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Thursday, 3 November 2016
Exhibition Dedicated to 200 Years of Relations Between the House of Romanov and Hohenzollern Dynasties Opens in Germany
Topic: Exhibitions

Wedding of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, with Emperor Wilhelm II (1938) 
This article has been translated by Dmitry Lapa and updated with additional information by Paul Gilbert.

The exhibition, Kinship by Choice: the Romanovs and the Hohenzollerns – 200 Years Together has opened at Hohenzollern Castle near Stuttgart.

It includes over 130 exhibits. Among them are portraits and photographs of members of the House of Romanov and the House of Hohenzollern, personal items of imperial family members, pictures reflecting events which involved Russian and Prussian monarchs, early twentieth century photos depicting meetings of St. Nicholas II and Wilhelm II, and personal notes of the latter in which he tells about his attempts to rescue the Russian tsar and his family in the summer of 1918.

The exhibition will run until January 29, 2017. It was opened as part of the evening of German-Russian friendship arranged by the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation.

Additionally, a concert was performed at Hohenzollern Castle by both German and Russan singers, and a Litya was served at the castle’s Orthodox chapel near the grave of Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia (1909-1967), grandmother of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia. The service was celebrated by Igumen Maxim (Schmidt), representative of the Southern Deanery of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Next year will mark the 200th wedding anniversary of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich (the future Emperor Nicholas I) and the Prussian Princess Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina (1798-1860). The latter was received into Orthodoxy with the name Alexandra Feodorovna and became the Russian empress in 1825.

It was the first “dynastic marriage” of a representative of the House of Romanov with a member of the Hohenzollern Dynasty which in many ways predetermined friendly and allied relations between Russia and Germany that were maintained for the most of the nineteenth century.

Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna gave birth to four sons from whom all the following generations of the Romanov Dynasty were descended. All their descendants living today are also descendants of this Prussian princess.

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, attending the opening of the exhibition held in the Hohenzollern Castle
Head of the House of Hohenzollern Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, the Russian Federation’s Ambassador to Germany Vladimir Grinin, and CEO of the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation Leonid Sevastianov took part in the opening of the exhibition. Prince Georg Friedrich personally invited his aunt, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, to attend the opening of the exhibit.

© / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia 3 November, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:12 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 November 2016 7:10 AM EDT
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Saturday, 8 October 2016
Exhibition 'The Grimaldis and the Romanovs. Three Centuries of History' Opens in Moscow
Topic: Exhibitions

Director of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Zelfira Tregulova (right) explains the history of 
Fabergé's Blue Serpent Clock Egg to President Vladimir Putin and Prince Albert II of Monaco
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The exhibition The Grimaldis and the Romanovs. Three Centuries of History opened on 7th October 2016 at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

The exhibition is one of the main events marking Monaco Days in Russia. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Federal Archives Agency of Russia, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Grimaldi Forum, and the New National Museum of Monaco. It tells about the history of relations between Russia and Monaco and of the Russian Imperial House and the House of Grimaldi. In 1917, relations between Monaco and Russia were suspended and restored only in 2006.

Relations between the two dynasties are presented in the official decrees and manifestos, letters and photographs, diaries and commemorative albums, paintings and personal objects. The exhibition, which is arranged in chronological order, will make it possible to go from the Middle Ages to the present day, by comparing parallels between two of the oldest dynasties in Europe. Belonging to the higher strata of the Genoese medieval society, representatives of the House of Grimaldi were actively involved in large-scale colonization of the Black Sea during the Genoese during the 13th-15th centuries. Thus, the Grimaldi’s were directly involved in the exploration and development of future Russian territories.

The exhibition presents 167 archival and museum objects from 11 collections, including the Tretyakov Gallery, Federal Archives Agency of Russia, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Public Records Office of the Russian Federation, and the Property Management of his Grace the Prince of Monaco.

One of the key exhibits is the Blue Serpent Clock Egg, presented to Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna by her son Emperor Nicholas II on Easter day, 1895. The Fabergé Imperial Egg was purchased by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in in 1974, in honour of his Silver Jubilee — the 25th anniversary of his accession to the Grimaldi throne.

Through this exhibition, the exhibits from Monaco are for the first time presented in Moscow, some of them have never left the Principality of Monaco. Together with the unique items stored in the Russian collections, they allow visitors to explore the long history of relations between Russia and Monaco, and verify the existence of a mutual interest in culture and science between the two countries.

