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Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Two Unique Exhibitions Open in the State Rooms of the Winter Palace
Topic: Exhibitions

All Photos © State Hermitage Museum

On 28 July 2017, two exhibitions opened in the state rooms of the Winter Palace, one devoted to the history of fabrics, the other to their restoration. Note: headings which are underscored in red are links to additional articles and photos of the exhibits

The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. History
- 29 July 2017 - 15 October 2017 -
The Main Museum Complex. St George and Picket Halls

From 29 July, the exhibition “The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. History” in the Winter Palace will be presenting for the first time the Hermitage’s textile collections in all their great variety, from prehistoric examples to 20th-century fabrics, from Antiquity and the Orient to present-day Europe.

The Hermitage possesses one of the world’s richest collections of fabrics, carpets, costumes, embroidery and lace. In its diversity, the museum’s textile collection can lay claim to encyclopaedic coverage of both historical periods and geographical areas, where fabrics were produced at any time.

The St George Hall of the Winter Palace presents the finest pieces from the State Hermitage’s textile stocks: tapestries, carpets, embroideries, lace, fabrics and clothing from Western European, Russia and the East. Here visitors can see the Fairy Godmother Gobelins tapestry that was presented personally to Nicholas II by the French President Félix Faure and has never left the Winter Palace. Among other valuable gifts to the Russian ruling house are tapestries that Peter I brought back from Paris exactly 300 years ago. One rarity is a complete set of robes for a knight of the British Order of the Garter presented to Alexander II by Queen Victoria, while the unique exhibits include a set of clothes worn by Eugene Beauharnais, Napoleon’s stepson, that came to Russia in 1839, following the marriage of his son, Maximilian, to Nicholas I’s daughter, Maria.

Also on display are examples of ceremonial outfits, military and court uniforms: dresses worn by Catherine II, Alexander III’s wife Maria Feodorovna, and the last Russian empress Alexandra Feodorovna that were made by gifted Russian and foreign craftspeople and by leading fashion houses in Europe and Russia between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Besides military uniforms, the exhibition also features striking examples from the splendid collection of banners.

As well as items from the Winter Palace and other imperial and grand ducal residences, the Hermitage stocks also contain works once owned by Russian aristocrats. The collections of the Yusupov family were especially rich, containing first-rate tapestries, clothing and lace, including a sumptuous wedding bedspread incorporating the arms of the Yusupov family and Count Sumarokov-Elston.


The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. Conservation

- 29 July 2017 - 15 October 2017 -
The Main Museum Complex. The Armorial Hall

From 29 July the exhibition “The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. Conservation” in the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace presents museum objects whose life has been repeatedly extended thanks to restoration.  

There are banners and standards, tapestries and decorative embroideries, church vestments, civilian and military clothing, and also memorial articles once worn by Russian rulers. 

Some of the exhibits have their own unique restoration history. Peter the Great’s ceremonial costume, made for the coronation of his wife Catherine as empress-consort and put on the wax figure of the Emperor after his death, and the uniform that Peter wore at the Battle of Poltava are Russian national relics that became museum exhibits as far back as the 18th century.

©  State Hermitage Museum. 2 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:35 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2017 8:57 AM EDT
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Saturday, 1 July 2017
China to Witness Russian Tsars' Coronation
Topic: Exhibitions

An exhibition dedicated to coronation of Russian Tsars and Emperors is planned in Beijing, TASS informs. Director General of the Moscow Kremlin museums, Elena Gagarina has claimed that the exhibition is approximately scheduled for 2019. An exposition related to coronation of Russian Monarchs will be organized in the capital of China.

The museums’ director has underlined that some state regalia representing unique cultural and historical value cannot be exported by law, that’s why exhibition organizers would have to substitute them with pictures and other images. Meanwhile, Elena Gagarina has mentioned that the majority of subjects and documents, connected to the history of coronation of the Russian Tsars, are eligible for export to Beijing.

Director General of the Moscow Kremlin Museums has expressed assuredness that the Chinese with appreciate demonstration of symbols of the royal power and the way the sacring and coronating ceremonies were held.

Elena Gagarina has added that the Chinese colleagues have agreed to arrange a similar exhibition in the Kremlin Museum in 2020.

