The Hermitage Amsterdam’s fifth anniversary exhibition Dining with the Tsars. Fragile beauty from the Hermitage opens today. Eight magnificent porcelain and cream ware services from the collection of the Hermitage in St Petersburg will be exhibited in a setting that conveys what the balls and banquets of the Tsar’s court were like. Visitors will imagine they are guests, in possession of a coveted imperial invitation, climbing the steps of the Winter Palace, reviewing the rules of etiquette and preparing for a festive occasion. Finally they enter the main hall where the fine porcelain dinnerware is set out in a festive display.
The exquisite porcelain services, comprising no less than 1,034 pieces, exhibited on authentically laid tables with decorative centrepieces, reveal the enchanting grandeur of the Tsars’ banquets. The exhibition tells the story of the lavish ball and banqueting culture that reached its zenith under the reign (1762-1796) of Catherine the Great, Queen of Feasts, when hundreds of dishes would be served at a single banquet and thousands of guests attended the balls. The last tsar, Nicholas II (ruled 1894–1917) and his wife Alexandra, who organised the largest balls but were only present for as briefly as possible. With their abdication, the ball and banqueting customs that had once captured the imagination of all the courts of Europe came to an end.
The finest pieces are from the dinnerware collections of Catherine the Great, such as the Green Frog Service (Wedgwood, England), the Cameo Service (Sèvres, Paris, exhibited for the first time with silver gilt flatware), which at one time comprised nearly a thousand pieces, and the Berlin Dessert Service (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin). The services of later Tsars were no less impressive and significant for their connection to European history. The services are exhibited in accordance with the rules of etiquette, augmented with ornate centrepieces, gold-rimmed crystal glassware, candelabras, vases, detailed silverwork and wall decorations. The exhibition features a wide range of pieces, from ice buckets for liqueur bottles and ice-cream coupes to salt and pepper sets and table figurines.
The exhibition also offers a culinary view of imperial dining customs, in a culture where banquets of 300 dishes were no exception. Dessert was the highpoint of the meal and the ideal course for showing off the host’s wealth and refined taste. Richly decorated delicacies were served with exceptional inventiveness. There is attention for iconography and the diplomatic function of giving services as gifts and hosting state dinners in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. And the balls and performances, gossip and scandal also feature in the exhibition. Evidence of the excesses of the imperial court abounds. Particularly revealing are the quotes drawn from the memoirs of Marie Cornélie van Wassenaer Obdam. She visited the Winter Palace in 1824 as a member of the retinue of Anna Paulowna and the later King Willem II.
The surprising final exhibit is the service given to Stalin by the Hungarian people in 1949, which has never been used or exhibited before. It illustrates the diplomatic role that dinnerware also played in the twentieth century.
Never before have so many porcelain dinnerware pieces from the Hermitage been exhibited in the Netherlands. The rich collection of European porcelain from the Hermitage in St Petersburg comprises over 15,000 items, purchased by or given as gifts to the Tsars of Russia between 1745 and the years prior to the First World War. The services, which include many unique pieces, were produced by leading porcelain manufacturers such as Meissen, Sèvres, Gardner and Wedgwood and decorated to the highest artistic standard.
Dining with the Tsars. Fragile Beauty from the Hermitage runs 6 September 2014 – 1 March 2015 at the Hermitage Amsterdam
Exhibition: 'Orthodox Russia. The Romanovs. My Story' Opens at Livadia Palace Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 31 seconds Topic: Exhibitions
Orthodox Russia. The Romanovs. My Story, the exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the Russian dynasty monarchs, opened at the Livadia Palace on August 15th.
The exhibit has attracted large crowds who have come to the former summer residence of Nicholas II, to learn about the Romanov dynasty that ruled Russia for more than 300 years. The crowds have been so large that organizers are only allowing groups of 20 people in every 5 minutes to avoid overcrowding in the palace.
The exhibit is spread throughout the palace. It features 10 full interactive game programs, 7 large-scale video installations and 350 interactive displays and video panels. Individual audio guides are also available. Vintage films offer rare footage of Nicholas II and his family during their visits to the Crimea and their stay at Livadia. Visitors can learn about the history and legacy of all 17 Romanov sovereigns from Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich to Emperor Nicholas II.
