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Thursday, 2 July 2015
Exhibition: Tsar Ivan IV and Queen Elizabeth I
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition hall of the Transfiguration Cathedral at the Monastery of Saint Euthymius in Suzdal is currently hosting a new exhibition: The Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible and the English Queen Elizabeth I.

Ivan IV the Terrible and Elizabeth I of England are among the most important historical figures of European history of the 16th century. Both rulers have been the subject of artists, writers and playwrights, screenwriters and directors.
The current exhibition - which opened on June 18th - features 12 works - paintings and other works, made in different materials and techniques, united by one theme. The works are created by the masters of the Vladimir district.

During his 37-year reign, Tsar Ivan IV established very close ties with England. Russo-English relations can be traced to 1551, during which the Muscovy Company retained the monopoly in Russo-English trade until 1698.

With the use of English merchants, Ivan engaged in a long correspondence with Queen Elizabeth. While the queen focused on commerce, Ivan was more interested in a military alliance. 

The exhibition The Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible and the English Queen Elizabeth I runs until July 26th in the exhibition hall of the Transfiguration Cathedral at the Monastery of Saint Euthymius, Suzdal, Russia. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 July 2015 8:51 AM EDT
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Exhibition: Early Colour Photographs of the Russian Empire, 1890s - 1910s
Topic: Exhibitions

A new exhibit, Early Colour Photographs of the Russian Empire 1890s - 1910s opened at the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow on July 1st. The exhibition continues the series of large-scale MAMM projects devoted to early colour photography, some of which have already been exhibited at the Manege Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow (2008), at the Photography Museum in Amsterdam (2013) and Photographers’ Gallery in London (2014). The current exhibition presents new acquisitions in the MAMM collection — pictures produced using the ‘photochrome’ technique, one of the earliest means to create a coloured image. At the same time the exhibition continues the long-term project, ‘History of Russia in Photography’, that MAMM has been developing since 1997.

The desire to master colour dates from the very earliest stages of photography. Initially photographs were hand-tinted, but specialists were already conducting endless experiments with more complex and technological methods of colour reproduction. Hans Jakob Schmid (1856-1924) made a veritable breakthrough in this respect. Working for the Swiss firm Orell Füssli, he invented the ‘photochrome’ in the 1880s. This technique made way for entirely new possibilities in the mass manufacture and distribution of colour prints, and enabled commercial production. Before long the proprietors of Orell Füssliset up a subsidiary company, Photochrom Zürich, specifically to print photochromes. Their products bore the gold initials ‘P.Z’. This trademark can be seen on the majority of prints recently acquired by the MAMM collection and showcased in the exhibition.

A catalogue from the Detroit Photographic Company, who acquired a patent for the technology in the 1890s, describes the merits of the photochrome as follows: ‘This is the only successful means yet known of producing a photograph in the colours of nature directly and without the aid of hand colour work. The results combine the truthfulness of a photograph with the colour and richness of an oil painting or the delicate tinting of the most exquisite watercolour. The colours are absolutely permanent and attain the virility and strength of nature so often lacking in hand coloured work. The prices are no more than those of ordinary photographs. The inventors have spent thousands of dollars and years of study before reaching their present success.’

Photochromes are deceptively reminiscent of colour photographs, but magnification dispels this illusion: the visible pigment particles reveal a photomechanical method of printing the pictures, based on inks. The process for creating photochromes was laborious, requiring several lithographic stones (six to fifteen, on average) coated with a specific asphalt-based mixture and specially prepared, each for a different colour. Black-and-white negatives provided the basic material. The identity of the photographer was nearly always omitted, and we can only guess who took the shots that then became photochromes. As a graphic illustration of the technical process a rare preserved pair of images features in the exhibition, with the black-and-white original and the photochrome version. The picture is entitled ‘View of the Moscow Kremlin Towers from Vasilievsky Spusk [St. Basil’s Descent]’ by Pyotr Petrovich Pavlov (1860-c.1925), the famous photographer who kept a studio on Myasnitskaya Street and consistently recorded historical events and architectural views of Moscow from 1898 onwards.

Photochromes were in great demand from ordinary customers and proved a focus for amateur collection. As cards, striking large-format panoramas or average-sized prints on thin paper, they were pasted into albums or framed as wall decoration for bourgeois drawing rooms.

Around eighty photochromes with views of various towns and provinces of the Russian Empire from the late 19th to early 20th centuries are shown in the exhibition, depicting St. Petersburg and environs, Moscow, Warsaw, Reval (now Tallinn), Kiev, Odessa, Helsingfors (now Helsinki), Gurzuf, Tiflis and Crimea.

