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Saturday, 19 March 2016
On This Day: Russia's First State Museum of National Art Opened in St. Petersburg
Topic: Museums

The State Russian Museum (formerly the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III) in St. Petersburg
Note: this article has been edited and updated from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia

The idea to create a museum of national Russian art in St. Petersburg had been discussed among the noble milieu of Russian society from the middle of 19th century but it was realized only in 1895 during the reign of Nicholas II, the last emperor and tsar.

On 24 April (O.S. 13 April), 1895 the Emperor Nicholas II issued a decree ‘On the establishment of the “Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III” in the Mikhaylovsky Palace acquired for the State including all its wings, services and garden’. The Mikhailovsky Palace, a splendid Neoclassical residence of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1798-1849), erected in 1819-25 to a design by Carlo Rossi on Square of Arts in St Petersburg. Upon the death of the Grand Duke the residence was named after his wife as the Palace of the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (1807-1873), and became famous for its many theatrical presentations and balls. The creation of the new museum was entrusted to the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919).

The museum was organized with the aid of scholars, art historians, historians, ethnographers, archaeologists, architects, such as: D. I. Tolstoy (assigned in 1901 the Manager of the Russian Museum), A. N. Benois, P. A. Brulov, P. I. Neradovsky, N. P. Sychev, P. I. Stolpyansky, M. P. Botkin, A. A. Miller, N. N. Punin and others.

On 19 March (O.S. 7 March), 1898 the ‘Russian Museum of the Emperor Alexander III' was opened to visitors.

The first exposition presented to the public occupied 37 halls of the ground and first floors. Among enthusiastic reviews there also were some critical opinions regarding the unsystematic and overload character of the exposition.

The holdings of the museum at the time included 445 paintings, 111 works of sculpture, 981 graphic sheets, as well as 5.000 relics of the past forming the collection of Christian antiquities. The collections were formed on the basis of the artworks from Hermitage, Academy of Arts and Emperor palaces: Winter Palace, Alexander Palace, Gatchina and Tsarskoye Selo. Over 100 paintings came from the personal collection of Alexander III including the works of such artists as V. I. Surikov, V. D. Polenov, G. I. Semiradsky.

In 1902 under the Museum was opened an Ethnographical Department and in 1913 – of History and Everyday life. In 1934 the Ethnographical Department was transformed into an independent State Museum of Ethnography (today the Russian Ethnographical Museum). On the basis of the Department of History and Everyday life was created the Department of History of the Russian culture of Hermitage.

In 1912 the Museum was granted 28 paintings by Russian artists, a collection of drawings and about 50 relics of  old-Russian art. Between 1898-1917 the Museum holdings were developed owing to acquisitions and donations.

In order to house the growing collections in 1914-1916 to the building of Mikhaylovsky Palace was attached the Western building designed by the architect L. I. Benois.

After 1917 the Museum holdings were developed at the expense of the nationalized values of art. In 1934 was organized the Department of the Soviet Art and in 1937 – the Department of National Art.

Today the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg holds the largest collection of the Russian visual arts in the world which numbers about 400 thousand works of all the essential trends and schools of the national visual arts from the 9th to 20th centuries.

In 1992 under the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation the Russian Museum was reckoned among the most valuable objects of cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia.

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert. 19 March, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:40 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 19 March 2016 6:57 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 4 August 2015
New Museum in Moscow to Host Permanent 'Orthodox Russia. Romanovs and Rurik Exhibit'
Topic: Museums

The new History of Russia Museum is currently under construction at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VDNKh) in Moscow. Once complete, it will house the permanent exhibition Orthodox Russia. My History: Rurik and Romanov.
The multimedia exhibition explores the history of the Romanov dynasty (1613-1917), and the Rurikovichi (the descendants of Rurik) and the 700-year-long history of the Ancient Rus. The exhibition was established under the auspices of the Patriarchal Council for Culture and organized by the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

The museum will be housed in pavilion number 57, which is currently under reconstruction. Built in 1966, the pavilion is located on the main avenue of the VDNKh complex. During the Soviet years, the pavilion was used for trade shows. The reconstruction of the building will include a substantial increase in the total area of the building, from 21.6 thousand to 30.9 thousand square meters. The renovated building will be equipped with an upgraded ventilation system, air conditioning and adapted for people with disabilities.