For more than half a century, Livadia was a favourite summer residence of three Russian sovereigns: Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. In 1909, the design and construction of a new palace was entrusted to the Yalta City architect Nikolai Krasnov. Under his leadership, a magnificent palace of white marble in the Italian Renaissance style was constructed in 17 months. Other construction on the estate included a kitchen, technical and farm buildings, roads, as well as the expansion of vineyards and orchards. The last time the family of Nicholas II visited Livadia was in the spring of 1914. After his abdication in 1917, the tsar had asked the interim government to allow him to settle permanently in Livadia. This request was denied.
The exhibition which is currently touring Russia has already been held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Tyumen, attracting more than 500,000 visitors. Admission is free!
The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is currently hosting one of the most magnificent Romanov-themed exhibits to date. Servants of the Imperial Court showcases the Livery costume of the late 19th – Early-20th centuries from the Hermitage Collection until September 21st, 2014. The exhibition is spread throughout two halls and rooms of the former Winter Palace: Arab Hall, Rotunda.
I had the opportunity to tour the exhibition during my recent visit to St. Petersburg in early June. If you plan on being in Russia during the next month I strongly recommend including this unique exhibit to your itinerary. For those of you who cannot be there in person, I have prepared the following post which includes a synopsis of the exhibit, a video (in Russian) and 12 colour photographs:
The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is currently hosting one of the most magnificent Romanov-themed exhibits to date. At the Russian Imperial Court showcases the costumes of the 18th – early-20th centuries from the Hermitage Collection until September 21st, 2014. The exhibition is spread throughout five halls and rooms of the former Winter Palace: Nicolas Hall, Antechamber, Eastern Gallery of the Winter Palace, Armorial Hall and Concert Hall.
I had the opportunity to tour the exhibition during my recent visit to St. Petersburg in early June. If you plan on being in Russia during the next month I strongly recommend including this unique exhibit to your itinerary. For those of you who cannot be there in person, I have prepared the following post which includes a synopsis of the exhibit, a video (in Russian) and 20 colour photographs:
The Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties - Views from an Exhibition Topic: Exhibitions
The Pavlovsk State Museum Preserve is currently hosting the exhibition: Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties
Close family relations between the Russian Imperial and the Danish royal families began in 1866 when the Danish Princess Dagmar became the wife of the heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Emperor Alexander III.
Pavlovsk Palace is currently hosting an exhibition The Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties. The exhibition is organized by the Danish National History Museum at Frederiksborg Castle and the Pavlovsk State Museum-Preserve. “The idea for the exhibition came in 2009, after the two museums agreed to cooperate in the areas of research and exhibitions,” said Vera A. Dementieva, Director of the Pavlovsk State Museum. “Specialists at Pavlovsk were pleased to learn that the archives of the Danish museum held a large repository of family photographs of members of the Russian Imperial House. Part of this collection forms the current exhibition at Pavlovsk.
Although members of the Imperial family were avid photographers, taking thousands of photos, many photographic collections in Russian museums were lost or destroyed after the Revolution. Further losses resulted from the plundering and destruction of the Imperial palaces by the Nazis between 1941-45. The once enormous archive of photograph albums that existed in the Gatchina Palace, were completely lost during the Second World War.
Photographs in the collection of Pavlovsk Palace survived for the most part, because the albums were used as packing material when transporting items from the palaces which were evacuated. After the war, the crates containing the palace treasures were returned, however, a decision was made to “write off the photos and destroy them,” believing that they were of "no interest or historic value"! The museum staff, however, did not destroy the pictures, thus maintaining an archive consisting of 1000 photographs.
The current exhibition involved Mette Skougord, the director of the National History Museum in Frederiksborg Castle, who expressed admiration for the courage of the museum staff who saved the collection from destruction. "Russia and Denmark are neighbours in the Baltic Sea, and we want to develop our cultural cooperation between the two nations. There were several attempts in history to seal dynastic connections, and through the Empress Maria Feodorovna, the Russian Imperial house intermarried with the royal houses of Great Britain and Greece. As a result, Russian-Danish dynastic ties expanded their influence in the whole of Europe from the end of the 19th to early 20th centuries", said Skougord.