"A visit to the exhibition is a most captivating journey. Here you can see that the history repeatedly brought these two faraway countries together, so today's very good relations between Russia and Monaco were preceded with powerful boosting in historical perspective", - the director of the Tretyakov Gallery, Zelfira Tregulova pointed out.

The exhibition The Grimaldis and the Romanovs. Three Centuries of History runs from 7th October to 13th November 2016 at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 8 October, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:47 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2016 3:07 PM EDT
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Thursday, 6 October 2016
Exhibition "St. Petersburg Art Nouveau. 1890-1910" Opens in Kazan
Topic: Exhibitions

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

A new exhibition St. Petersburg Art Nouveau. 1890-1910s opened on October 5th at the Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre. The Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre is a subdivision of the Kazan Kremlin State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve. The Centre is located on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin in the building of the former Junker School built at the beginning of the 19th century. 

The exhibition features more than 150 exhibits - some of which are shown for the first time - from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. On display are gowns, dresses and accessories in the Art Nouveau style. These are complemented by paintings and photographic portraits of contemporaries, as well as home furnishings, giving visitors a three-dimensional representation of the "ladies 'world" of St. Petersburg at the turn of 19th-20th centuries.

The new artistic style of the late 19th-20th centuries, coincided with the reign of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. By the beginning of the XX century Art Nouveau reached the highest point of its development, not only in Europe but also in Russia.

Most of the exhibits originated from the Anichkov and the Winter Palaces in St. Petersburg, from the wardrobes of members of the Romanov dynasty, including Empresses Maria Feodorovna and Alexandra Fyodorovna, and Emperor Nicholas II. These are complemented by additional exhibits from the Yusupov and Shuvalov mansions, from the wardrobes of members of the Russian aristocracy. 

The collection of costumes is the largest in Russia. Each gown, dress or uniform is a rare artistic phenomenon, reflecting not only the tastes of the owner, but the major stylistic trends of the time. Each has been painstaking preserved, thanks to the efforts of museum conservators who have restored each costume to their original beauty, thus allowing visitors to appreciate the work of masters of a bygone era.
The exhibition St. Petersburg Art Nouveau. 1890-1910s runs from 5th October 2016 to 9th Apri 2017 at the Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre in Kazan, Russia.
Note: view more than 20 colour photos of the exhibition on the Royal Russia Facebook page.  

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 6 October, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:21 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2016 1:30 PM EDT
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Thursday, 1 September 2016
Exhibition: Russian Interiors in 19th - Early 20th Century Graphics
Topic: Exhibitions

This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

A new exhibition opened on 31 August at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, which presents for the first time a unique graphic collection of Russian interiors, one of the largest in Russia. The exhibition "Russian Interiors in 19th - Early 20th Century Graphics" presents 60 works made both by recognized masters of the genre of interior graphics, as well as less well-known artists of 19th - early 20th centuries. Visitors will have an opportunity to view the interiors of Imperial and Grand Ducal palaces, urban and rural estates, mansions of St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin and St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Interior themes appeared in Russian art at the turn of 18th-19th centuries, gaining popularity in the second quarter of the 19th century, mainly in paintings. Artists captured living rooms, offices, educational and children's rooms in graphics which have now become important historic documents of the tsarist era, which provide a glimpse of everyday life and styles of interiors of the period.

The exhibition is organized chronologically. The works of the second quarter - the middle of 19th century, the time of greatest prosperity of the interior of the genre, are presented in the first room. The second hall is dedicated to the works of the second half of 19th - early 20th century, a period of historicism and art nouveau.

The centre of the exposition of the second hall is a series of watercolours of state rooms in the summer palace-dacha of Princess Z. I. Yusupova in Tsarskoye Selo, executed the largest master of interior genre by V. S. Sadovnikov in 1872. These watercolours are part of the album, purchased by the State Historical Museum in 2014 at the expense of the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation. Sadovnikov’s exquisite watercolours are on display at this exhibit for the first time.