The museum is planning events such as an historical buffet, where visitors are offered dishes from the Romanov and Rurik eras, local artists, concerts and lectures by well-known historians.

The exhibitions Orthodox Russia. My History: The Romanovs (2013) and Orthodox Russia. My History: The Rurik (2014), were previously exhibited at the Manege Moscow Central Exhibition Hall, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors. Orthodox Russia. My History: The Romanovs was attended by more than 300,000 visitors in Moscow over a 20 day period from November 4th - 24th, 2013. It was later showcased in other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Yalta, Tyumen and Krasnodar. 

According to the Orthodox Russia. My History: Rurik and Romanov web site, the museum is scheduled to open in December 2015.
For more information on the Romanov and Rurik exhibitions, please refer to the following links: 

Exhibition-Forum Orthodox Russia: The Romanovs Opens in Moscow + 16 Colour Photographs

Moscow to Host the Exhibition, "My History. The Rurikovichi" Next Month  
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 August, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:14 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 August 2015 2:46 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Vladimir Putin Visits Museum of Estates of Russia
Topic: Museums

President Vladimir Putin views portraits of the Romanov sovereigns at the new Museum of Estates in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin viewed the exposition of the museum, which is part of the Moscow State Gallery of National Artist of the USSR Ilya Glazunov and displays artworks belonging to the artist. The exhibition will open for the public in October 2015.

The Museum of Russian Estates is designed to give a better understanding of Russian national culture, its development, continuity and special features of every form of art as illustrated by the objects pertaining to different social categories. The exhibit will feature a rich collection of icons and portraits of the Emperors and Empresses of Russia, as well as a collection of neo-Russian style furniture (late 19th - early 20th century).

The Glazunov Gallery features more than 700 works of the artist, including such ambitious historical canvases as "Eternal Russia" and "Destruction of the Church on Easter Eve". Apart from the exposition halls, the museum also offers a lecture hall, a children’s art centre, a library and a music hall with theatre sets for Russian classical opera and portraiture.

The Moscow State Gallery of National Artist of the USSR Ilya Glazunov is located in a family house opposite the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:08 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 June 2015 10:19 AM EDT
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Friday, 3 January 2014
State Hermitage Museum Acquires Former Stock Exchange Building in St. Petersburg
Topic: Museums

The old Stock Exchange Building and the Rostral columns form one of the most celebrated vistas in St. Petersburg
The former Stock Exchange Building in St. Petersburg will be transferred to the State Hermitage Museum. The elegant neoclassical building will be restored to house a new Russian Guard and Heraldry Museum. The decision has been authorized by the city governor, Georgy Poltavchenko. The governor added that the new museum can be considered as a gift to the city marking the 250th anniversary of the Hermitage, which will be celebrated in 2014. It is estimated that the cost of the restoration will cost 2 billion Rubles ($60 million USD).

Situated on Vasilievsky Island overlooking the Neva River, the Stock Exchange building was built in 1805-1810 years by the French architect Thomas de Thomon. The official opening of the Exchange did not take place until 1816. Following the Russian Revolution, and the establishment of a Communist economic system, the building ceased to function as a stock exchange.  In 1939 the Old Stock Exchange was assigned to house the growing collection renamed the Central Naval Museum. The museum was closed in 2011, it was moved to a new location in July 2013 to the former Marine barracks complex on the Kryukov Canal. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:28 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 3 January 2014 2:52 PM EST
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Monday, 29 July 2013
Central Naval Museum Opens in St. Petersburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 43 seconds
Topic: Museums


The Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg has a new address. It was founded in 1709, by order of Peter the Great, making it one of the oldest museums in Russia. It was here that the Russian tsar kept his ship's drawings and models. The museum was originally housed in the Admiralty, but it was moved in the late 1930s into the former Stock Exchange located on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island. In 2007, it was decided to move the museum to a new location, the renovated Kryukov Barracks on the Moika Canal at Bolshaya Morskaya,69.