Members of both the Russian Imperial and Danish royal families visited Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg annually. The visits of the Russian Imperial family to Denmark were recorded on film, by Danish cinema pioneer Peter Elfelt. His work in Russia is completely unknown until now. The National History Museum secured the rights to premiere four documentaries by Peter Elfelt at the Pavlovsk exhibition:
- Monarchs are Filmed (1899);
- The Visit of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to Helsingor" (1900);
- The Visit of Nicholas II to Helsingor" (1901);
- The Visit of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to Bellevue" (1902)
These newsreels became a revelation to St. Petersburg. Fleeting everyday scenes of the private world of the Russian Imperial family, they offer both a visual image of a bygone era and an important historical record.
"It is a pity that the exhibition will only run for a few months and will once again vanish into the archives of the museums of the two countries, leaving behind only a catalogue", concluded Dementieva.
The exhibition The Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties runs until September 14th, 2014 at Pavlovsk State Museum Preserve.
For more information on this exhibition, please refer to the following link:
Exhibition: Imperial Family in 20th Century Postcards Topic: Exhibitions
The Imperial Family in Postcards of the 20th Century - July 31 - August 31, 2014
The exhibition Imperial Family in Postcards of the 20th Century opened at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg on July 31st.
The exhibition presents about 60 postcards and photographs from the collections of the State Museum of History of St. Petersburg, on the life of the last of the Russian tsar and his family.
The exhibition falls into three parts demonstrating various spheres of the imperial family’s life. The first part presenting the official chronicle of Nicholas II's family, showcases postcards by both Russian and foreign publishers. The foreign publishers produced postcards which highlighted official visits by the Emperor. The Russian publishers produced images of the Imperial family at state and public events, and formal portraits at Court.
Next part of the exhibition is devoted to the private world of the Romanovs. Members of the family of Nicholas II were passionate amateur photographers themselves, producing an enormous number of pictures and printed photographs, many of which have survived to this day in albums held in the storage facilities of various archives in St. Petersburg, Moscow and other Russian cities. The family’s passion for photography, presented at the exhibition conveys the everyday life of the Romanov’s in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof, as well as a summer vacation in the Crimea.
The third and final section of the exhibition is a collection of postcards dating from the First World War. Obviously produced for propaganda purposes, they depict the family of Nicholas II representing the imperial family’s personal contribution to the war effort. These postcards were sold to the public, proceeds from the sale of which were donated to the various charities. Charitable activity, which historically has always been the responsibility of the Russian empresses, took on a large scale during the First World War. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna personally funded several hospital trains, and opened hospitals for the wounded. Alexandra and her elder daughters were trained nurses, and assisted daily in hospitals doing dressings and assisting in operations.
Rounding out the exhibition are four postcards from the Soviet era (1927 - 1932). These include photographs of the Ipatiev House, where in the summer of 1918 the last Russian tsar, his family and servants were put to death by their captors.
The exhibition will run till August 31 in the Engineers House of the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg.
Exhibition: For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland Opens in Saint-Petersburg Topic: Exhibitions
On July 25th, the Museum of the History of Religion in St. Petersburg opens a major exhibition For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland, timed to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War - one of the largest armed conflict in the history of mankind. More than 120 unique monuments of the museum's collection will reveal hitherto unknown page of military history - the activity of "spiritual front" in force in all European armies in the early XX century.
The exposition contains authentic items belonged to soldiers and officers of Entente - military-political bloc of Russia, Britain and France - and the Triple Alliance (German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires) as well as unique in its iconography icons, paintings, sculptures and graphics (posters, postcards, flyers), military medals, military uniforms, photographs from the museum collection.
The unconventional solution of the exhibition space illustrates not military, but ideological and spiritual confrontation between the two military-political blocs, held both at the front and in the rear, as well as the role of the clergy of the Russian military in maintaining the spirit of the army.
One of the sections of the exhibition is devoted to military clergy – a part of the Russian clergy involved in the pastoral care of servicemen of different arms of the Russian Empire. Martial and spiritual feats of Russian priests are depicted in a number of paintings and graphic works of 1910s ("A Christmas Prayer for the position", "Prayer at the battery box", "Feat Russian priest", etc.). The exhibition is also complemented with documents showing awarding orders chaplains, and photos.
A special section of the exhibition features memorial icons with inscriptions on the back.
