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):
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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.
Exhibition: The First Romanovs in Moscow Topic: Exhibitions
Note: this article has been edited from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
The House of Romanov Boyars, a branch of the State Historical Museum in Moscow on February 8, 2016 is opened an exhibition of Honoured Artist of Russia, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Arts Igor Gennadievich Mashkov “The First Romanovs". The exhibition is dedicated to important dates: the 420th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov and the 385th anniversary of the death of his mother Kseniya Ivanovna (nun Martha). The artist I. G. Mashkov is well known for his historical cycle of paintings devoted to the pre-Petrine Rus’.
The exhibition presents works by the artist, in which he captures one of the episodes of the first tsar’s election of the representatives of the Romanov dynasty - Mikhail Fedorovich. The paintings: "Calling Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov to the throne in 1613", "Coronation of M. F. Romanov in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin on July 11, 1613", "The Emperor Assumes Power", depicts not only Mikhail Fedorovich, but his mother - the nun Martha, blessed his son to reign. Several of I. G. Mashkov’s paintings are associated with the first Romanovs, "Novospassky Monastery", which is the tomb of the ancestors of the Romanovs' House of Romanov boyars" - the birthplace of Mikhail Fedorovich", the Ipatiev Monastery" - which took place on vocation the kingdom of Mikhail Fedorovich. The exhibition runs until 27 April 2016.
On February 10 will be held a round table discussion "The first Romanovs. 420 years since the birth of Mikhail Romanov, and 385 years since the death of his mother Kseniya Ivanovna (nun Martha)".
Serov Exhibition Closes with Record Attendance Topic: Exhibitions
Emperor Alexander III
An exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of Russian painter Valentin Serov's birth at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow closed on January 31st, breaking the museum's attendance record of almost 500,000 visitors - including Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Valentin Serov (1865 –1911) is little known in the West, but he is one of Russia's most important and beloved painters of the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is particularly noted for his portraits of the Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, among other members of Russia's Imperial and Noble families.
The exhibition which opened on October 5, 2015 presented 250 works of 18 Russian and 5 foreign museums and private collections.
For more information on the Serov exhibit, please refer to the following article:
From 22 January to 21 March 2016 two of the splendid halls of the Catherine Palace will host the exhibition A View From The Past, showcasing portrait masterpieces from the private collection of the Karisalov family.
Hovering on elegant transparent stands in the Great Hall are nearly thirty portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Russian and foreign masters like Dmitri Levistky, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Lampi Sr. and Jr., Orest Kiprensky, Karl Briullov and Vasily Tropinin. Some of the works have never been on public display before.
Josephine Friderichs With Her Son, by Henri-François Riesener, A Noble Lady by Georg Christoph GroothAmong the undisputed masterpieces are the portrait of Peter the Great by Johann Kupetzky, young Alexander I by Vladimir Borovikovsky, a noble lady by Georg Christoph Grooth, and Henri-François Riesener’s Josephine Friderichs with her son; she was a French lover of Grand Duke Konstantin, Tsar Paul I’s second son.
The First Antechamber of the palace presents the Russian works of art donated by or purchased with support from Mikhail Y. Karisalov, a member of the Tsarskoye Selo Friends Society and patron of the museum. The objects on display include the previously never showcased portrait of Tsesarevich Alexei, son of Tsar Nichols II, which was found during renovation of a house not far from the Catherine Palace in 2013.
Alexander I prays at Alexander Nevsky’s tomb before departing for Taganrog, by Grigory ChernetsovAt the opening of the exhibition, Tsarskoye Selo received another generous gift from Mr. Karisalov, ‘Alexander I prays at Alexander Nevsky’s tomb before departing for Taganrog’ by Grigory Chernetsov. Looted from the palace during the Second World War, the painting depicts a moment before the tsar went on his last journey from the Kamennoostropvsky Palace in St. Petersburg to the south of the empire: Alexander I stood long gazing at the Peter and Paul Fortress from a bridge and then spent several hours in prayer at the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
The Catherine Palace first saw the Karisalov artifacts at the Treasures From A Private Collection exhibition in 2012. Only a part of the display back then, the very expressive portraits have returned as highlights of the current exhibition of the works that many state museums in Russia would be honoured to have.
The exhibition A View for the Past runs from 22 January to 21 March 2016 at the Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo.
Click on the link below to read an article + VIDEO about the discovery of this unique portrait of the son of Emperor Nicholas II: