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Friday, 5 July 2013
Exhibition: Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility in St. Petersburg on 23 February 1913. Artist: Dmitry Kardovsky 

A presentation of the painting, Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility in St Petersburg on 23 February 1913 by Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky and 47 portrait sketches are currently on display in the Rotunda of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum) in St. Petersburg. The exhibition is dedicated to the 400 year anniversary of the House of Romanov, as well as to the centenary of the great ball.

The program of the jubilee events of 1913 was quite vast, the celebration lasted from February till autumn. It was an all-state event, meaning the triumph of the state, power and national spirit. The ceremonial day of the solemn celebration of the 300-year anniversary of the Romanovs reign, approved at the highest level, was 21 of February 1913. At that day at 11 o’clock 21 salvos of the Petropavlovskaya fortress announced the beginning of the celebrations to the habitats of the capital. Sacred processions were coming from the main churches to the Kazan cathedral, and at the exactly determined time a train with the members of the tsarist family came. At the same day folk festivals took place in the capital and surrounding neighborhoods, historical jubilee performances took place in the theaters. On the 22 of February there was a solemn ceremony in the Winter Palace, during which the Emperor and Empress accepted congratulations.

On the 23 of February 1913 Saint Petersburg nobility gave a great ball at its meeting at Mikhailovskaya Street, in which more than 3200 guests attended. It was the last large-scale celebration of Tsarist Russia. The ball was begun at half past nine, when the Tsar, tsarina and members of the imperial family came to the imperial box. The ball was opened with the polonaise from the opera Life For the Tsar by M.I.Glinka, which was performed by the ball orchestra of the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment. Nicholas II was dancing with V.A.Somova, the wife of Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility, Empress Aleksandra Feodorovna - with S.M. Somov, Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility. After the polonaise other dances took place, including waltz, quadrille, cotillon, mazourka with a large number of natural flowers and bright ribbons. Nicholas, along with his daughter Olga left the ball after eleven.

Watercolor works, depicting the scene of the jubilee ball, became one of the few large-format works of Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky, an outstanding Russian artist. D.N. Kardovsky, a student of P.P. Chistyakov and I.E. Repin in Saint Petersburg Art Academy, and of professor A. Azbe, was a famous Russian illustrator, genre painter, theater painter. The Hermitage work Ball into the Hall of the Nobility 1913, not being a historical painting, was performed according to the examples of academic multifigure composition, each character of which is portrayed with photographic accuracy and psychological authenticity. At the center of the composition 17-year old princess Olga Nikolaevna, the first daughter of the Tsar, is waltzing with his highness I.N.Saltykov, this is the first grownup event for her. At the imperial box you can see members of the tsarist family - Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchcess Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (Junior), Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich. Among those dancing you can see Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, a sister of the emperor, dancing with her cousin Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich; as well as P.M. Raevsky, master of the ceremonies of the court, N.S. Voevodsky, one of the first Russian military pilots. In the crowd of people you can easily recognize famous politicians and statesmen, among them - A.G.Bulygin state secretary, who was the head of the Committee on preparation for the celebration of the Romanov’s house 300-year anniversary, duke A.A.Bobrinskiy, Duke D.I.Tolstoy, director of the Hermitage; chief master of the court A.S.Taneyev, a composer.

47 portrait sketched, made by the artist to the picture, are provided for the exhibition by the grandson of Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky - Nikolay Petrovich Vesyolkin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of I.M.Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry.

© State Hermitage Museum. 05 July, 2013


 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:23 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 7 July 2013 8:33 AM EDT
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Lost Russian Sweet Recipe Revived
Topic: Russian Cuisine

The traditional Russian sweet pastila was a favourite in the 19th century but the recipe was lost in the turmoil of the 20th. Now two Russian businesswomen - Natalia Nikitina and Elena Dmitrieva - have revived the treat.  

The pair run a museum in Kolomna, near Moscow, dedicated to the apple-flavoured confectionery.

Now they have brought a taste of it to London - using the medium of dance to put their delicious message across. 

