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Saturday, 5 April 2014
Exhibition: The Romanovs in St. Petersburg
Topic: Exhibitions

An exhibition dedicated to the 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty has opened in the Engineer’s House at he Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. The state, public and charity activity of the representatives of the House of Romanov and their private life in St Petersburg is introduced with scenic and graphic art, documents, books, photographs, commemorative medals and architectural projects displayed at the exhibition.

The history of St Petersburg was closely associated with the House of Romanov from the time of its foundation to 1917: ruling emperors and empresses, grand dukes and grand duchesses influenced the development of St Petersburg culture and art, science, education, industry and social institutions.

The exhibition displays paintings and sculptural portraits of the Romanovs (beginning from Peter I to Nicholas II) from the collection of the State Museum of the History of St Petersburg. Among them there are paintings of Alexey Antroppov, Marie-Louise Vigée-Lebrun, Ivan Kramskoy, Gerhard von Kügelgen and Leonty Miropolsky. This portrait gallery is complemented by monuments to Peter I on the Senate Square near Mikhailovsky Castle and equestrian statue to Nicholas I on St Isaak’s Square. Apart from the above exhibits visitors will also see a model of the Alexander Column and casket with medals that should have been placed under the monument to Catherine II in front of the Alexandrinsky Theatre.

Visitors can admire views of the imperial and grand ducal palaces, built in St Petersburg and suburbs during the 18th – 19th centuries: Winter Palace, Summer Palace of Elizabeth Petrovna, Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, PavlovskPalace, Gatchina Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Mariinsky Palace, Kamennoostrovsky Palace, Elagin Palace, Nikolaevsky Palace, Sergievsky Palace and others as well as the interiors of royal residences.

Engravings, lithographs and watercolors which are displayed at the exhibition give an idea of the official and private life of the members of the Romanov family in St Petersburg. The images shown here depict official events in the life of the city and the royal family: coronations, weddings, celebrations of military victories and memorable dates, parades and drills. Also, visitors will have a chance to see menus of ceremonial dinners and suppers; posters of exhibitions, theater plays and music evenings organized with the support of the royal family. 

The period of the reign of Nicholas II - late 19th - early 20th century – is depicted in the photographs of Karl Bulla and other photographers of the time. They captured the Emperor's private life which resonated with the image of the events of the First World War.

The exhibition presents printed copies of decrees and manifestos by Russian Emperors and Empresses. Of special value are the documents with authentic autographs of Peter I, Elizabeth Petrovna, Catherine II, Paul I, Alexander I and Alexander II.

The section devoted to the 300th Anniversary of the Imperial House of Romanov in 1913 completes the exhibition.
The Romanovs in St. Petersburg runs until October 8th, 2014 in the Engineers House at the Peter and Paul Fortress. 
© Museum of the History of St. Petersburg. Edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:53 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 April 2014 6:04 AM EDT
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Friday, 4 April 2014
Treasures and Trivia of the Romanov Era
Topic: Exhibitions

Treasures of the Romanov period going on exhibit include a gem-encrusted book. Photo: Foundation of Russian History
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 4th, 2014 edition of The New York Times. The author Eve M. Kahn, owns the copyright of the article presented below.

Artifacts as ordinary as coat hangers that were owned by czars and members of their inner circle, are re-emerging at museums, stores and auction houses. The greatest concentration will appear next month in a new museum at a Russian Orthodox monastery in this hamlet near Utica.

On the grounds of Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary here, the Foundation of Russian History’s inaugural exhibition, opening on May 25, surveys four centuries of Romanov rule and post-imperial life. The Rev. Vladimir von Tsurikov, the foundation’s director and curator, gave a preview of the show, “The Russian Word and Image: Four Centuries of Books and Art,” pulling out drawer after drawer of chilling material.

The foundation has acquired records from Russian nobles exiled in America, the last czar’s cutlery, wooden coat hangers bearing the last czarina’s monogram, and weapons used in hopeless battles against Bolsheviks. Bullets are still tucked into army uniform pockets. Prayer books, dating to the 16th century, have jewels and paintings embedded in their metal covers.

Father Vladimir hoisted one heavy tome. “People who are fleeing from their homeland, look what they’re carrying,” he said.