Click here (with colour photos + video) to read about the exhibition dedicated to the coronation of Russian Tsars and Emperors held in 2013, in the Assumption Belfry and the Patriarch's Palace of the Moscow Kremlin.

© Russkiy Mir. 1 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2017 4:12 AM EDT
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Exhibition: Tsarskoye Selo 1917: On the Eve
Topic: Exhibitions

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve marks the centenary of the 1917 February and October revolutions in Russia with the Tsarskoye Selo 1917: On the Eve… exhibition, organized with participation from the State Archive of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

Held in the Cameron Gallery from 29 June 2017, the exhibition tells about the imperial summer residence and its owners during the period between the February and October revolutions, when the epoch of the monarchy ceded to a new regime which finally erupted with the October revolt.

Deprived of it’s imperial status, during that period Tsarskoye Selo was still the residence of Emperor Nicholas II, who lived with his family in the Alexander Palace as Citizen Romanov arrested by the Russian Provisional Government under Alexander Kerensky.

In the spring of 1917, the Petrograd Art and History Commission examining palaces and mansions of St Petersburg aristocracy was sent to Tsarskoye Selo to make an inventory of all property and establish a museum at the former imperial residence. Materials of the Commission, as well as photographs, artworks, palace furnishings and memorial belongings of the imperial family that witnessed the revolutionary turmoil, are presented on the exhibition display. Nearly 150 objects are featured courtesy of the State Archive of the Russian Federation.

The exhibition Tsarskoye Selo 1917: On the Eve… runs until 3 October, in the Cameron Gallery. Tsarskoye Selo
Photos © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 1 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:39 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2017 9:10 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Peter the Great Exhibition Opens at Versailles
Topic: Exhibitions

From 30 May to 24 September 2017, the Grand Trianon will feature Peter the Great, a tsar in France, an exhibition commemorating the tercentenary of the Russian tsar's diplomatic visit to Paris and the surrounding area in May and June 1717.
Thanks to an exceptional collaboration between the Palace of Versailles and the State Hermitage Museum, the exhibition presents more than 150 works - paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, tapestries, maps, medals, scientific instruments, books, and manuscripts – two-thirds of which belong to the prestigious museum in Saint Petersburg.

The Exhibition

Peter I (1672 - 1725) was born into the Romanov dynasty, the son of tsar Alexis Mikhaïlovich (1645 -1676) and Natalya Naryshkina (1651-1694). 20 years after the "Grand Embassy", which brought him to Europe for the first time in 1697-1698, Peter travelled again to the West. He reached France on 21 April 1717, where he stayed until 21 June. He travelled to Versailles on two occasions, from 24 -26 May and then again from 3 -11 June 1717, staying at the Grand Trianon.

The exhibition traces this free-flowing journey step-by-step. Though ostensibly on an official visit, Peter I was an unpredictable force of nature who was largely a stranger to etiquette, flouting protocol on a number of occasions. His introduction to Louis XV in particular made a lasting impression: ignoring court ceremony, he lifted the seven-year-old child-king into his arms in a spontaneous gesture. We were able to retrace this voyage thanks in large part to the invaluable accounts of a number of memorialists, including Saint-Simon, the Marquis of Dangeau, and Jean Buvat.

Though Peter's trip had political and economic objectives – such as an alliance with France against Sweden and the signature of a trade agreement - this reformist tsar, the founder of modern Russia, wanted above all to discover all that was most remarkable about France in order to adapt certain models to his empire. During the two months he spent in Paris under the Regency, his visits and discussions with the French influenced his thinking and shifted the direction of works he had initiated in Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area in 1703.

While in Paris, Peter went to the Academy of Sciences, of which he became an honorary member, the Observatory, and the National Mint, where a medal was struck in his honour. The tsar also visited the Gobelins manufacture, which inspired the creation of a tapestry workshop in his new capital. He explored Parisian markets as a regular person, buying books as well as scientific and technical instruments. And as was customary, prestigious diplomatic gifts were also exchanged, such as the New Testament wall hanging given to Peter the Great, comprising four tapestries based on the work of Jouvenet, now housed at the State Hermitage Museum.

The exhibition also highlights the tsar's relations with French artists. Indeed, as early as 1716, he attracted several masters to the Saint Petersburg court, including Louis Caravaque (1684-1754), the architect Jean- Baptiste Le Blond (1679-1719), and ornamental sculptor Nicolas Pineau. During Peter’s stay in France in 1717, two famous artists, Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766) and Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), painted his portrait.

A warrior monarch who enjoyed travelling, Peter the Great criss-crossed the globe for close to four decades, from the White Sea to the Caspian Sea, from the Netherlands to Moldova, from England to Persia. In the view of posterity, this extraordinary figure became one of his country’s most consequential monarchs, the creator of a new Russia.

The exhibition Peter the Great. A Tsar in France. 1717, runs from 30 May to 24 September 2017, in the Grand Trianon, Versailles.

©  Château de Versailles. 30 May, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2017 10:19 AM EDT
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Friday, 19 May 2017
Exhibition: The Imperial family. The Way of Love Opens in Mogilev
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition The Imperial family. The Way of Love runs until July 2017 in Mogilev

This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

Copies of documents and photographs from the State Archive of the Russian Federation and other archives and museums are on display at the exhibition The Imperial family. The Way of Love which opened on 19th May in Mogilev (Belarus). A large part of the exposition is dedicated to the stay of the Imperial family in Mogilev, where during the First World War from August 1915 to February 1917, served as the headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army.

Photographs and reproductions of paintings of the family of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II are on display, accompanied by diary entries, eyewitness accounts, and archival documents. The exhibition consists of materials from collections of archives, museums and private collections in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tsarskoye Selo, Livadia, Zlatoust, Mogilev, and the private collection of the contemporary Russian artist Pavel Ryzhenko. By agreement with the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the organizers of the exhibition were given copies of a number of unique documents for the exhibition.

The idea of creating the exhibition came in 2013, when an exhibition of photographs of the Imperial family were brought to Mogilev from Tsarskoye Selo. Representatives from the Feodorovsky Sovereign’s Cathedral of Tsarskoye Selo, local history museums in Chrysostom and Mogilev, together with local artists and benefactors, using multiple sources, made a selection of photographs, paintings, and documents highlighting the everyday life of the Imperial family. The exhibition was shown in Mogilev, Minsk, Borisov diocese, Orsha, the Belarusian State University.

The current exhibition, organized by the Mogilev and Mstislav Diocese of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), has travelled across Russia since the summer of 2015. It has been exhibited at various venues in the Russian capital, then Kolomna, Kaluga, Nizhny Novgorod, Diveevo, Smolensk, Pskov, Polotsk, Vitebsk, and Shklov.

The exhibition in Mogilev will run until July 2017.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 May, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:20 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2017 7:40 AM EDT
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Saturday, 1 April 2017
Exhibition: Provisional Government's Extraordinary Investigative Commission
Topic: Exhibitions

Members of the Extraordinary Investigative Commission of the Provisional Government,
included Sergei Oldenburg (second from left), and Alexander Blok (second from right)
On 17 March 2017, a pinpoint exhibition opened in the Raphael Loggias in the State Hermitage devoted to the Extraordinary Investigative Commission of the Provisional Government.

On 4 March (17 March, New Style) 1917, following the February Revolution, the Provisional Government set up an Extraordinary Investigative Commission to examine the actions of former ministers, heads of departments and other senior officials, both civilian and in the administration of the army and navy. Initially the commission was based in the building of the Senate, but soon it moved to the Old Hermitage “We used what was called the Committee Entrance, the first after the Winter Canal along the embankment,” Sergei Zavadsky, the deputy chairman of the commission, recalled. (Today it is known as the Small or Director’s Entrance.)

In May 1917, Alexander Blok was recruited to work for the commission. The poet edited the records of the interrogations of former ministers. Sergei Oldenburg, secretary of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was in charge of the editorial work. In June 1917, he was appointed minister of education in the Provisional Government. The historian Professor Yevgeny Tarle was invited to join the commission, which also included the historian and Pushkin-specialist Pavel Shchegolev, chairman of the Special Commission for Investigating the Activities of the Department of Police. He later became one of the creators of the Museum of the Revolution that was opened in the Winter Palace in January 1920. Shchegolev published the verbatim reports of the interrogations and testimony given to the Extraordinary Investigative Commission of the Provisional Government.

