with Zurab Tsereteli (right)
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has been made an Honourary Member of the Academy of Arts. The award was presented to HIH by Zurab Tsereteli, President of the Academy of Arts in Moscow.
"My parents would be very happy," she said, putting on the traditional hat and mantle of an academician.
In turn, Tsereteli was granted the Imperial Order of St. Anne, Ist Class by HIH. The Grand Duchess Maria had signed the edict for the award in 2009, but was waiting for the right time to present him with the award.
The exchange of honours and awards took place in a symbolic place--set against the backdrop of Night at the Ipatiev House, a sculptural composition dedicated to the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II and his family.
Grand Duchess Maria Attends Divine Liturgy in Moscow Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House attended a Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Dormition on Wednesday.
The Liturgy was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, Kirill to mark the 400th anniversary of the election of the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail Feodorovich on March 6th [O.S. February 21st] 1613.
During the Liturgy His Holiness offered prayers "for the repose of souls of the departed servants of God, blessed memory of the rulers of the Holy Rus, the faithful princes and princesses, tsars and tsarinas, and all the power of the former, who had custody of the Immaculate faith and diligence, in the faith of the Christian law governs the Russian empire." The Liturgy also included the names of the emperors and empresses of the Romanov dynasty and proclaimed the health of the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.
At the end of the liturgy a short service of intercession was said for the Royal Passion Bearers - Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and the royal children of Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.
The Cathedral of the Dormition (also knowsn as the Assumption or Uspenski Cathedral) is located in the Moscow Kremlin. Russian monarchs were crowned here from 1587 to the last coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by a procession to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, which is the final resting place of Russia's rulers, including the Romanov dynasty.
The procession to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael was accompanied by ‘the solemn ringing of bells’, a peal used for processions. After the short memorial service in the Cathedral a triumphal royal peal of bells was performed - revived by the bell-ringers of the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the basis of the peal of bells in the coronation scene in Musorgsky’s opera ‘Boris Godunov’. It was performed on the bells of the first, second and third stages of the bell-tower of Ivan the Great, using the ‘Reut’ bell, which hangs in the Dormition belfry. The ‘Reut’ is the oldest 1000-pood (over 16 tons) Russian bell, and was cast in 1622 by the master-founder Andrei Chokhov. The inscription on the bell mentions Tsar Michael Feodorovich Romanov and his father, Patriarch Philaret Nikitich Romanov.
Romanov Dynasty Marks 400 Years as Remains of Tsar's Children Are Left Unburied Topic: 400th Anniversary
This year, Russia celebrates 400 years of the Romanov dynasty, which goes back to 1613 when nobleman Mikhail Romanov was elected to rule the country. The grand celebration plans are perfectly in keeping with Russia's recent political trend of recognizing its historical roots.
Meanwhile, the remains of the last Romanov heir, Tsesarevich Alexei, and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria have still not been buried. While their remains are stored in boxes at the National Archives, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to be at the center of a scandal.
The theme of children is exceptionally popular these days. Heated debates continue over adoptions, child abuse, and the frequent kidnappings and killings of children in Russia. And there is one more notorious “child” problem there for all to see but going completely ignored: a murdered child that has not been able to rest in peace for almost 100 years now.
In 1998, the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their three daughters, discovered near Yekaterinburg, were buried in a crypt in the Peter and Paul Cathedral. It was not until nine years later that the remains of the heir and another grand duchess, Maria, were found, not far from the rest of the family. The fragments of bones, weighing only a few grams, were given over for investigation purposes until the summer of 2011, when they were handed over to the National Archives – almost discreetly, in the presence of just an investigator, the archive director and a few others.
It was stressed that the archives would store the remains only temporarily before they were to be buried next to the family in the crypt. That was 18 months ago.
“Last summer we held a special exhibition dedicated to the last years of the Romanov family and their murder,” say the staff of the Exhibition Hall at the National Archives. “We were hoping to remind the officials of the two Imperial children that are still waiting to be buried, but it didn't happen. “The people who are supposed to bring an end to this tragic story are reluctant to disturb the past. It is up to top officials to take the initiative and arrange a burial ceremony but they are keeping silent. The president and the government prefer to avoid the issue. There do not seem to be any obstacles standing in the way of arranging a proper funeral though. Russian Orthodox Church officials refuse to accept the fact that the bones belong to the Imperial family and this may in fact be the real reason behind the reluctance to put the matter to rest.