The foundation also owns typewriters used by Russian Orthodox monks, glittering imperial banners, church vestments and crystal goblets etched with various empresses’ initials. Drawers are devoted to artifacts from the sites of the Romanov family’s imprisonment and assassination and from the estate of Eugenia Smith, a Rhode Island woman who claimed to be the last czar’s youngest daughter, Grand Duchess Anastasia.

A delicate white blouse at the foundation belonged to the real Anastasia, or perhaps one of her three sisters. A tiny khaki military jacket was made for their brother, Alexei. A single pearl earring survives from their mother, Alexandra.

The monastery, founded in the 1920s by exiled monks, also contains chapels steeped in incense smoke, crypts, libraries, stained-glass windows in jewel tones, and murals of bejeweled saints and martyrs. In some corridors, paintings and photographs depict religious leaders who were imprisoned or killed or who lost family members during Soviet persecutions.

Russophiles and scholars including the historian Edward Kasinec have been making research pilgrimages to Jordanville. Mr. Kasinec said in an interview that other unpublished Romanov documentation still lurks in various institutions and private collections. “There are so many things that are squirreled away,” he said.

Fabergé works are also making an appearance this spring. A La Vieille Russie, a gallery in New York, is now showing Fabergé works (with six- and seven-figure prices) that Romanovs gave to their family and favorites; the doctor who presided at imperial births received a hot-pink enamel snuffbox. From April 14 to 17, the London dealer Wartski will display a gold Fabergé egg with a watch tucked inside, which Emperor Alexander III gave to his wife, Maria, as an Easter present in 1887.

The three-inch egg, encrusted with diamonds and sapphires and set on a stand with lion’s paws, turned up a few years ago at the home of an American scrap-metal dealer. The dealer had paid about $14,000 for it at a flea market, based on its weight alone. The Soviets had sold it in 1922. It last appeared in public in 1964, its czarist origins forgotten, at a Parke-Bernet auction in New York shortly before Sotheby’s bought the company.

On April 8, a Sotheby’s sale in New York will include a Fabergé miniature lapis urn (estimated at $40,000 to $60,000) said to have belonged to Grand Duke Nicholas, a cousin of the last czar; a Fabergé eagle broach ($8,000 to $12,000), made as a souvenir for Alexei’s baptism in 1904; and memorabilia ($5,000 to $7,000 for the lot) from an aristocratic army colonel who tried to protect the Kremlin from the Bolsheviks in 1917.

On April 9, Christie’s in New York will offer nine lots of archival material (with estimates of between $800 and $7,000 each) from descendants of Nicholas II’s sister Xenia. Family photos and hand-painted postcards are for sale along with gloves, stockings, poems, prayers and scraps of pink sashes and embroidery. On April 10, Bonhams in New York will offer about 60 Russian icon paintings (with estimates starting at a few thousand dollars each) acquired by an American ambassador to the Soviet Union just before World War II. The Soviets sold him portraits of saints in gilded and silver frames that have a few scars where gemstones were gouged out.

Surveys of czarist-era antiques including Fabergé wares are now on view or will soon appear at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Mass.; the Hillwood museum in Washington; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Kunsthistorisches museum in Vienna; and Harrods in London. Museums devoted to Fabergé have opened in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Baden-Baden, Germany; much of the German collection will appear in the historian Cynthia Coleman Sparke’s new book, “Russian Decorative Arts” (Antique Collectors’ Club).

At Jordanville, the Fabergé contingent includes a 1909 portrait of Nicholas II’s cousin Grand Duke Konstantin, with his eight children and his four palaces. One son died of World War I battlefield wounds, and the Bolsheviks executed three others and dumped their bodies down a mine shaft. But the buildings still stand. 
A number of items from the Foundation of Russian History were recently on disply at an exhibition hosted by the Museum of Russian Art at Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, and photos from this exhibition, please refer to the following link:

Museum of Russian Art Documents Tragic Tsarist Past

© Eve M. Kahn @ The New York Times. 04 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:20 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 April 2014 9:12 AM EDT
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Thursday, 20 March 2014
'Tsar's Cabinet' at Museum of Russian Icons beginning March 27
Topic: Exhibitions

The Museum of Russian Icons is hosting The Tsars’ Cabinet, which highlights two hundred years of decorative arts under the Romanovs, from the time of Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century to that of Nicholas II in the early twentieth century.  Many of the more than 230 objects in the exhibition were designed for public or private use of the tsars or other Romanovs. Others illustrate the styles that were prominent during their reigns. Developed from the Kathleen Durdin Collection and organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

Porcelain, glass, enamel, silver gilt and other alluring materials make this extensive exhibition dazzle. The items demonstrate the evolution of style from the European Classicism of the court of Catherine the Great, to the rich oriental motifs of mid-nineteenth century Russian Historicism of the Kremlin and Grand Duke Constantine Nicholaevich services and the enamel work of Fedor Ruckert and the firm of Ovchinnikov.