Early attempts to introduce colour to photographic reproduction may appear naïve to the contemporary observer whose visual experience came from colour photography. But these images are endowed with the indisputable and inimitable charm of times past, and also provide a valuable documentary record of Russian history.

The exhibition: Early Colour Photographs of the Russian Empire 1890s – 1910s, runs until September 6th, 2015 at the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow. 
© MMAM and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:49 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 July 2015 7:59 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Exhibition: Grandeur of the Russian Empire
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition in the Radishchev State Art Museum is dedicated to the unique period of the Russian history which took almost 200 years. More than 170 masterpieces of Russian, West European and Eastern work of the XVIIIth – XIXth centuries are demonstrated there.

The represented monuments are of special historical and memorial significance apart from their high artistic value. Most of the exhibits come from the Imperial Ryust-Kamera, Court Office, Emperor’s chambers, Services store room of the Winter Palace, Kremlin cathedrals and the main collection of the Armoury Chamber.

The XVIIIth century marked the determinate and effective reforms of the army and weaponry as well as formation of the order system and building of the new country capital undertaken by Peter the Great. All these events are connected with the name of the first Russian Emperor.

The exposition starts with items reminding of reforms in the military sphere and weaponry, as well as organization of new factories in Sestroretsk and Olonets instead of closed armory workshop of the Kremlin. There is a dirk of Peter I from the Preobrazhenskiy Palace, officer insignia, sword and mortar which appeared in the Russian army in the early XVIIIth century.

Just like in the XVIth – XVIIth centuries, hunting stayed one of the most popular entertainments at the court. There are impressive specimen of Russian and West European weapons exhibited, such as gorgeously decorated saddle pistols made in Tula, rifle from Petersburg, Bohemian carbine by constructor Leopold Becher and pistols by Turin, the court armoury master of Louis XIV of France.

The construction of the new capital with its palaces and celebrations required producing of new household utensils, furniture and interior decorations. The exhibited tapestry portrait of Peter the Great was executed at that manufactory open in the newly built capital in 1717 after the decree of Peter I. Large, highly artistic pieces made of precious materials, such as the silver dish executed by the Moscow master Alexey Ratkov and presented to Catherine II by the citizens of Smolensk, were also used for interior decoration.

Special significance was given to such representative silver items as silver dinner sets which appeared in the XVIIIth century to serve as household utensils and were at the same time an evidence of the high status of the owner,. The exhibited Paris service is executed by Paris and Saint Petersburg silversmiths.

A group of precious jewelry pieces is demonstrated to relate the atmosphere of the court entertainments, amusements and balls of the gallant XVIIIth century. The exhibition represents toilet bags and watch on ribbon as well as snuffboxes , which were used not only for keeping snuff tobacco, becoming widespread in the XVIIIth century Russia inside, but also for nonverbal communications between ladies and cavaliers.

New administrative and territorial division of the country, which began in 1708 with the creation of provinces by Peter the Great, was continued by his successors. Radical reform in this area was undertaken by Catherine II. Representative silver tableware was executed by her order for delivery to provinces. The exhibition presents items from the Mitavskiy service by Saint Petersburg master N. Lund and the Kazan service by Parisian silversmith R.-J. Auguste.

A group of memorial silver pieces related to the development of Siberia in the XVIIIth century occupies the special place at the exposition. The exhibition includes a silver cup, presented to the Irkutsk voevode Larion Sinyavin by Peter I and a group of utensils made for the family of the Governor of Siberia D. I. Chicherin by masters from Tobolsk, a large center of silversmithery in the XVIIIth century Russia.

The beginning of the XIXth is inseparably linked with the name of Alexander I. It’s during his reign that the wars with Napoleon, primarily, the Patriotic war of 1812, have occurred. The exhibition presents his personal items – porcelain utensils made at the Imperial manufactories in Sèvres and Dagoty, France, presented to him by Napoleon on the occasion of the conclusion of the Tilsit peace treaty; combatant weapons used during the war of 1812; the memorial plaque with the text of the Manifesto of the Holy Alliance. Some skillfully executed weapons represented at the exhibition are produced at the factories in Izhevsk and Zlatoust, opened during the reign of Alexander I.