A semantic center and the completion of the exhibition will be the jewel of the museum's collection - a makeshift church of His Imperial Majesty of Consolidated Infantry Regiment (late XIX – early XX centuries) with a set of unique items, including details of military priest vestments and church furnishings, including - the original candlestick made of bayonets to the rifle No. 2.
The exhibition For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland runs until September 18th, 2014 at the Museum of Religion in St. Petersburg.
Exhibition : A Royal Passion for Art. William II of the Netherlands and Anna Pavlovna Topic: Exhibitions
Marriage Portrait of William and Anna Pavlovna as a royal couple, 1816. Artist: Jan Willem Pieneman
The exhibition : A Royal Passion for Art. William II of the Netherlands and Anna Pavlovna has opened at the Musée d’Art de la Ville in Luxembourg. The exhibition runs until October 12th, 2014.
William II (1792-1849) was both King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, as a result of the personal union linking the two countries. He reigned from 1840 and was a true “Art King”. Together with his wife, tsarevna Anna Pavlovna (1795-1865), he amassed an outstanding art collection, which after his death was auctioned and scattered all around the world.
Masterpieces from this prestigious ensemble are being shown in three successive locations, all of which have a connection to the history of the royal couple and their art collection: the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the home city of Anna Pavlovna, where a significant part of the royal collection ended up, the Dordrechts Museum in the Netherlands and Villa Vauban in Luxembourg, a country that was formerly part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and home to one of the collectors who acquired works from the royal collection.
The exhibition brings together different artworks stemming from the collection, including 16th- and 17th-century Flemish and Dutch painting (amongst others Quentin Massys, Jan Gossaert, Bernard van Orley, Rembrandt workshop, Jan Steen, Peter Paul Rubens), Italian Renaissance and Baroque art (amongst others Francesco Melzi, Agnolo Bronzino, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Spanish Baroque (Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Velazquez workshop) and 19th-century romantic painting.
Tragic end to an art collection
Shortly after the death of William II, it was revealed that the royal collection was heavily burdened by debt. Immediately prior to his death, the king had received a secret loan of more than one million guilders from his brother-in-law, Tsar Nicholas I. The art collection acted as guarantee. Upon William’s death, his brother, Prince Frederick, decided to sell the collection. The auction took place in 1850 and attracted important art collectors from all over Europe, among them the Luxembourg-French banker Jean-Pierre Pescatore, as well as various museums. The largest art collection of the Netherlands was thus dispersed, with parts of it ending up in museums throughout the world.
House of Orange and the Romanovs
A further focus of the exhibition is the royal couple William and Anna. Through William’s marriage in 1816 to Anna Pavlovna, the House of Orange became linked to the Russian dynasty of the Romanovs. Anna was the daughter of Tsar Paul I and the sister of his successors Alexander I and Nicholas I. Drawn from the Dutch Royal Collections in The Hague, the exhibition showcases official portraits, precious wedding gifts, several ornate pieces of furniture from various royal residences and richly decorated private objects that once belonged to William and Anna. The young princess and later queen brought a magnificent dowry with her and ensured that the Calvinist kingdom acquired some of the splendour of the tsarist court, in the form of opulent interiors and a “glamorous” court life. William II had a neo-Gothic hall designed and erected to house his art collection on the grounds of his Kneuterdijk Palace in The Hague.
The exhibition “A Royal Passion for Art” offers visitors a fascinating insight into the life and passions of a 19th-century European royal couple, which left their mark well beyond the boundaries of their territories, not least due to their commitment to art.
The exhibition is a cooperation between the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Dordrechts Museum, the Royal Collection of the Netherlands in The Hague and the Villa Vauban – Luxembourg City Art Museum.
Exhibition: Return of a Century. Romanovs. Oldenburg Topic: Exhibitions
The former palace of the Oldenburg's in Ramon
On June 16th a new exhibition, The Return of a Century. Romanovs. Oldenburg, opened in the town of Ramon, situated about 500 km south of Moscow in the Voronezh region. The venue for the exhibition is the former palace of the Oldenburg princes. Built in the late 19th century in the Gothic Revival style, the palace belonged to the Russian branch of the House of Oldenburg. The exhibition is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the visit to Voronezh by Emperor Nicholas II in 1914.