Also on display at the exhibition are watercolours from the collection of the State Historical Museum, providing a complete picture of the various stages of development of the interior of the Russian graphic genre of the 19th - early 20th centuries. They showcase a bygone era through works of art, highlighting their importance as pictorial documents of their time.
The exhibition "Russian Interiors in 19th - Early 20th Century Graphics" runs until 28th November, 2016 at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

To view some of the beautiful graphics on display in the this exhibit, click on the link below to watch a short video (in Russian):

Russian Interiors in 19th - Early 20th Century Graphics + VIDEO (in Russian)

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 1 September, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:50 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2016 8:15 AM EDT
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Friday, 15 July 2016
The Wonders of the Tsars Exhibit Opens in Turin
Topic: Exhibitions

The Wonders of the Tsars exhibit opened today in the Palace of Venaria (Reggia di Venaria Reale), the former residence of the Royal House of Savoy, situated near Turin.

The exhibition presents the splendour of one of the most sumptuous estates in Europe, comprised of palaces and fountains: large projections, images and around one hundred objects on display, including paintings, dresses, porcelain, tapestry and precious stones from the stately rooms of Peterhof will recreate the spirit of one of the most prestigious residences of the House of Romanov, now a destination of cultural tourism in Russia.

Located in a vast park area on the shore of the Baltic Sea near St. Petersburg, the first palace at Peterhof was built by Peter the Great (hence the residence's name). Over the years splendid buildings and gardens were added to the complex by the sovereigns that followed, from Catherine the Great to Nicholas II.

The display opens with a presentation of Peterhof and the figures that inhabited the residence, starting with a large tapestry of Peter the Great. Some of the objects that follow were purchased by the Romanovs during their travels across Europe on spectacular Grand Tours, while others were commissioned by the Tsars to Russian artisans and craftsmen. Together, they reconstruct the opulence of the Russian court and the relations between the Houses of Romanov and the House of Savoy over the centuries.

The Wonders of the Tsars exhibit runs from 16 July 2016 to 29 January 2017 in the Palace of Venaria (Reggia di Venaria Reale), near Turin, Italy.

© Reggia di Venaria Reale. 15 July, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 17 July 2016 6:36 AM EDT
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Thursday, 30 June 2016
Imperial Russia: Nikos Floros Pays Tribute to the Romanov Family
Topic: Exhibitions

Greek artist Nikos Floros
The penetrating gaze of Tsar Nicholas II greets visitors in the St Catherine’s side-altar area of the State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral. The world’s fourth largest basilica and one of the city’s top tourist attractions – featuring green malachite and blue lapis lazuli columns beneath its 101.52-meter gold-plated dome – is currently hosting “Imperial Russia,” an exhibition of new works by Greek artist Nikos Floros.

Commissioned by the Russian state within the framework of the 2016 Year of Greece in Russia, the display focuses on the country’s last imperial family, the Romanovs.

The fate of the last tsar and his immediate family is more or less known: Nicholas II was deposed in February 1917 and he and his immediate family were executed in Yekaterinburg in July 1918. The family was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1981.

“The proposal points to Russia revisiting the idea of its ‘Imperial’ tradition, with the country reaching out to its Orthodox and Byzantine roots,” Floros told Kathimerini English Edition. “Besides, it was during the rule of Tsar Nicholas II that Russian literature, art and culture reached their peak.”

At the same time, the House of Romanov mirrored an old system that failed to keep up with the rapidly changing times. At St Isaac’s, the Greek artist brings his own “instinct and sense of responsibility” to a bloody chapter of history through seven mosaic portraits: There’s the majestic – and colorful – Tsar Nicholas II in full military attire, flanked by black-and-white metallic portrayals of his spouse, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, their daughters Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Maria and their son and would-be heir, hemophilic Alexei.

“The works are based on a few of the family’s last official photographs, with a focus on details which, at times, seem to predict the tragic end. Their eyes are filled with sadness,” noted the 46-year-old Floros.

The Romanov faces emerged through the artist’s signature technique, mosaics comprising large numbers of minute pieces of aluminum from soft drink cans – a method he patented in 2003. The creative idea was founded on the notion of recycling as well as a sense of the ephemeral which permeates the present era.

Seven egg-shaped sculptures inspired by the renowned Faberge eggs accompany the portraits.

Floros portraits of members of the Russian Imperial family are currently on display in St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
Executed in a series of limited editions by Peter Carl Faberge (1846-1920), a Russian of French descent, the original jeweled pieces were known to be the imperial family’s favorite Easter presents. Instead of using gold and precious stones, however, Floros worked with broken glass.