Moscow, destroyed by the enemy invadors, demanded restoration. The process of building begun during the reign of Alexander I continued under Nicholas I. Constuction of the Grand Kremlin Palace, the part of which the new building of the Armoury Chamber is, had the special importance. This section of the exhibition is represented by keys to the Spasskie (Saviour) and Borovitskiye gates of the Kremlin with the monogram of Nicholas I, as well as a new porcelain set made at the Imperial porcelain factory for the new Palace and tapestry produced at the Petersburg Imperial Tapestry Manufactory to serve as decoration for one of the rooms.

There is also a group of exhibits illustrating the formation of the Russian award system. Apart from the Russian orders and insignia, they include items connected to the award system, such as a granted bucket and sabre and award weapons of the XIXth century.

The concluding section of the exhibition is dedicated to the coronations of the Russian monarchs. It presents unique items reflecting the traditions respected during these celebrations which usually lasted for several days.

The exhibition: Grandeur of the Russian Empire runs from 24th June 24th - 13th September, 2015 in the Radishchev State Art Museum, Saratov, Russia. 

© Moscow Kremlin State Museums. 24 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 June 2015 6:05 AM EDT
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Monday, 22 June 2015
Exhibition: Russia and Denmark 1700-1900
Topic: Exhibitions



Click on the START button above to watch a short video of the Russia and Denmark 1700-1900 exhibition (in Russian)
Commemorating 300 years since Peter the Great’s visit to Denmark in 1716, this joint exhibition of Tsarskoye Selo and the Museum of National History Frederiksborg Castle (Hillerød, Denmark) is focused on some remarkable moments in Danish-Russian relations from 1700 to the early 1900s.

The idea of this project was conceived at the opening of a joint exhibition titled ‘Denmark and the Russian Empire 1600–1900” at the Frederiksborg Castle in 2013, attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and by Danish and Russian officials.

The core of the exhibition ‘Russia and Denmark 1700–1900’ is made up of art and historical objects from the Museum of National History Frederiksborg Castle and completed with items from the collections of Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof and the State Hermitage Museum.

Our visitors will see portraits and memorial items of Russian and Danish monarchs. Also noteworthy is the famous Flora Danica porcelain depicting Danish flora. It was in production at the 1775-founded Royal Porcelain Manufactory from the late eighteenth century until 1802. Pictures of plants were accurately copied from their colour engravings in Flora Danica, a comprehensive atlas of botany. Legend has it that the tableware was meant as a gift for Catherine II to commemorate peace and ‘eternal alliance’ between Denmark and Russia. However, Flora Danica remained in the country and was split between several collections, the one of Frederiksborg Castle being on display in Russia for the first time now.

Among other stories, the exhibition tells about Tsar Peter’s visit to Copenhagen in 1716, the role played by Catherine II in resolving the Gottorp question and the situation of the imprisoned siblings of the murdered Emperor Ivan VI, and the life of Princess Dagmar of Denmark who came to Russia at the age of 19 to marry the heir to the throne and then had to return back home after the 1917 revolution.

The exhibition: Russia and Denmark 1700–1900 runs from 21 June to 20 September 2015 in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 22 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:48 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 June 2015 11:00 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 June 2015
History of Russian Emigration in Documents and Photographs
Topic: Exhibitions


The Exhibition Hall of the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow is the venue for a new exhibition which documents post-1917 Russian emigration. It is interesting to note that it has taken archivists two to three years to organize this unique exhibit, collecting valuable documents, letters and photographs from the families of descendants scattered around the world. The pearl of the current exhibition is the Yusupov archive, purchased at a Paris auction in November 2014 by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. Also of great interest are the unpublished letters of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. The exhibit is complemented with a rich collection of documents, photographs, books, jewellery and other personal items.

Members of the Russian Imperial family who went into exile after the 1917 Revolution are also featured in the exhibit. Items on display include, a gold watch made for the coronation of Nicholas II in 1896, a cup with images of emperors made on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov in 1913, a letter to Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich from his daughter Anastasia, an English-language bible which belonged to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, entirely annotated with excerpts of poetry and prose in her own hand. 

Other exhibits include the notebooks with lectures, projects, notes, lists, regulations, programs outlining the legacy of General Staff Lieutenant General Nikolai Golovin.

Visitors can also see the regimental badge Denis Davydov of the 12th Hussars Akhtyrsky, of whom Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna served as honorary Commander-in-Chief. Other items include a list of officers who died during the First World War, the Civil War, and those who died in exile. Photos and letters - from the archives of  Kuzma Skvortsova, a white officer who after the revolution who lived abroad, in particular in Belgium and dreamed of connecting the Russian and Orthodox Church in exile.

