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Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Exhibition: The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917. History was Made Here
Topic: Exhibitions

 
Photo © State Hermitage Museum
 
This article was originally published by the State Hermitage Museum

In October 2017, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the State Hermitage has prepared a major project under the general title The Storming of the Winter Palace. The central event of the project will be the exhibition The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917. History was Made Here. The exhibition which features more than 350 items opened on 25 October 2017.
 


The year 1917 swept across Russia, bringing turmoil to the life of the huge country. The February Revolution and the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, followed by Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich’s non-acceptance of supreme power, put an end to the monarchy. The October Revolution ushered in a new era in world history. Events unfolded in the very centre of the capital – in the Winter Palace. Even converted into a huge military hospital, it remained a symbol of imperial rule. That is why it was here that the revolutionary masses gathered in February 1917 and right here that the Provisional Government was arrested in October 1917.

The events of 1917 also affected the Hermitage, which experienced in full measure all the cataclysms of that time. The museum’s curators protected the treasures entrusted to them. They kept watch in the museum round the clock as there were not enough guards, oversaw the evacuation of the collections and refused to allow exhibits to be taken from the museum to suit the political ends of the new Bolshevik rulers. Most importantly, they began to implement the idea of turning a court museum into a national one. The Hermitage’s main “revolutionary achievement” was the joining of the Winter Palace to the museum: Imperial Hermitage and imperial residence were united in one of the world’s greatest museums.
 


The state rooms of the Neva Enfilade of the Winter Palace – from the Jordan Gallery on the ground floor to the Small Dining-Room on the main floor – are the setting for the chief exhibition of 2017, telling about the museum and those in power, about the museum and the revolution, about the museum buildings and the imperial residence in 1917. The display includes more than 250 items from the collections of the State Hermitage, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps, the Military Medical Museum, the Pavlovsk State Museum Preserve, the Fabergé Museum and the Russian National Museum. The exhibition will also feature articles from private collections and a double portrait of Emperor Nicholas II and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin from Secondary School –206 in the Central District of St Petersburg.

The Jordan Gallery and Jordan Staircase will appear as no-one has seen them before – greeting visitors to the Hermitage with revolutionary posters, setting the mood for the main display.
 


The exhibition in the Forehall will be devoted to the life of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and his family. Personal belongings, photographs, the toys and drawings of the Tsar’s children will tell about the private life of the Romanovs. Here, too, there will be a display about the Winter Palace, the main imperial residence that remained the setting for grand ceremonies and official receptions even after the imperial family moved out to live at Tsarskoye Selo.

By 1917 the Imperial Hermitage was the largest museum in Russia and one of the best in Europe., Individual works by outstanding artists and some of Europe’s best private collections had been bought for it on the orders of the Russian rulers. Its collections included paintings, drawings, sculpture, cameos and intaglios, artistic bronze, porcelain, ivories and a numismatic collection, as well as artefacts from the Ancient World, the Treasure Gallery and Gallery of Peter the Great. By the year of the revolutions, the Hermitage’s stocks numbered over 700,000 items.
 


The display in the Nicholas Hall tells about the Russian Empire’s involvement in the First World War and the charitable activities of the Romanovs. On 1 August (19 July Old Style) 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. The following day the Emperor had a prayer service held in the Nicholas Hall. On Palace Square a great crowd of ordinary people kneeled while listening to the Emperor’s speech about the declaration of war. In 1915 Nicholas II took the decision to assume personal command of the Russian forces. In leaving the capital for the front, he committed a tragic error. By 1917 he had completely lost control over the situation in Petrograd, as the city had been renamed, where dissatisfaction with the protracted war intensified and public unrest began to grow. By that time, patriotic determination to see the great struggle through to victory had given way to the slogan “Down with the war!”
 
For the imperial family the war was a personal cause. Both Empresses, Nicholas II’s elder daughters and other members of the imperial family organized military hospitals and hospital trains, where they also worked themselves. “One so much wants to comfort and support these brave men and to stand in for their loved ones who are unable to be beside them!” Alexandra Feodorovna wrote to her husband, the Emperor, in March 1915.
 

 
Part of the display will be devoted to the Military Hospital named after the Heir and Tsesarevich Alexei that was opened in the Winter Palace in 1915 and functioned until 27 October 1917. The 1000-bed hospital was intended only for badly wounded soldiers. All the state rooms except the St George Hall were given over to it. The decorations were removed from the halls and the floors were covered with linoleum. The staff of the hospital under head physician Alexander Rutkovsky consisted of 24 doctors, 50 nurses and 120 medical orderlies.

Operations of the most difficult kinds were carried out here, including brain surgery. The exhibition will include photographs, documents, memorial items, equipment (including some made by the House of Fabergé) and medical instruments of the period.

This hall will also house displays devoted to the February Revolution, the Provisional Government and Alexander Kerensky in the Winter Palace, the Bolshevik seizure of power and the last year in the life of the imperial family – in Tsarskoye Selo, Tobolsk and Yekaterinburg.

On 23 February (8 March) 1917, meetings against the war devoted to the Day of Working Women, spontaneously flared up into mass strikes and demonstrations. On 27 February the armed forces began to mutiny: soldiers of the Life Guards Volhynia Regiment refused to obey government orders to fire on demonstrators. On 1 March the Petrograd garrison went over to the side of the strikers. The insurgents stormed and ransacked police stations and the city’s prisons, releasing the inmates, criminals as well as political detainees. Badly informed by contradictory reports from the capital, Nicholas II only left army headquarters in Mogilev for Petrograd on 1 March, but the imperial train was halted at Pskov on the orders of the hastily formed Provisional Committee of the State Duma. On 2 March, on the initiative of, and under pressure from, the Duma and the army high command, Emperor Nicholas II signed the Act of Abdication from the Russian throne.

On 2 (15) March 1917, the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies formed the Provisional All-Russian Government with eleven members, headed by Prince Georgy Lvov. The chief task of the Provisional Government was to summon a Constituent Assembly that would decide the future system of government for the country. The composition of the government changed several times. On 8 July 1917, after Prince Lvov’s resignation, Alexander Kerensky became prime minister. He moved into the Winter Palace together with his staff and a bodyguard of officer cadets.

On the night of 25 October (7 November) 1917, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko, the secretary of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee, and a group of soldiers and sailors arrested members of the Provisional Government in the Small Dining-Room of the Winter Palace. They entered the palace unobstructed since by that time the bulk of those defending the government had left the building. Only a part of the Women's Battalion of Death and a few cadets outside the Small Dining-Room were prepared to defend the government to the last, but the ministers decided to avoid bloodshed and ordered them to stop resisting. The October seizure of power was over. A commemorative display devoted to the arrest of the Provisional Government in the early hours of 26 October 1917 will be installed in the Small Dining-Room.

On 9 March 1917, immediately on rejoining his family in Tsarskoye Selo, the former Emperor was placed under house arrest, just as General Lavr Kornilov had arrested Alexandra Feodorovna the day before. In the summer of 1917 the Provisional Government moved the whole family to Tobolsk in Siberia. After October, the question of “bringing Nikolai Romanov to Petrograd and putting him on trial” was repeatedly raised at meetings of the Council of People’s Commissars, the new Bolshevik government. It was, however, decided for the moment to move the family “to a more reliable place”. In late April 1918, the Romanovs were transported to Yekaterinburg in the Urals, where they were held in the house of the engineer Ipatyev. There, in the early hours of 17 July 1918, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and the Heir and Tsesarevich Alexei were all shot.