Several thousand visitors were onhand for the grand opening of the museum on July 28th. The area of the atrium and the showrooms opened for visitors at present makes more than 3 thousand square meters, which is much more than the overall area of the old museum. Altogether the exhibition areas in the Barracks buildings will be increased up to 8 thousand square meters. The museum is going to have 19 exhibition halls (the storage vaults of the museum hold an estimated 700,000 items), restoration workshops, a studio of marine painters, a scientific and technical library, a photo laboratory, a cafe and a conference hall.

One of the most interesting sections of the museum is dedicated to the history of Russian Imperial navy fleets - the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, the Pacific. The museum also holds a large collection of items pertaining to the Imperial yachts, including scale models, uniforms, porcelain, photographs, and much more.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 July, 2013 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:04 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 31 July 2013 6:36 AM EDT
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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Moscow Hosts First Meeting of Russian Military History Society
Topic: Museums



The first meeting of Russia’s Military History Society has begun in Moscow. The Head of the Voice of Russia’s Russian-language service, Armen Gasparyan has been on its board as a co-founder and author of several books on the history of Russian warfare.


Attending the board meeting is Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Central Elections Committee Vladimir Churov, head of Russia’s Ingushetia region and an active service officer Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, as well as a famous Russian film director Stanislav Govorukhin.

The Imperial Russian Military Historical Society was originally founded in 1907. The first meeting was held in April, its charter was approved by members in August. Tsar Nicholas II was appointed Honourary Chairman in September, granting the society with Imperial status. 

President Vladimir Putin is expected to take part in the fund’s meeting that will continue the tradition of the Emperor’s Military History Society established in 1907 and disbanded a decade later.

The society will promote the study of Russia’s military history to commemorate the fallen, maintain historical monuments and explore ancient battlegrounds, the Kremlin said.

© Voice of Russia and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 March 2013 1:23 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012
New Annex Could Make Hermitage an "Epoch-Defining Museum"
Topic: Museums


The State Hermitage (former Winter Palace)  is fully engaged in fitting out 800 rooms of the General Staff Building to welcome be the new home for art from the turn of the 19th century onwards, with a full opening scheduled for 2014. Mark Hudson of The Telegraph reported from St. Petersburg on this major new development for the museum/

“As an extension to the Hermitage Museum, the General Staff Building is far more than a mere annex. Viewed across the majestic sweep of Palace Square, the curving Neo-classical facade of this vast early-19th-century office complex already feels like a challenge to the Baroque opulence of the parent institution opposite,” Hudson writes. “And that’s before you’re aware that its 800 rooms are about to be filled with art, much of which has been deemed revolutionary.”

“Devoted to art from 1800 onwards, the new wing will bring the story told in the old Hermitage — which houses the largest collection of paintings in the world — bracingly up to date. On paper at least it has the capacity to be a truly epoch-defining museum, the way the Musée d’Orsay was in the Eighties and Tate Modern in the 2000s,” Hudson says. “And it will, it is hoped, make Russia appear central to the story of modern art in a way it never quite has before — despite the importance of much that has taken place here.”

© Russkiy Mir. 20 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:50 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2012 6:53 AM EST
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Sunday, 18 November 2012
Russian Academy of the Arts Turns 255 Years Old
Topic: Museums
The Inauguration of the Academy of Arts. Artist:Valery Jacobi

On November 17, 1757, Empress Elizaveta founded the Imperial Academy of Three Noble Arts was on the initiative of Ivan Shuvalov, a noted enlightener of that time who also served as the first curator of the academy. Shuvalov brought in teachers from Europe, attracted the first Russian students to be trained at the Academy and donated his remarkable private fine arts collection that became a core of the Academy Museum and Library.

In 1764, Catherine the Great emphasized the significance of the Academy by proclaiming it the Imperial Academy of Arts, approved its charter and staff and granted the Academy a special privilege. The construction of the imposing building of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Neo-Classical style overlooking the Neva-River designed by Alexander Kokorinov and Jean Vallin de la Mothe also began in 1764 and was completed in 1788.