The exhibition History of Russian Emigration in Documents and Photographs runs from May 26 - July 25, 2015 in the Exhibition Hall of State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:54 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 June 2015 8:07 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 April 2015
Exhibition: St. Petersburg Society During the Romanov Era
Topic: Exhibitions

The Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle in St. Petersburg is currently hosting the exhibition, St. Petersburg During the Romanov Era. The exhibit, which opened on 16 October, 2014 features Russian art of the first half of the 19th century, the time when St. Petersburg established itself as complex and contradictory unit of the urban and social environment. It was during this period that the concept «St.Petersburg Society» was formed, expressed in terms of people and social groups.

St Petersburg is captured in a wide variety of paintings, graphics, sculpture and applied arts of the first half of the 19th century. This is above all the case in portraiture, including miniatures and watercolours, techniques seeing a revival at this time; in city scenes, which tell much about the curious life and values of the former capital of the Russian Empire; in the depiction of society functions, celebrations and parades; in the fine grace of figurines of St Petersburg's national and social characters.

Among the works displayed at the exhibition there are watercolours by V.Sadovnikov, J.Charlemagne, C.Collmann, paintings by the Makovsky brothers, series of drawings depicting city types, as well as series of St.Petersburg views by Nurenberg artist Johann Georg Mayr, completed during 1796-1803.

The key art work of the exhibition is the painting «Parade on the Tsaritsa Meadow» by Grigory Chernetsov. The painting depicts St. Petersburg Society in 1830s. This work is almost a complete portrait of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg society at one of the most enlightened periods in its history.

The Exhibition St. Petersburg Society During the Romanov Era runs until 30 November 2015 at the Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle, St. Petersburg. 
© Russian State Museum and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 27 April 2015 1:36 PM EDT
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Friday, 24 April 2015
Exhibition: European Orders of Knighthood
Topic: Exhibitions

On 24th April 2015 the ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ exhibition opened in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace. This exhibition presents insignia of European Orders of Knighthood, from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, from the prominent private collection of Andrei Khazin and pieces of insignia of the Order of the Garter from the Royal Collection bestowed upon Emperor Alexander II. The other contributors to this project are the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire (now a part of the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) which is lending rare documents and the State Historical Museum which is lending portraits of members of the Russian Imperial Family.

The exhibition ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ introduces visitors to the honours systems of Great Britain, the Austria-Hungarian Empire, Prussia, Spain, Portugal, the Holy See and France. For the first time more than three hundred signs of the highest orders of XVII-XX centuries are exhibited in one exhibition space in Russia.

"The exhibition ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ continues the tradition of showing in the Moscow Kremlin Museums exhibitions dedicated to the insignia that was started in 2004. This subject constantly evokes high level of interest among the visitors, since orders are not only symbolic signs of exclusiveness, nobility, of the heroic and zealous service to ones country and people, but also a wonderful piece of jewelry, made by the best masters and jewelry firms - noticed Elena Gagarinа, General Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums - Today we are pleased to present the exhibition that is a complete display of the honours systems of a number of European countries and includes some virtually unique pieces that one can seen only in the Moscow Kremlin during the exhibition".

An important part place of the exhibitions display is the orders of knighthood of Great Britain. The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world, is has existed for six and a half centuries without interruption. The British system has had a significant influence on the development of honours and award systems of the European countries, including the Russian Empire.

Particular attention is given to the Russian Emperors who were Knights of the Order of the Garter as well as to the dynastic alliance of the Romanovs and the British Royal Family. The appointment of Russian Emperors as Knights of the Order of the Garter reflected the position of the Russian Emperor and the diplomatic and dynastic connections between Russia and Great Britain through the nineteenth century. First to be appointed, in 1813, at the end of the Napoleonic wars, was Emperor Alexander I. His appointment as a Garter Knight - alongside the sovereigns of the other victorious allies - was an acknowledgement of the contribution of Russia to the defeat of Napoleon.

The insignia of the Order of the Garter of the Emperor Alexander II, who died tragically at the hands of terrorists, are kept with care as part of the British Royal Collection at the behest of Queen Victoria. The insignia, which occupies a central place in the exhibition has been generously lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and returns to Russia for the first time since the revolutionary event.