Wearing an enormous red skirt that falls three metres to the ground, a Russian noblewoman drops eggs into a giant copper saucepan held by servant girls below. Then using a whisk the size of a broom, she mixes in the apples. While she’s stirring a ballerina dances a pas de deux with a mysterious man in a cape and top hat. The crowd applauds and boxes of traditional Russian apple sweets slide down the noblewoman’s apron to baskets at her feet. 

Food and national identity are often intertwined. But when it comes to squeezing a huge chunk of history into a bite-size sugary treat, not many can compare with the Russian pastila. 

The spongy-apple flavoured sweet, similar to marshmallow, was produced in the medieval town of Kolomna, 100km south east of Moscow, back in the 17th Century as a way of preserving apples. At the outbreak of WWI, the last factory was closed, then came the Russian revolution and pastila was forgotten for nearly a hundred years. 

Although the original pastila disappeared a century ago, the word was used to describe a different type of sweet produced during the 20th century, but it was a substitute with a different taste.  

Recently the original pastila has been brought back to life, thanks to two creative Kolomna ladies – Natalia Nikitina and Elena Dmitrieva.  

Natalia Nikitina said:  

“If you want to take it humourously it’s because we like sweet things and we wanted to try all sweet things ourselves. But speaking seriously, pastila used to be a famous Russian brand which then was forgotten and it deserves better fate.”  

The women chanced across a passage about the traditional sweet in a book by the Russian writer Ivan Lazhechnikov. It described a very large woman invited by the 18th century Empress Anna of Russia to prepare pastila for a masquerade ball.  

The story inspired Nikitina and Dmitrieva to track down an old recipe and recreate it.  

Elena Dmitrieva said:  

“Pastila is a traditional Russian apple sweet that was special to Russia. Nowhere else was it produced. It’s the flavour of Russia. That’s why it was so important to revive it. We want the whole world to know about it.”  

Pastila was a favourite among the Russian elite. When Emperor Nicolas II visited Kolomna, he was presented with the treat wrapped in silk.  

It was also loved by Empress Catherine the Great – whose image adorns the boxes produced by Nikitina and Dmitrieva today.  

Natalia Nikitina said:  

“Empress Catherine the Great visited Kolomna in the beginning of the 18th Century and she was greeted as a royal person. In Kolomna there was a habit to meet and greet important guests with Pastila so they offered pastila to Catherine the Great. She liked it so much she demanded to have pastila delivered to her court.”  

The biggest names in Russian literature also feature in the story of Pastila. It was a favourite of both Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.  

Natalia Nikitina said: 

“Dostoyevsky is linked to pastila in many ways. He spent his childhood near to Kolomna and he was very fond of sweet things. He always asked his wife to buy pastila for him and his children. He liked several types of pastila, red pastila and also soft white pastila”.  

The different types of pastila are explored in Nikitina and Dmitrieva’s Kolomna museum, the Museum of Forgotten Flavours. But don’t expect any display cases - the museum is an exercise in nostalgia, replacing dusty objects with traditional tastes and smells. 

“As far as we know it is the first museum in Russia which presents non-materialistic culture,”said Natalia Nikitina. “But it’s not just taste. It’s also traditions. It’s the tradition of Russian tea parties, how to meet and greet people, how to speak and how to make nice presents.”  

A very new way of presenting something past that was almost lost forever.

© The Voice of Russia. 05 July, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:29 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 July 2013 2:23 PM EDT
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Thursday, 4 July 2013
Reflected Glory: the Romanovs, Wurttemberg and Europe
Topic: Exhibitions


The Landesmuseum Wurttemberg will host a new exhibition Reflected Glory: the Romanovs, Württemberg and Europe from October 5th, 2013 to March 23rd, 2014.

Five marriages, four generations, one story

At Stuttgart’s Old Castle, an imposing structure steeped in history, a special exhibition entitled Reflected Glory: the Romanovs, Württemberg and Europe tells the story of five legendary women whose marriages formed the basis of the extraordinary history shared by the House of Württemberg and the Russian Romanov dynasty. For the first time, an exhibition sheds light on the impact of these marriages on European politics, on the domestic and social policies of the two countries as well as on their respective courts.

The special relationship between the Romanovs and Württemberg began in 1776, when Württemberg Princess Sophie Dorothee married Russian Tsar Paul I. As Empress Maria Feodorovna, she was as actively involved in Russian charitable institutions as she was present on the stage of European power politics.