The exhibition includes many pieces from significant porcelain services made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, from the reign of Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great to Nicholas and Alexandra.  Visitors will see items featured at state banquets at the Kremlin and other Imperial Palaces, as well as items designed for the tsars’ private use aboard the Imperial yachts.  Among the rare items are two pieces from a service Catherine the Great ordered for her grandson, Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, as well as pieces from services presented by Augustus III of Saxony and Frederick the Great to the eighteenth century Russian tsarinas. 
The exhibition also features two hundred years of glassware, from a beaker from the time of Peter the Great to a vase made by the Imperial Glass Factory that the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna kept on her desk in Denmark after the Russian Revolution. Russian enamels from the late nineteenth century include a major jewel casket made by the Ovchinnikov firm and presented to Tsar Alexander III’s Minister of the Interior, as well as the work of Fedor Ruckert and the work masters of the Faberge firm.

The objects exhibited provide a rare, intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of the tsars. The collection brings together a political and social timeline tied to an understanding of Russian culture. In viewing The Tsars’ Cabinet, one is transported to a majestic era of progressive politics and dynamic social change.

The Tsars’ Cabinet is developed from the Kathleen Durdin Collection and is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

The 'Tsar's Cabinet' exhibit is on view March 27 through May 24, 2014 at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts. 
© Museum of Russian Icons. 20 March, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:39 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2014 6:49 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 March 2014
The Tsars and the East Exhibition Opens in Lisbon
Topic: Exhibitions

The Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Portugal hosts a remarkable exposition of about 60 masterpieces offered as lavish gifts and tributes by the Ottomans and Safavids to the Tsars through large embassies, diplomatic missions, and trade delegations. The exhibition explores the history and peculiarities of active diplomatic and trade relations between Russia and eastern countries starting from the period of the Golden Horde.

Ranging in date from the late XVIth century to the late XVIIth century, artworks from the Kremlin collection include rarely seen arms and armor, bejeweled ceremonial vessels, state regalia, church utensils and vestments, intended for the Russian court or the Orthodox Church.

The exposition reveals the artistic excellence of the presented historical relics, their artistic and cultural impact, and the aesthetic and ceremonial etiquette they inspired, that became a defining characteristic of the Russian court and of the XVIIth century.

"This exhibition is noteworthy for being the first time that a Portuguese museum has presented these pieces, which are striking for the richness of the precious stones that decorate them, the sumptuous fabrics from which many of the objects are made, and their hitherto unprecedented originality. It will certainly constitute one of the most remarkable and original series of pieces ever presented at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum."
The Tsars and the East exhibition runs until May 18th, 2014 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. 
© Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. 11 March, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:02 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:07 PM EDT
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Monday, 17 February 2014
London and Paris to Host "Orthodox Rus. The Romanovs" Exhibition?
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition, "Orthodox Rus. The Romanovs. My history", which was a great success in Moscow, may take place in a number of European cities, reports Interfax-Religion.

London and Paris have already made their applications, reported Archimandrite Tihon (Shevkunov), Abbot of the Sretensky Monastery, secretary of the Patriarchal Cultural Council, and one of curators of the exposition, on Wednesday in St. Petersburg to journalists. Fr. Tikhon has not yet made any specific plans to take the exhibition abroad.

On February 16 the exhibition will opened in the "Lenexpo" exhibition complex in St. Petersburg and will be held there till March 2. After the northern capital, the exhibition will be displayed in Vladivostok, Kazan, Volgograd, Samara, Sochi, and other Russian cities.

"We did not expect such a success in Moscow. The exhibition was prolonged three times, people queued for four hours, and 80 percent of them were young people. This indicates that our history is indeed in high demand. People want to know who they are and what are their roots," noted Fr. Tikhon.