In the 1930s, both Oldenburg and Tarle were on the staff of the State Hermitage.

The commission was unable to discover any crimes committed by the former Emperor, Empress or ministers of the Tsar’s government.

The exhibition includes photographs of Shchegolev, Tarle, Oldenburg and Blok, reports of the Extraordinary Commission, and also the text “The Last Days of Imperial Rule” compiled by Blok. In the poet’s opinion, the materials gathered by the commission “by giving an accurate picture of the activities and fall of the old regime, would destroy many of the legends that have built up around it.”

From March 2017, events will take place in various halls of the Hermitage marking key occurrences of 100 years ago. Each of them represents one small element of the exhibition “The Winter Palace and Hermitage in 1917”.

© State Hermitage Museum. 1 April, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:34 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 April 2017 7:02 AM EDT
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Monday, 13 March 2017
Rosarchiv and Vatican Plan New Romanov Exhibit
Topic: Exhibitions

The Vatican Secret Archives
The Federal Archival Agency of Russia (Rosarchiv) is preparing a joint exhibition project with the Vatican Secret Archives.

The exhibition, which will open at the end of 2017, will present documents related to the relationship between the Romanov Dynasty and the Holy See.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 March, 2017 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:46 AM EDT
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Saturday, 11 March 2017
The Fatal March Exhibition Opens at the Suvorov Museum
Topic: Exhibitions

Portrait of Emperor Nicholas II in the Suvorov Museum, St Petersburg
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

The month of March played a fatal role in the destiny of several generations of the Romanov dynasty:
24 March (O.S 12 March) 1801 -  Emperor Paul I was murdered in his bedroom of the newly constructed St Michael's (Engineers) Castle
13 March (O.S. 1 March) 1881 - Emperor Alexander II was assassinated by terrorists while travelling along the Griboyedov Canal

15 March (O.S. 2 March) 1917 - Emperor Nicholas II abdicated for himself and for his son and heir. His abdication brought an end to his 22-year reign, together with that of the Romanov dynasty and monarchy in Russia. 

On March 7th, the exhibition The Fatal March, opened at the Suvorov Museum in St. Petersburg. The exhibition marks the tragic events which took place in Russian history a hundred years ago. 

The exhibition features a collection of commemorative medals and military decorations, issued after the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II by the new Provisional Government. It was during this period that all former state symbols were removed, replaced by those which reflected the new regime. Medals depicting the portrait of the emperor were replaced with the image of St. George, while the Imperial crown was removed from orders.

The exhibition also presents symbols of the monarchy, which were saved by museum staff during the February Revoution in 1917. In spite of risk of persecution by authorities, these items also form part of this unique exhibit.

The exhibition also traces the relationship the family of the famous commander Alexander Suvorov. Together with a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II, busts of his ancestors - Paul I and Alexander II, whose lives also tragically ended in March, are also represented. 

The Suvorov Memorial Museum is a military museum dedicated to the memory of Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov (1729-1800). It was founded in 1900 to commemorate the centenary of Suvorov's death and was inaugurated four years later, on the 175th anniversary of Suvorov's birth, with much pageantry, in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, who also became the museums’ chief benefactor.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 March, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:18 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2017 6:44 AM EST
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Thursday, 9 March 2017
The Russian Museum of Malaga Presents The Romanovs and the Fine Arts
Topic: Exhibitions

The Collection of the Russian Museum in Malaga takes you into the era of the Russian empire through art, thanks to the year-long exhibition The Romanovs and the Fine Arts. The exhibition brings together nearly 250 works - paintings, sculptures, icons and other artistic pieces - by artists who excelled between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, coinciding with the successive reigns of the Romanov dynasty, until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II with the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

Among the nearly 250 works presented in the exhibition, such acknowledged masterpieces as "Portrait of Peter I" (1770) by Aleksey Antropov, "Peter I interrogates Tsarevich Alexei in Peterhof" (1872) Nikolai GE, "Ice house" (1878) by Valery Jacobi, "the Court of Pugachev" (1879) by Vasily Perov "Portrait of Alexander III" (1886) by Ivan Kramskoy, painting of Fedor Alekseev, Vasily Vereshchagin, George Dawe, Boris Kustodiev, Ilya Repin, Andrei Ryabushkin, Gregory Ugryumova, etc.