“My aim was to express the tsars’ fragile lives and use the sculptures as vehicles containing their ‘hearts,’ made of red aluminum fibers. Even though they were murdered, their hearts remained intact,” said Floros, adding a metaphysical dimension to the display, which steers clear from hagiography or religious art.

“Following his work on sculptured paintings, the Faberge-style eggs point to a new direction in terms of Floros’s creative style,” noted Aristotelis Karantis, who has been curating the artist’s shows in the last four years.

“In this display contemporary artistic features meet cultural classicism.”

Greece’s consul general in Saint Petersburg, Panos Beglitis, acclaimed Russian actor and current State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral director Nikolai Burov, and Deputy Regional Governor of the Peloponnese Constantina Nikolakou were among a group of dignitaries attending the exhibition’s inauguration earlier this month. On the day, a short film screened on a video wall inside the museum showed a Coca-Cola can turn into a key raw material on the artist’s canvas, while original footage showed the Romanovs in more carefree times.

Meanwhile, the show promotes the idea of cultural diplomacy which Floros has been nurturing in the last few years. Following a display of works inspired by El Greco at St Isaac’s two years ago, “Imperial Russia” signals his fourth exhibition at state museums in the culture-loving country. It is estimated that over 5 million visitors viewed his sculptures of costumes inspired by Maria Callas and Grace Kelly at Moscow’s Tsaritsyno in 2013, for instance. Julia Sysalova, Floros’s exhibitions director, has been a steady ally all along.

“As a Russian, I’m very proud to collaborate with an artist who chose to create a collection devoted to my country and its history in the frame of the Greek-Russian cross year,” she said.

How do young Russians view the Romanovs today?

“There is a sense of injustice and a feeling of sadness vis-a-vis the family, the children who were killed,” observed Natalia and Vadim, a Russian couple, after visiting the temporary display which they defined as “impressive.”

In the former imperial, revolutionary and presently federal city – as well as President Vladimir Putin’s birthplace – the Greek artist’s metal and glass works are being exhibited under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church and will remain on display through August 31. “Our shared spiritual heritage, Orthodoxy, gives special weight to Greek-Russian relations,” noted Floros.

One year prior to the centennial anniversary of the October Revolution, the Russian Church is about to take control, once again, of the cathedral – a museum of atheism during Soviet rule. As a result, “Imperial Russia” is billed as the last visual arts event St Isaac’s will host in its capacity as a museum.
Click on the link below for more information and photos of this exhibition:

Imperial Russia: Nikos Floros Pays Tribute to the Romanov Family

© Kathimerini. 30 June, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:23 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 June 2016 5:36 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 June 2016
Exhibition: Empress Maria Fedorovna. Love Story
Topic: Exhibitions

This article has been written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On 3 June, a unique exhibition dedicated to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna opened at the Museum of Fine Arts of Karelia, located in the historic center of Petrozavodsk, Russia.

Maria Feodorovna (born Princess Dagmar of Denmark), was the wife of Emperor Alexander III, and mother of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II.

The life of this great woman was fanned by love. She loved her adopted country Russia in which lived more than half a century, including thirteen years as empress. She loved art, studied painting and was a gifted artist. She was a loving and devoted wife, and a gentle, caring mother and grandmother.

Maria Feodorovna was one of the most prominent women in the Romanov dynasty, patriot of Russia, champion of orthodoxy, protector of the weak and disadvantaged. Thanks to her tireless charity work she acquired the sincere love and respect of the Russian people.

Art has always played a large role at the Imperial Court of Russia. As in European and British royal houses, the appreciation and study of art was a part of the education for members of the Russian Imperial family as well.

Both Maria Feodorovna and her husband received painting lessons from Russian artist Alexei Petrovich Bogolyubov (1824-1896), who later became a good friend to the August family. Bogolyubov was a brilliant master of battle scenes, and gorgeous seascapes, an artist who made a great contribution to the development of Russian plein air painting.

The exhibition features two paintings by Maria Feodorovna, as well as paintings by prominent Russian artists of the 19th century: Ivan Aivazovsky, KY Kryzhitsky, AA Pisemsky, AI Meshchersky, GF Yartsev among others. The exhibition is further complemented by a magnificent collection of porcelain items from the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg.