Deputy governor of the St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhi related that among the new arrivals of the exhibition, prepared especially for St. Petersburg, there will be a performance called, "The Bronze Horseman" on the theme by one of Alexander Pushkin's poems. The area of display rooms will be 4,000 square meters, and 350 multimedia devices are involved in the work.

"The city government took the most active part in organization of the exhibition. No budgetary funds have been spent, and that is a good trend. St. Petersburg companies have given considerable financial support," noted V. Kichedzhi.

The exhibition, arranged with participation of the Russian Church, was first displayed in Moscow on November 4-24. Over 300,000 people attended this exhibition.

"This is the highest attendance of exhibitions held at the "Manezh" Central Exhibition Hall in recent years and it is unique for historical exhibitions," reported earlier the press service of the Synodal Information Department.

The preparation work was carried out for over half a year and about 1000 people were involved in it: historians, designers, a creative team, experts on computer graphics, sound, light, video, film-makers, and film-cutters. The exhibition occupied 4,000 square meters of the main exhibition hall in Moscow.

Over 40 excursions were held for school and university students every day. Requests to arranging excursions were received by the organizing committee until the closing of the exhibition; however, excursions were held throughout the first days of the exposition's work.

The exhibition was centered around the discussion of Russian history during the rule of the Romanovs, which lasted for 300 years. The narration was mostly carried out by means of over 350 multimedia carriers, including touch screen monitors, 50 plasmas monitors, light boxes, iPads with interactive quiz games and informative applications, and brief, captivating films. 
© and Interfax. 17 February, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:33 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 17 February 2014 6:09 AM EST
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Saturday, 8 February 2014
Passion of the Empress: Catherine the Great's Art Patronage
Topic: Exhibitions

Driven by a thirst for knowledge and a quest for the throne, Catherine propelled herself to the role of Empress through the sheer power of her intellect, cunning, and resolve. For thirty-four years, she reigned over a golden age of Russian culture, founding what would become the State Hermitage Museum and transforming St. Petersburg into one of Europe’s cultural centers.
Passion of the Empress: Catherine the Great’s Art Patronage presents a selection of finely-crafted decorative art pieces to explore how the famous tsarina masterfully blended traditions of Byzantine art with the Western neoclassical style that was a hallmark of the Enlightenment.
With the stunning Buch Chalice as the centerpiece, twenty-seven works from Hillwood’s Russian imperial art collection form the foundation of the exhibition. Other lenders to the exhibition include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, The Birmingham Museum of Art, and private collections. 
When she took the throne in 1762, Catherine was determined to change the perception of Russia throughout Europe as a culturally lacking empire.
Having lived at court since 1744, when she became engaged to the future Peter III, while educating herself about Russian culture, language, and the Orthodox Church, Catherine quietly developed her own sense of style.
Her immersion in Russian tradition did not preclude the savvy Empress from maintaining ties with Western Europe. Correspondence with the French philosophes in particular eventually strengthened French taste in Russia and enabled Catherine to foster the arts, science, and education.
Though she is best known for collecting thousands of paintings, Catherine commissioned splendid metalwork, porcelain, glasswork, and books for her own use and as gifts for courtiers. It is in these objects that the blending of Byzantine and classical influences shows Catherine’s desire to forge a new direction for Russian culture and align it with the West.
Many of the objects in the exhibition bring focus to Catherine’s use of ancient and medieval carved cameos and intaglios and her incorporation of those into her commissions for new works of art. The empress not only shared the Enlightenment sentiment that carved gems were important pieces of the past, but she was also aware of the power associated with the practice of collecting cameos.
The most exquisite example of this intermingling is the Buch Chalice. Commissioned in 1790, Iver Windfeldt Buch produced two liturgical sets, each comprising a chalice and several other pieces necessary for celebrating the Divine Liturgy.
To construct the sets, Catherine provided Buch with gold and diamonds from the State Treasury and carved gems representing scenes from the life of Christ, saints, and angels, which came from her private collection. Of the gems, a thirteenth-century Byzantine cameo of the Archangel Michael is the oldest. The remaining ones are mostly contemporary.
Catherine presented a set, including this chalice, to the Trinity Cathedral in the Aleksandr Nevskii Monastery in St. Petersburg on August 29, 1791.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a glass cameo of Catherine II in the Guise of Minerva, based on a Siberian jasper cameo carved by Catherine’s daughter-in-law, Maria Feodorovna, depicting Catherine as the goddess Minerva wearing a helmet decorated with a winged sphinx crown and laurel wreath; a late 17th-century censer that is one of the most stunning examples of metalwork in Hillwood’s collection; and pieces from the Orlov Porcelain Service, the expansive set made at Catherine’s request by the Imperial Porcelain Factory for Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov (1734-1783).
The exhibition was organized by the Georgia Museum of Art (titled Exuberance of Meaning: The Art Patronage of Catherine the Great). A full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays by organizing curator Asen Kirin, associate professor of art and associate director of the Lamar Dodd School of art at the University of Georgia, and Dr. Scott Ruby, Hillwood’s associate curator for Russian and Eastern European Art. 
Passion of the Empress: Catherine the Great’s Art Patronage opens at Hillwood Museum in Washington, DC on February 18th, and ends on June 8th, 2014. 
© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 08 February, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:29 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 8 February 2014 5:48 AM EST
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Monday, 3 February 2014
Popular Romanov Exhibition to Open in St. Petersburg
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds
Topic: Exhibitions
This time lapsed video of the Moscow exhibit shows the amount of preparation that went into the exhibition installation at the Manege in November 2013. It also provides fantasic views which depict the sheer size of the exhibition itself. The popular exhibit allows Russians to learn about the Romanov dynasty and the contribution they made to Russia's history. The exhibition will tour other major Russian cities including Vladivostok, Kazan, Voronezh, Samara and Sochi and Ekaterinburg. 
Orthodox Russia - The Romanovs: My Story, the popular Romanov exhibition marking the 400th anniversary which took Moscow by storm in November 2013 is scheduled to open in St. Petersburg this month. Beginning February 16th, St. Petersburg residents will have an opportunity to explore this unique exhibition, which tells the history of the Romanovs with the latest multimedia technology.