An important discovery was made while working on the exhibition. It was revealed that in the collection of Andrei Khazin there is an award which once belonged to the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II - a Royal Victorian Chain, founded in 1902 by King Edward VIIof Great Britain as an award of honour reserved for foreign monarchs, princes and heads of state. It was sold by the Bolshevik government after it was removed from the Armoury Chamber where it was passed from Petrograd with other evacuated imperial possessions, to Gokhran (the State Repository of valuables).By lucky circumstances, nearly a century later it is returning to the Moscow Kremlin to be displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition European Orders of Knighthood runs until 30 August, 2015 in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace, Kremlin in Moscow 
© Moscow Kremlin State Museum. 24 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 24 April 2015 6:40 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Exhibition: Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors
Topic: Exhibitions

Peterhof, located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, from the time of Peter the Great was the epitome of naval glory and Russian naval victories. The emperors often made boat trips from Peterhof to watch the sea manoeuvres being held off the coast. For almost three centuries, the central sculpture of the Grand Cascade - fountain "Samson tearing open the lion's mouth" - represents the assertion Russia on the Baltic Sea. 

The Museum of the Ocean World in Kaliningrad, Russia is currently hosting the exhibition Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors. More than 100 items from the Peterhof State Museum Preserve provide a chronicle of the country’s maritime history in four parts, including the naval victories of the Russian Empire, the role of the sea and the Russian Imperial Navy in various spheres of life of the Peterhof imperial residence - from the official ideology to the private life and upbringing of the August children. 

Visitors can explore items of the Petrine era, including a silver model of the boat of Peter I, Peter the Great naval uniform, models and sculptures, marine equipment (telescope, compass) from Mon Plaisir at Peterhof. Artwork includes the picturesque "Marina" painted at the end of the 17th century, thus embodying the first Russian art collection - a collection of Peter the Great. The era of Empress Catherine II is also represented, including her naval dress uniform, displayed against a background panorama of the Chesmensky Hall of the Grand Peterhof Palace. Also on display are a formal portrait of the Empress, the clock with a bust of Catherine II as Minerva, and marine accessories of her time.

In addition, the exhibition features a recreation of the Emperor's study of the late 19th century. Books, writing set, nautical instruments and paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky (the favourite artist of Emperor Nicholas I), help in recreating the working environment of the Imperial Cabinet.

Unique items related to the history of the Russian imperial yachts from the Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof are also exhibited. Peterhof served as an integral part of arrival for foreign heads of state and diplomat who arrived by sea during the second half of the 19th-early 20th centuries. Key items include models of the imperial yachts Polar Star and Alexandria, as well as select pieces of porcelain services made for the imperial yachts Derzhava and Alexandria. Emperor Nicholas II regularly sailed from Peterhof aboard his beloved yacht Standart.   

A naval dress worn by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, a child’s sailor uniform worn by one of the grand dukes, marine themed toys, books and other items help to create a complete picture of the lifestyle in the northern seaside imperial residence at Peterhof.  

The exhibition is accompanied by multimedia programs designed to give visitors a broader view on the existence and importance of Peterhof as maritime and imperial residence. In particular, is the multimedia information and entertainment system Grand Peterhof Palace marking the 300-year history of the Grand Peterhof Palace.

The exhibition Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors runs until 3 July, 2015 at the Museum of the Ocean World in Kaliningrad, Russia. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:06 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 April 2015 7:11 PM EDT
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Thursday, 9 April 2015
Exhibition: Her Imperial Majesty's Hermitage
Topic: Exhibitions

Photo © State Hermitage Museum
The exhibition, Her Imperial Majesty's Hermitage is based on the description of the Imperial Hermitage, made in a guide to Saint Petersburg by Johann Gottlieb Georgi in 1794. The structure of the Hermitage and the basic works characteristic for  Catherine’s time are displayed in the great Nicholas Hall. The exhibition includes the following sections: picture gallery of Catherine the Great, a room of paintings, a room  of engravings, a library of the Empress, a collection of naturals, a collection of rarities and objects of the East, contemporary art in the time of Catherine II.

Johann Gottlieb Georgi, naturalist, ethnographer, chemist, mineralogist and physician, was born in 1729 in Prussian Pomerania; he was educated at Uppsala University, Sweden. At the end of 1770, invited by the Imperial Academy of Sciences, he went to St. Petersburg. His “Experience of Describing the Russian Imperial Capital City of Saint Petersburg and Attractions in Its Surroundings” was first published in German in St. Petersburg in 1790. In addition to a comprehensive historical sketch of the capital and the characteristics of its administrative and social order, the author provided a very detailed description of its geography, soil and minerals, the diversity of flora, fauna, birds and fish. The Hermitage is also present in the book, but its description occupies just four pages.