Exhibition: Empress Maria Fedorovna. Love Story runs from 3 June - 18 September, 2016 at the Museum of Fine Arts of Karelia, in Petrozavodsk, Russia

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 June, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:09 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 27 June 2016 11:15 AM EDT
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Monday, 20 June 2016
Exhibition: Catherine, the Greatest Self-polished Diamond of the Hermitage
Topic: Exhibitions

Two hundred and fifty years after Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents her life story in a sumptuous exhibition on Europe's longest-reigning empress. Her name has always been surrounded with stories and superlatives, often about her private life and court intrigues. Some of these stories belong to the realm of myth, but others are perfectly true.

At the age of fourteen, Catherine (1729–1796) was a German princess married off to the Russian tsar. She later overthrew her husband, Peter III, and claimed the throne for herself. Catherine would become the greatest tsarina of all times. She had ambitious plans to reform the whole empire and acted with great foresight. Although she encountered setbacks, her achievements were astounding.

Catherine had a tremendous passion for art and contributed more than anyone else to the world’s greatest art collection. She was an enlightened despot, corresponding with Voltaire and Diderot. She added a new territory to her empire as large as France, and including the Crimea. And in all her endeavours, she had a sharp eye for talented people who could help her, such as the Orlov brothers and her most influential lover, Potemkin. She was a diamond of her own making.

After her death, Catherine was central to hundreds of books, films, and plays, and she inspired great actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Hildegard Knef, Catherine Deneuve, and Julia Ormond.

Aided by her memoirs and those of her contemporaries, we present more than 300 objects from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, which invite visitors into Catherine’s world. The exhibition unravels her life story and sketches her personality. It is also an exhibition like a jewellery box, with magnificent personal possessions such as dresses, bijoux, cameos, and snuff boxes, as well the finest art works from her vast collection: paintings, sculptures, exquisite crafts, and portraits of her friends and loved ones.

The exhibition: Catherine, the Greatest Self-polished Diamond of the Hermitage runs from 18 June 2016 to 15 January 2017 at the Hermitage Amsterdam

 All Photos © State Hermitage Museum

© Hermitage Amsterdam. 20 June, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:18 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 20 June 2016 9:23 AM EDT
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Monday, 13 June 2016
Hermitage Amsterdam to Host New Romanov Exhibitions
Topic: Exhibitions

One of the most popular Amsterdam museums, the Hermitage Museum is part of the world-famous Russian museum in St. Petersburg. Starting this month, the Amsterdam branch will host the first of two exhibitions dedicated to the Romanov dynasty. Each exhibit will offer visitors a huge collection of art and cultural items from the vast collection of the State Hermitage Museum in Russia. 

Catherine the Great
18 June 2016– 15 January 2017

More than twenty years after the De Nieuwe Kerk’s exhibition devoted to Catherine the Great, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents a comprehensive and compelling exhibition on her life and art collections.

1917: From Romanov to Revolution

11 February – 17 September

The year 1917 was a turning point in Russian history. Film footage, photographs, paintings and applied art sketch the life of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa Nicholas II and Alexandra, and political and social life during and after their reign. The exhibition explores what happened to the art collections of the Tsars after the Winter Palace was captured and how artists responded to the political upheavals of 1917 and beyond.

© Hermitage Amsterdam. 13 June, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
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Friday, 26 February 2016
State Hermitage Hosts Exhibition of Sculpture in St Petersburg's Palaces in 19th Century
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition Created by a Hand with but a Chisel Armed…” Sculpture in St Petersburg’s Palaces in the Nineteenth Century opened today, on 26 February 2016, in the Twelve-Column Hall of the New Hermitage.

The exhibition presents splendid works of sculpture that adorned the halls of imperial and grand-ducal palaces and the private apartments of Petersburgers in the 1800s. A key part of the display is the watercolour interior views of palaces featuring these sculptures that were created by 19th-century artists. In all, more than 70 works from the State Hermitage’s collection are included (over 30 sculptures and 40 watercolours). 