During the exhibition in Moscow at the Manege exhibition hall it caused an incredible stir. The exhibit was so popular that it had to be extended twice to accomodate the number of visitors. In three weeks it was visited by more than three hundred thousand people.

The exposition is devoted to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. During the reign of the Romanov dynasty in Russia there was a lot of great geographical discoveries, the dawn of the "Golden Age" of Russian culture, the victory over Napoleon and the Industrial Revolution. Visitors to the exhibition will travel through the centuries, to visualize the entire history of dynasty with modern technology: 3D- animated collages and installations, touch tables and panels, lightboxes and a giant plasma screen size is four times the face of the Kremlin chimes.

The exhibition runs from February 16 - March 2, 2014 at the St. Petersburg Lenexpo. Admission is free.

© Royal Russia. 03 February, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:06 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 3 February 2014 3:21 PM EST
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Thursday, 16 January 2014
The Sports of the Russian Tsars: Chess, Cycling and Tennis
Topic: Exhibitions

Tsar Nicholas II was very fond of sports and physical exercise. Cycling was a favourite pastime, one which he shared with his children
An exhibition dedicated to the sport hobbies of the Romanovs has opened in Sochi until March 23, 2014. On display are 300 unique exhibits from the museum funds of The State Peterhof Museum Reserve, including Catherine the Great’s horse saddle, Nicholas the First’s chivalry tournament goblet, and Alexander II’s first bicycle.
Click on the link below to read the full review of this exhibition, as well as 10 colour photographs and a video;

The Sports of the Russian Tsars: Chess, Cycling and Tennis

For more information on this exhibition, and the Romanovs in sports, please click on the following links; 

(1) Sochi Hosts Exhibition Dedicated to the Romanovs and Sports + Video

(2) The Romanovs and the Olympic Games 

© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 16 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:58 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 January 2014 9:18 AM EST
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Monday, 6 January 2014
Servants of the Russian Imperial Court. Late 19th - Early 20th Century Livery in the Hermitage Collection
Topic: Exhibitions

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:57 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 6 January 2014 10:00 AM EST
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Saturday, 4 January 2014
At the Court of the Russian Emperors: 18th to Early 20th Century Costume in the Hermitage
Topic: Exhibitions

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:20 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 4 January 2014 10:22 AM EST
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