The exhibition explores the relationship linking the Romanov and Oldenburg families, with a significant part of the exhibition dedicated to the extensive charitable activities of both families. A significant part of the exhibition is devoted to the charitable activities of the Romanovs and the Oldenburgs. Under the patronage of Princess Eugenie of Oldenburg (granddaughter of Nicholas I and niece of Alexander) were many artistic, medical and charitable societies throughout Russia.
Numerous photographs of the Romanovs include Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and the Oldenburgs include Duke Peter Alexandrovich (center)
The exhibition features portraits of the Romanov dynasty and the Oldenburg family (on loan from the Moscow State Historical Museum), as well as paintings, photographs, postcards from museums in Voronezh and Ramon. The exhibition also includes copies of documents and photographs stored in the State Archives of the Russian Federation (Moscow), the Russian State Historical Archive (St. Petersburg) and the State Archive of the Voronezh region. A documentary on the participation of the Romanov and Oldenburg in the cultural life of the province of Voronezh and Russia is also shown to visitors.
Innovative technologies used in the organization of the exhibition - video projection and installation, unusual interior design and unique style solutions in the organization of the exhibition space - all of which help visitors to immerse themselves in a bygone era, demonstate a string of historical events and evaluate the contribution of members of the Romanov and Oldenburg families in the development of Russian statehood, culture and life.
It is interesting to note that Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (youngest sister of Nicholas II) married Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg 0n 9th August 1901. Each year they visited Peter’s mother at Ramon, and eventually purchased their own estate nearby, Olgino. Their marriage was annulled on 16th October 1916.
Exhibition: The Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties Topic: Exhibitions
A new exhibition Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties, has opened at the Pavlovsk State Museum Preserve. The exhibit is a joint effort between the National History Museum at the Castle of Frederiksborg (Hillerød, Denmark) and the Pavlovsk State Museum-Preserve. Russia and Denmark have enjoyed strong cultural ties for many years, the Pavlovsk Palace Museum and the Danish royal museums have worked repeatedly over the years on the creation of joint exhibitions, both in Denmark and in Russia.
The main items on display at this current exhibit are unique historical photos from the family album of the Danish royal family and the Pavlovsk State Museum. Close family ties between Denmark and Imperial Russia began from the moment in 1866 when the Danish Princess Dagmar, who upon adopting the Orthodox faith received the name of Maria Feodorovna, became the wife of Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, heir to the Russian throne. After the assassination of his father Alexander II in 1881, he would become Emperor Alexander III.
Princess Dagmar was originally engaged to Alexander’s older brother Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, who suddenly died of cerebro-spinal meningitis in 1865. His fiancée, Princess Dagmar, consented to become the wife of his brother Alexander, and it proved to be a happy marriage. Alexander III was a faithful husband to his wife, and an exemplary father to his children.
Through the Empress Maria Feodorovna, the Russian Imperial House intermarried with the royal houses of Britain and Greece. The son of Maria Feodorovna and Alexander III, the future Emperor Nicholas II and King George V of Great Britain, the nephew of Maria Feodorovna, were cousins. A cousin of Alexander III, Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna, became the wife of the King George I of Greece, the brother of Maria Feodorovna. Thus, the Danish-Russian dynastic ties expanded their influence throughout Europe at the end of 19th-early 20th century. All this is reflected in the exhibition Family Album, in which about 100 photographs form the background in which family relationships reflects the history, life and tastes of the era.
Emperor Alexander III and his family at the court of King Christian IX of Denmark.
Painted in the Garden Pavilion of Fredensberg Palace by the Danish painter, Laurits Tuxen 1883-86
The exhibition is on display in the Rossi Library at Pavlovsk Palace. Along with photos are showcased a number of works of the Danish school of painting. Of particular interest is the painting, The Family of Emperor Alexander III in Denmark, by one of the most famous artists of the late 19th century, Laurits Tuxen. Other paintings include views of the interiors of the Danish royal palaces, by artists Joseph Theodore and Adolf Heinrich Ganzen. These paintings reflect the atmosphere of the era which is seen in these historic photographs. Decoration of the exhibition are enhanced by vases dating from the private collection of Empress Maria Feodorovna (c. 1890s) from the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory. An oval portrait of Maria Feodorovna by artist I. Galkin is considered an iconic symbol of the exhibition.
The exhibition The Family Album. Danish-Russian Dynastic Ties runs from June 18th to September 14th, 2014 at the Pavlovsk State Museum-Preserve.