From the early 1800s, works of sculpture were increasingly used to embellish the private apartments of imperial and grand-ducal palaces and also private residences. Portrait busts and statues, groups with mythological and allegorical subjects produced in a great variety of materials and small-scale plastic art in bronze adorned drawing rooms and studies, libraries and winter gardens. Sculpture gradually became an inseparable part of a refined St Petersburg interior. In artistic standard, many of these marble statues and groups were not inferior to the works exhibited at that time in the Imperial Hermitage, but they were known only to a narrow circle of citizens of the Russian capital. For example, in 1802 a statue of Cupid and the group Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova were delivered to Prince Nikolai Borisovich Yusupov at his palace on the Fontanka, while in 1815 Emperor Alexander I acquired four works by the same Italian sculptor for the Hermitage collection. 

Besides the creations of Antonio Canova (1757–1822) and Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), the most famous sculptors of the Neo-Classical period, the palaces of St Petersburg contained works by their gifted pupils and followers – Pietro Tenerani (1789–1869) and Luigi Bienamé (1795–1878), Rinaldo Rinaldi (1793–1873) and John Gibson (1790–1866), Christian Daniel Rauch (1777–1857) and Emil Wolff (1802–1879), Boris Orlovsky (1797–1837), Alexander Loganovsky (1812–1855) and many other celebrated Western European and Russian figures of the 19th century. 

The statues and sculptural groups that belonged to members of the imperial family and the St Petersburg nobility in the mid-1800s were most often acquired in Italy and Germany. It was in those countries that Emperor Nicholas I purchased the “latest sculpture”, both for the New Hermitage and as gifts.  Among them was the Danaid created by Rauch in 1839 and presented to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna by her husband in 1840. The display includes works of sculpture specially commissioned and purchased in Italy in 1838–39 for the collection of the heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Alexander Nikolayevich (the future Alexander II), and also the sculpture Cupid with Attributes of Hercules by Emil Wolff that was bought in 1859 for his son, Grand Duke Nikolai Alexandrovich.

The statue of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna created to a special commission from Emperor Nicholas I has an interesting history. The sculpture by Karl Friedrich Wichmann (1775–1836) was lost in the great Winter Palace fire of 1837 and recreated by the Russian sculptor Dmitry Savelyevich Savelyev in 1840. 

The Mariinsky Palace, which belonged to the family of Nicholas I’s eldest daughter, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna, was embellished with marble works by Canova, Rauch, Wolff and other 19th-century sculptors.
Visitors to Baron Alexander von Stieglitz’s mansion on the English Embankment could see works by celebrated sculptors – Thorvaldsen, Wolff and Bienamé. The exhibition includes Emil Wolff's marble group Thetis that belonged to Stieglitz in the 1870s and adorned the drawing-room of his residence. 

The bust of a Faun in the display was brought to St Petersburg in the early 1830s, when it was considered to be by Michelangelo (now it is attributed to his contemporary Baccio Bandinelli). After passing through several hands in St Petersburg, in the 1860s the Faun came into the home of Count Pavel Sergeyevich Stroganov, under whose will it entered the Hermitage in 1912.

Watercolours by Eduard Hau, Konstantin Ukhtomsky, Luigi Premazzi, Ivan Volsky and Jules Mayblum that recorded rooms in the Winter, Mikhailovsky, Mariinsky and Novo-Mikhailovsky Palaces, the apartments in the residences of Count Stroganov and Baron Stieglitz, today make it possible to see lost or inaccessible interiors and also to appreciate the quantity and variety of the sculpture, as well as the different ways it was placed in 19th-century interiors.

The exhibition has been prepared by the Department of Western European Fine Art (headed by Sergei Olegovich Androsov, Doctor of Art Studies). The exhibition curators are Yelena Ivanovna Karcheva, Candidate of Art Studies, senior researcher, and Yekaterina Mikhailovna Orekhova, junior researcher in the Department of Western European Fine Art. An illustrated scholarly catalogue, “Created by a Hand with but a Chisel Armed…” Sculpture in St Petersburg’s Palaces in the Nineteenth Century (State Hermitage Publishing House, 2016), has been produced for the exhibition. The descriptions in the catalogue have been written by members of the State Hermitage staff: Sergei Androsov, Mikhail Dedinkin, Yelena Karcheva, Yekaterina Orekhova, A.V. Solovyev, I.O. Sychev and E.A. Tarasova.

© State Hermitage Museum. 26 February, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:57 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 26 February 2016 11:01 AM EST
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