The ambitious Friederike Charlotte Marie of Wurttemberg, too, found her fortune in Russia. Under the name Elena Pavlovna, she fostered the cultural advancement of St. Petersburg and, amongst other activities, founded the Russian Red Cross.

Maria Feodorovna’s daughter Catherine and her granddaughter Olga, both remembered as noble-minded queens of Württemberg, took the hearts of the Württemberg population by storm. Even today, many local institutions continue to bear withness to their great social commitment.

The marriage of tempestuous Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna, Olga's adopted daughter, to Duke Eugen of Württemberg is a brilliant concluding chapter in the marital relations of the Russian and Württemberg royal families.

Selected art treasures from the Württemberg State Museum and high-profile Russian museums such as the Kremlin or the Pavlovsk and Peterhof imperial palaces reflect pomp, power, splendour and glory, but also homesickness, daily routine, faith and legend.

©Landesmuseum Wurttemberg. 04 July, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:57 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 10:06 AM EDT
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Photo Exhibition on Tsarskoye Selo in Zerbst, Germany
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Rare colour autochrome of the Great Hall in the Catherine Palace as it looked in 1917. Photo: Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
 
The photo exhibition Tsarskoye Selo: The Summer Residence of Russian Emperors runs June 26th to October 6th in the town of Zerbst in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
 
In June 2012, ten members and the chairman of the Zerbst Castle Restoration Trust visited Tsarskoye Selo and left impressed with the latest achievements of the imperial summer residence and especially the Catherine Palace, which was, like the Zerbst Castle, totally devastated by the Second World War but stands reborn now.
 
The German-Russian co-concept has brought forth this photo exhibition which includes the following topics: historical interiors of the Catherine Palace, destruction during the Second World War, reconstruction and restoration, as well as current views of the Palace and Park. The 53 large pictures from our museum collection are accompanied with captions and explanatory texts in German and Russian, which were thoughtfully provided by the Tsarskoye Selo staff and translated by the hosting side.
 

The display is set out in the former apartment of Prince Frederick Augustus of Anhalt-Zerbst, the brother of Empress Catherine II, in the east wing of the Zerbst Castle.
 
The exhibition opening ceremony took place on 25 June 2013 and was attended by its patrons, Ambassador Vladimir M. Grinin of the Russian Federation in Germany and Minister President Reiner Haseloff of Saxony-Anhalt. The project is supported by the city of Zerbst, Gazprom Germania GmbH and the Savings Bank Foundation Anhalt-Zerbst, and aims to draw national and international attention to the Zerbst Castle.
 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 04 July, 2013
 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:38 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 9:53 AM EDT
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New Monument to Empress Catherine II at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

A new monument to Empress Catherine II has been unveiled in front of the Cathedral of St. Catherine in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin). The monument is the work of the Russian sculptor Vladimir Gorev and based on a portrait by Feodor Stepanovich Rokotov. This the second monument to the Empress Catherine the Great in Tsarskoye Selo.
 
The Cathedral of St. Catherine was originally constructed between 1835-1840 by Konstantin Ton. It was demolished by the Soviets in 1939 and restored in 2010 for the 300th anniversary of Tsarskoye Selo. During my recent visit to St. Petersburg, I spent a full day at Tsarskoye Selo and visited this beautiful cathedral. The restoration of the facade is now in its final phase, while much work has yet to be done on the interiors. Once complete, it will be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the St. Petersburg region.
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 July, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:18 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 9:37 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 3 July 2013
St. Petersburg Hosts Architecture, Town Planning, Restoration Exhibition
Topic: Exhibitions

St. Petersburg is well known all over the world as a city with a rich historical heritage and abundance of monuments of architecture. On July 1 the Northern Capital traditionally celebrates in the Day of Restorers. This holiday is an acknowledgement of merits of craftsmen who restored beauties of our city. The events held within the framework of the celebration will include the 6th International Specialized Exhibition Architecture, Town Planning, Restoration that will be held on June 26-28, 2013 and will feature the latest achievements of restorers, both of professional restores working in our city today, and of veteran craftsmen who restored the city in post-war years and founded traditions of the Leningrad Restoration School.