Aside from the gallery of portraits of Russian rulers, visitors to the exhibit will also have an opportunity to see  Church utensils, furniture and works of decorative art from the 18th-20th centuries. Among them are items from the famous Imperial porcelain dinnerware, and orders of St. Alexander Nevsky and the Order of St. Vladimir.

The exhibition The Romanovs and the Fine Arts runs from 22 February 2017 to 4 February 2018 at the El Museo Ruso in Malaga, Spain.
Click on the link below for more information about this exhibition:

The Romanovs and the Fine Arts

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 9 March, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:55 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 10 March 2017 5:56 AM EST
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Friday, 10 February 2017
Yusupov Palace in Moscow Recreates Imperial Desserts
Topic: Exhibitions

Photos © Tamara Antipina and Victor Peryakin 
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017
An interesting exhibition opened in the Yusupov palace at Arkhangelskoye last year, however, I only just learned about it this week, when the museum announced that it would extend the exhibit until the end of March 2017.

The exhibition Desserts Princes Yusupov allows visitors a unique opportunity to see the works of pièce montée (the art of decorative confectionery centerpieces in an architectural or sculptural form used for formal banquets - from the era of Catherine the Great to the time of the Emperor Alexander II. 

the opportunity to get acquainted with a little known facet life noble estate: welcome and treat guests. Specially conceived and organized, so the reception was one of the most important aspects of the life of Russian country estate. 

The Russian monarchs and their families were regular visitors to Arkhangelskoye, where official receptions were often arranged by their Yusupov hosts.  The Emperor Alexander I visited here, and the estate was included in the program of the coronation of Emperor Nicholas I in 1826. Other August guests to Arkhangelskoye included the Emperors Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. In the 19th century, Prince N.B. Yusupov retained warm recollections of a visit by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (wife of Emperor Paul I). At the beginning of the 20th century Princess Zinaida Yusupova welcomed members of the Russian Imperial family from the neighbouring estate Ilyinskoe: Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. Other prominent guests included prominent figures of Russian culture: musicians, artists, and writers.

Dining was one of the most important aspects of the life of a Russian country estate. Desserts were a spectacular, brilliant part of the feast. This tradition came to Russia from Europe in the 18th century. The serving and presentation of sweets and fruit dazzled and enchanted guests. 

The exhibition Desserts Prince Yusupov is on display in the dining room of the palace at Arkhangelskoye. The table is set with porcelain from the dessert set of the Yusupov family, preserved in the storerooms of the estate. The center of the table is elaborately decorated with cakes, desserts and fruit, in which the sweet composition recreates the tastes of the original owners of the estate and their guests.

The recreation of multi desserts of the 18th - 19th centuries, demonstrates the development of the unique art of fancy pastry.  For instance, a grand Imperial cake is reminiscent of the era of Emperor Nicholas I, which the artist recreated according to old engravings, using authentic recipes. The cake is a striking example of the confectionery art of the first half of the 19th century. Confectioners created these giant cakes - measuring 1.5 to 2.5 - 3 m in height - for special occasions: coronation celebrations, for important diplomatic receptions, receptions on the occasion of the celebration of name days, or for the wedding of a member of the Imperial family. 

The dessert table on display at Arkhangelskoye was recreated by Aldis Brichevsom, an expert on the history of the art of confectionery and pastry. He has been commissioned for some 30 projects by various museums and other cultural institutions in recent years. The uniqueness of his creations is that they are reproduced using old technology: manually, without the use of tools and moulds for casting without mechanical kneading and melting. His hand-made masterpieces, are produced from natural ingredients: sugar paste, nougat, marzipan, marshmallow and honey syrup. Aldis Brichevsom developed his own confectionery preservation system of natural products, ensuring a long display life.

Ten magnificent works of pastry art created by Aldis Brichevsom for the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate, evoke "sweet memories" of the era of the Russian manor house, which flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries, the owners and guests of the famous noble princes Yusupov family in their glorious estate of Arkhangelskoye in the Moscow region.

The exhibition Desserts Princes Yusupov runs until 31st March 2017 at the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate in Moscow.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 February, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:18 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 10 February 2017 2:34 PM EST
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