In early 1793, Georgi started preparing the Russian version of the book dedicated to “To Her Highness, the Most Sovereign, the Great Empress Catherine Alexeyevna, the Sole Rule of All Russia”. In the new book, the section on the cultural life of St. Petersburg expanded  markedly. This particularly affected the Hermitage. Georgi’s new book, according to the rules of construction of academic writings, was preceded by an indication of the sources of information used by the author. It says about the Hermitage: “The news on the Imperial hermitage are completely the fruit of the permission given by HER SUPREME IMPERIAL MAJESTY to examine this room  and to report on it in this translation carried out thanks to the benevolence of His Excellency Privy Councillor, Senator, President of the State Board of Commerce and Chevalier Gavrilo Romanovich Derzhavin. Mr. Luzhkov, the librarian, and Mr. Martinelli, the gallery inspector, actively participated; the news of the Imperial Art Gallery is mostly composed by Mr. Martinelli.”

Georgi writes about the Hermitage and its collections in several sections of his book. In addition to the chapter on the Hermitage, the description of the buildings of the Winter Palace and the museum is given in the first chapter of Section III on “topography” of the first Admiralty part. Chapter 3 of Section XII on the “scholar institutions” of St. Petersburg contains information about the Hermitage library and the collections of prints and paintings; the next chapter subtitled “Her Imperial Majesty’s Hermitage” is a description of the museum’s rooms  and collections. This section is the largest in Georgi’s book; it is the first systematic description of the Hermitage, which makes it an exceptionally valuable document. By 1794, the Hermitage was thirty-years-old, if we suppose that it was started upon purchasing a collection of paintings from J.E. Gotzkowsky, a Berlin financier and entrepreneur. The era of rapid acquisition of collections for the St. Petersburg museum in the second half of 1760’s -  early 1780’s had passed. The construction of buildings storing imperial treasures was completed. It was time to sum up and comprehend what had been created. Neither a palace, nor a museum, Catherine’s “child” appeared to the reader in the pages of the “Description” room by room, collection by collection. Georgi, not knowing the specific fine arts issues, needed competent experts capable of showing the most significant things at the Hermitage. These experts were a Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Martinelli (? -1802), the art gallery custodian, and Alexander Ivanovich Luzhkov (1754-1808), the Empress’s librarian. 
The Hermitage description by Georgi consists of several sections. They are preceded by a brief enumeration of the artistic treasures of the Empress followed by a detailed description of all the buildings and halls of the Hermitage. The text ends  with a description of the individual sections of the collections and libraries, their characteristics and their classification. Georgi covered the collection of carved stones and the Art Gallery in most detail. In fact, in the “Description” Georgi published the first systematic catalogue of the paintings of the Hermitage, which was probably the most interesting part.

The exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum dedicated to its 250-year anniversary reflects the main sections of the collection of Catherine II; Georgi’s text is commented on in the exhibition catalogue and there is also information about the works both preserved in the Hermitage and evidenced as having left its walls at different times.

A special illustrated scientific catalogue was prepared for the exhibition by the Publishing Department of the State Hermitage Museum. Curator of the exhibition: Mikhail Olegovich Dedinkin, Deputy Head of the Department of Western European Art at the State Hermitage Museum.

The exhibition Her Imperial Majesty’s Hermitage runs until 10 May 2015 in the Nicholas Hall of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum) in St. Petersburg.

 Photos © State Hermitage Museum

© State Hermitage Museum. 09 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:05 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 April 2015 10:18 AM EDT
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Friday, 3 April 2015
Exhibition: Russian Imperial Porcelain Easter Eggs
Topic: Exhibitions

The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota is currently hosting an exhibition featuring a beautiful collection of Russian Imperial porcelain.

Drawn from a remarkable collection of Imperial porcelain owned by Raymond Piper, the exhibition will include approximately seventy presentation Easter eggs featuring Russian orthodox saints, Imperial monograms, traditional Russian geometric patterns, ornate floral designs, and more.  These beautifully painted porcelain Easter eggs were produced at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Commissioned by the Romanov Imperial family, porcelain eggs were presented to relatives, friends, and courtiers at Easter time. The art of painted eggs reached perfection during the reigns of Nicholas I (1825-1855) and Alexander III (1881-1894).

Also included in the exhibition are eggs from other notable 19th century porcelain factories, porcelain vases, and photographs of the Imperial family.

The exhibition Russian Imperial Porcelain Easter Eggs runs from March 14 – September 13, 2015, at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
© The Museum of Russian Art. 03 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 April 2015 4:31 AM EDT
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