St.Petersburg is one of the few cities in Europe which preserved its historical buildings in the original look. Distinctive charm of the city creates a combination of wonderful architecture and special natural environment. Spaciousness of avenues, embankments and squares has something in common with wideness of the Neva and its tributaries. Distinct planning based on Renaissance traditions, a great number of architectural ensembles and historical monuments create a harmony of simplicity and grandeur in city’s perception.

The exhibition will be held at one of the best venues in the historical center of St.Petersburg – Russian Ethnographic Museum.

The Exhibition is carried out by the Committee of State Control, Using and Protection of Historical Monuments of St.Petersburg, the Committee of Construction of St.Petersburg and RESTEC Exhibition Company with support of the Committee of Construction of St.Petersburg and St.Petersburg Architects’ Union.

The main goal of the Exhibition is to demonstrate new architectural solutions of buildings and edifices of different purposes, modern methods of projecting, reconstruction and restoration of historical and cultural monuments, rehabilitation of sculptures from stone, plaster, bronze and metaldecor, achievements of modern design in landscaping, new technologies of construction and manufacturing of high quality constructional and finishing materials. A special attention at the exhibition is paid to problems of restoration of unique architectural legacy and up-to-date restoration technologies.

Companies from St.Petersburg, Moscow, Kaluga, Samara, Izhevsk, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, Vladivostok, as well as from such countries as Germany, Poland, and Croatia participated in previous exhibitions held since 2000. Among the participants there were such companies and organizations as St.Petersburg Union of Restorers uniting more than 30 restoration companies, St.Petersburg Union of Architects, Academy of Architectural Legacy, State Russian Museum, Central Scientific and Restoration Project Studios of Ministry of Culture of RF, St.Petersburg restoration vocational school and many others.

Within the framework of the Exhibition St.Petersburg Union of Architects holds 7th contest of architectural projects and constructions "Architecton".

The central place among the exhibition related events is traditionally occupied by the conference dedicated to exploitation of domestic and world experience of preservation of architectural legacy in current conditions of cities’ development.

Every year the exhibition is very popular not just among the specialists but also among citizens and guests of St.Petersburg. Business contacts of leading construction and restoration companies, new ideas of architectural ensembles, feeling of touching the beautiful – these all are the results of the exhibition. 

*

Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve took part in this year’s exhibit. Their stand provided visitors with the restoration achievements of companies like the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop and Geoizol at the Agate Rooms and Cold Bath pavilion which are expected to reopen this autumn, at the Hanging Garden which was returned its original look, and at the cellars of the Alexander Palace.

They highlighted painting restoration, describing two pictures from the museum collection – A Night View of Istanbul by Ivan Aivazovsky and Napoleon’s Army entering Munich on 24 October 1805 by François Dubois, the latter restored by OOO Resstroy and presented at one of our last year’s exhibitions, Alexander I and Napoleon: Peace before War. 


 


 


 


 


 


 © Restec and Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 03 July, 2013


 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 6:52 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Tsaritsyno Hosts New Exhibition: The Great Ball
Topic: Exhibitions


On June 28th, the Tsaritsyno State Museum-Reserve in Moscow opened a large-scale exhibition project The Great Ball. 

This unique exhibit presents to the public a special phenomenon in the history of Russian society in the 18th- early 20th centuries. It shows the strictly regulated ceremonials, music and dance, special demeanor and unique-point fashion of the magnificent balls that catered to Imperial Russia's aristocracy and nobility. The exhibition acquaints visitors with the most striking images of balls of the past centuries, and the most interesting episodes from its 300-year history in Russia, including an image of the ball on the theatrical stage and in 20th century cinema.
 
The special atmosphere of the exhibit recreates ancient artifacts, costumes and accessories; excellent paintings, bright posters, images from fashion magazines and literary texts, along with their commentary.
 
Rare ballroom scenes help to experience the daily life of thost who participated in the Russian ball. Learn who they were, which outfits they wore, what they ate and drank at balls, which dances were performed and, finally, as embodied poetic myth, The Russian Ball in art - on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. 
 