The display in the Concert Hall will tell about the Hermitage during the revolutionary events of 1917 and the Winter Palace after the “storm”. Following the arrest of the Provisional Government, the soldiers and sailors scattered through the palace in search of the tsars’ gold and other treasures. The private apartments of the imperial family were ransacked. The exhibition will include photographs of the plundered rooms that were taken by the court photographer Karl Kubesh, personal items that were damaged and a portrait of Alexander II with holes from bayonets.

During the February Revolution, the Hermitage was closed to the public. The revolution and Nicholas II’s abdication were received enthusiastically in the museum. The Hermitage staff did not, however, accept the October Revolution, regarding the new authorities as usurpatory. Count Dmitry Tolstoi, who was director of the museum from 1909 to 1918, recalled: “One might say that at that time the whole Hermitage lived a difficult, feverish existence. It seemed as if you were experiencing a nightmare or burying someone very dear and close to you…”

The Bureau Caspar Conijn, based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has been invited to work on the design for the exhibition. The authentic exhibits are accompanied by state-of-the-art exhibition technologies – audio, video, large reproductions, artistic lighting. This will be the first time that such a synthesis between exhibits, light, sound and a visual component has been created in the Hermitage.

The exhibition curators are Viacheslav Anatolyevich Feodorov, head of the State Hermitage’s Department of the History of Russian Culture, and Yelena Yuryevna Solomakha, deputy head of the Department of Manuscripts and Documents.

The exhibition The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917. History was Made Here runs from 25 October 2017 and runs until 4 February 2018 in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

© State Hermitage Museum. 25 October, 2017
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 4:43 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
The Crown Under the Hammer: Russia, Romanovs, Revolution
Topic: Exhibitions

 
On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, The Crown under the Hammer highlights the dramatic shift in aesthetic tastes and artistic sensibilities ushered in by the fall of the last Russian tsars and the rise of the first Soviet commissars. The richly diverse material included in the exhibition, which unfolds across two sites on campus, is drawn largely from the Hoover Institution Library & Archives at Stanford, as well as from Stanford Libraries’ Special Collections, the Bowes Art & Architecture Library, and the Cantor Arts Center. A model of cross-campus cooperation and collaborative scholarship, this project spotlights the university as one of the world’s richest repositories of artwork and documentary material relating to the politics, society, and culture of late imperial and early Soviet Russia.

The exhibition will take place simultaneously at both the Hoover Institution and the Cantor. At the museum, provocative juxtapositions demonstrate the dramatic cultural shifts that took place in Russia in the first decades of the 20th century. Works on view range from easel paintings that reflect the Russian elite’s enormous affluence and respect for tradition, to mass-produced posters and printed matter that exemplify the Soviet regime’s forward-looking perspective and revolutionary agenda. The Soviet-era works also testify to the revolution’s enduring impact on artists around the world. “For a brief period after the revolution, the Soviet state supported remarkable avant-garde artists who worked in a variety of media and embraced the most cutting-edge visual languages of the day. The marriage of progressive aesthetics and radical politics in the early revolutionary years continues to inspire creative thinkers today,” said Jodi Roberts, the Robert M. and Ruth L. Halperin Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Cantor and a co-curator of the exhibition.

The installation at Hoover provides an opportunity to examine the wealth of rare visual and documentary materials and historical objects housed in its library and archives. Since the 1920s, the Hoover has been collecting books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, photographs, manuscripts, official and personal correspondence, and ephemera related to early 20th-century Russia and the Soviet Union.

In the exhibition, treasures like the drafts of Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication statement take their place alongside newly accessible rarities, such as hand-tinted photographs of street scenes in 19th-century Moscow. Documentary materials that illuminate the tumultuous last years of Romanov rule can be examined alongside photographs of mass demonstrations on the streets of St. Petersburg in 1917, as well as striking examples of early Bolshevik propaganda. Bertrand M. Patenaude, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, lecturer in international relations at Stanford, and co-curator of the exhibition, said: “On their own, the Cantor and the Hoover routinely mount public exhibitions of consistently high quality. This collaborative enterprise has inspired the creation of something unique and memorable in the form of a thought-provoking and eye-catching art and history exhibition.”

Teams from both organizations have worked closely on the selection of objects on view at the Hoover and the Cantor, as well as on the development of public programs related to the exhibition. “The Crown under the Hammer is a great example of what can happen at a university art museum,” Roberts said. “Organizing this exhibition has been a truly collaborative process. The partnership between the Cantor and the Hoover has prompted specialists from a variety of fields to think again about the revolution and its legacy. It has given us the chance to re-consider what exhibitions at a premier university can be.”

Accompanying the exhibition will be a diverse program of public lectures and events, including a lecture by Patenaude on the Russian Revolution, and a film series that explores groundbreaking Russian and Soviet film. Montage Fever, a special film presentation organized by Pavle Levi, associate professor of film and media studies and faculty director of Stanford’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, will be on view in the Cantor's Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery from October 18, 2017–January 21, 2018.

© Cantor Arts Center / Stanford University. 18 October, 2017
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:41 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 October 2017
Exhibition: Mihai Zichy at the Court of Russian Emperors
Topic: Exhibitions

 
Mikhail Alexandrovich (Mihai) Zichy, 15 October 1827 - 28 February 1906
 
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

A new exhibition dedicated to the 190th anniversary of the Hungarian-Russian artist Mikhail Alexandrovich (Mihai) Zichy, opened today at the SS Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Zichy, who spent much of his life in Russia, devoting his talents as an artist at the Russian Imperial Court.

Mihai Zichy was born on 15 October 1827 in Zala, Hungary. He received a university education in Budapest, and later graduated from the Vienna Academy of Arts. In 1847 he arrived in St. Petersburg at the invitation of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (1806-1873) as a teacher of drawing and painting for her daughter, Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna (1827-1894). From that moment the artist spent practically his entire life in Russia, in St. Petersburg, with the exception of his stay in Paris, Budapest, Vienna and Venice (1874-1881) and travels in the Caucasus (1881-1882).

In 1856, Zichy created magnificent watercolours depicting the coronation of Emperor Alexander II. For these works, the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts awarded him the title of academician. In 1858, Theophile Gautier in his book "Journey to Russia" devoted a whole chapter to Zichy, in which he praised him as a brilliant draftsman. This publication brought the artist fame and popularity in St. Petersburg society.

In 1859, Zichy was appointed court painter and held this post until his death in 1906 (Zichy died in St Petersburg on 28 February 1906, and buried in Budapest in March 1906). During these years, Zichy created a large number of drawings and watercolours, depicting moments of court life: official ceremonies, parades, celebrations, balls, social events, hunting scenes, theatre performances, family events. These works became a real illustrated chronicle of the life of the Russian imperial court during the reign of three emperors: Nicholas I, Alexander II and Alexander III. The latter decorated his rooms in the Gatchina Palace with Zichy’s works.

In 1895, Zichy created a series of watercolours depicting the death and funeral of Emperor Alexander III at Livadia on 1 November (O.S. 20 October) 1894.

Also Zichy is also famous for illustrations in the works of M.Yu. Lermontov, I.V. Goethe, T. Gauthier, N.V.Gogol, A.S. Pushkin, S.Rustaveli, verses of Hungarian poets S.Peterofi, I.Madach, among others.

The exhibition in the Peter and Paul Fortress tells about the life and work of Mikhail Alexandrovich Zichy in Russia and presents copies of the artist's works devoted to the life of the Russian Imperial Court from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum.

The exhibition is organized with the support of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, the Consulate General of Hungary in St. Petersburg and the Administration of Budapest. 
 
The exhibition: Mihai Zichy at the Court of Russian Emperors, runs from 13 October to 26 November 2017, in the exhibition halls of the Sovereign Bastion in the SS Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg.
 
A selection of watercolours by Mihai Zichy, from the Collections of the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 October, 2017 
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:23 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 October 2017 8:49 AM EDT
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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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