One of the most interesting and surprising on the content of the sections - The Ball on Stage at the Bolshoi theatre in the early 20th century. It includes paintings and graphic sketches of costumes and scenery, theatrical costumes created by noteable designers of the time. 
 
A special place at the exhibition is given to the Masquerade. Here are exhibited and sketches for the play Masquerade by M. Lermontov, and masquerade costumes of the 19th century, and a unique collection of masquerade ball posters of the late 19th - early 20th centuries.
 
One of the Central sections of the exposition provides a collective image of the ball as a glittering holiday. There are dresses, a collection of ballroom shoes, fans, bags and other elegant ballroom accessories, musical instruments and notes from personal collections of members of the Imperial House of Romanov. 
 
Undoubtedly, the main section of the exhibition is devoted to the Imperial Balls. The ceremonial celebrations of the 19th - beginning of the 20th centuries are explored including those dedicated to the Coronation balls given by Emperors Alexander II and Nicholas II, and also the famous 1903 fancy dress ball in the Winter Palace, where all the guests were dressed in the era of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. 
 
The Great Ball Exhibition includes more than 460 items from 10 museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The main partners of the GMZ «Tsaritsyno» within the organization of the exhibition are the Moscow Ostankino Estate Museum and the Museum of the Bolshoi National Theater. Among the participants of the project - the Russian State Library, the State Tretyakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, the State Central Theater Museum. A.A. Bakhrushin Museum of History of St. Petersburg, the Museum of Musical Culture, M.I. Glinka Museum, V.A. Tropinin Museum, as well as famous Moscow collectors. 

The exhibition will be open until October 13, 2013.
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia and GMZ Tsaritsyno. 02 July, 2013

 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:19 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 July 2013 4:56 PM EDT
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Monday, 1 July 2013
Exuberance of Meaning: The Art Patronage of Catherine the Great
Topic: Exhibitions

Photo: Round Box with Catherine II as Minerva. Credit: Hillwood Museum 

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will present the exhibition Exuberance of Meaning: The Art Patronage of Catherine the Great (1762-1796), from September 21, 2013, to January 5, 2014. 

The exhibit features more than 30 works of art and books, most of which Catherine the Great commissioned for her own use or for the courtiers who received them as gifts. Other objects in the exhibition serve as examples of historic precedents for the empress' choices or represent major currents in the history of Russian art of the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition presents a comparison of dazzling and masterful objects that exemplify both medieval Byzantine culture, of which Russia was the successor and guardian, and the Western, neoclassical style that was the hallmark of the Enlightenment. The exhibition and publications contribute to the current knowledge of patronage in 18th-century Russia and to an understanding of the role of Byzantine culture in Russia's history up to the era of neoclassicism.

© Georgia Museum of Art. 01 July, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 July 2013 6:42 AM EDT
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Sunday, 30 June 2013
Brave Angel: Selected Letters of the Holy Martyr Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
Topic: Books

A new book, Brave Angel: Selected Letters has been published in Russia. It contains selected letters, diary excerpts and reflections of the Holy Martyr Empress Alexandra Feodorovna during the early years of World War One, 1914-1915. The book consists of 160 pages and is only available in the Russian language (there is NO English edition available).

Please note that this book is not available from our online bookshop, I wanted to share this unusual (though beautiful) cover with readers.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 June, 2013 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:35 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 June 2013 8:50 AM EDT
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Saturday, 29 June 2013
New Coins Dedicated to Emperor Alexander III
Topic: Collectibles

 
The Russian bank Sberbank has received a set of three silver coins dedicated to Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894), minted in Fiji.
 
The first coin (left) features a portrait of Alexander III. The second coin (center) features the ceremony of the coronation of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna at Moscow on 27th May, 1883. The third coin (right) features a portrait of Emperor Alexander III with his family (Empress Maria Feodorovna, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (future Emperor Nicholas II), Grand Dukes George and Michael Alexandrovich, and Grand Duchess Xenia and Olga Alexandrovna).
 
Each portrait is in colour and supplemented with a symbol of power: orb, crown and scepter respectively. Sberbank of Russia are offering the sets for 12,600 rubles ($385 USD).
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 June, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:05 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 June 2013 8:11 AM EDT
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