The Imperial Academy of Arts was one of the most progressive cultural entities in those days. The Academy’s first homegrown talents, such  artists and architects as A. Losenko, F. Shubin, V. Bazhenov, F. Rokotov, testified to the high level of art education in Russia. The Academy students studied all the pictorial and graphic genres, as well as the art of sculpture and architecture. The most gifted of them were given scholarships to continue their education in France and Italy.   

Later, the Academy’s roll call of graduates included eminent painters A. Ivanov, K. Bryullov (who with his masterpiece “The Last Day of Pompeii” became the first Academy painter to enjoy an international reputation in 1834  when it won the Grand Prix at the Paris Salon), I. Repin, V. Polenov, V. Surikov; sculptors  I. Martos, V. Demut-Malinovski, S. Pimenov, I. Prokofiev, M. Antokolski; architects A. Voronikhin, N. Benois, K. Ton, I. Fomin, V. Shuko and many others.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, by a presidential edict the USSR Academy of Arts was transformed into the Russian Academy of Arts. Since 1997 to the present day the academy of has been headed by the world-renowned artist and sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.

© Russkiy Mir. 18 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:32 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2012 9:38 AM EST
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Museum of Patriotic War of 1812 Opens in Moscow
Topic: Museums


Field Marshal Kutuzov’s notes, an ashtray made from a hoof of a horse belonging to Denis Davydov, Napoleon’s sabre, are among exhibits at the newly opened War of 1812 museum in Moscow.

The new museum is located outside the Moscow State Historical Museum on Red Square where a large exhibition took place in 1912 to mark the centenary of the Patriotic War of 1812.

The recently unveiled exhibition is organized in a two-storey pavilion featuring a great variety of rarities, including military maps and personal belongings. The opening of the museum appears to be a truly landmark occasion in a series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon. 

A large piece of a mural painting from the Christ the Savior Cathedral which was blown up in 1931 catches your eye as soon as you enter the museum. The cathedral was built in late 19th century to celebrate Russia’s victory over Napoleon. There you can also see a large screen showing a film about the Napoleonic Wars. The exhibition combines traditional glass museum display cases and multimedia. “There are no accidental exhibits here”, the organizers say. Kirill Meerov, who runs the information department at the Historical Museum, showed the VoR`s correspondent around the museum. 

“Just look: this is a throne which belonged to Emperor Alexander I. He asked for a throne similar to the one owned by Napoleon to be made for him but with different symbolic engravings. The one owned by Napoleon is on display at Versailles, and Alexander`s throne can be seen at our museum in Moscow”. 

The collection also features authentic pieces of the Russian army uniform, as well as items from Alexander`s field church, portraits of the heroes of the Borodino Battle, and the ribbon of the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called worn by General Pyotr Bagration when he was fatally wounded during the Borodino Battle. Things once belonged to Field Marshal Kutuzov are being displayed separately: his decorations, tableware, small telescope and notes he made during the Battle of Borodino. Visitors can also see French cannons and a field kitchen used by the French army, and Napoleon’s sleigh he boarded to flee Russia. Some exhibits are really outstanding. For example, Napoleon’s sabre: in 1814 he presented it to Alexander`s aide, General Shuvalov shortly after the two had swapped their coats. Why did they do that? Napoleon could have been killed on his way to the island of Elba, and to avoid this the Russian general put on Napoleon`s coat at the risk of his life.

It looks that the newly opened War of 1812 museum in Moscow will attract plenty of visitors interested in learning many interesting stories behind 2,000 exhibits on display.

© The Voice of Russia. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:20 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 12:49 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Russian National Portrait Gallery Opens in Moscow
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 3 seconds
Topic: Museums

Marble bust of Emperor Alexander III by Enrico Braga 

A National Portrait Gallery has opened to the public at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. The idea for a National Portrait Gallery was conceived two years ago and is now a reality, thanks to the joint efforts of the State Historical Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery.

The exhibit includes more than 100 portraits and busts of outstanding state, public and cultural figures from Russian history are celebrated in portrait, beginning with members of the Romanov dynasty from the first Romanovs up to the last tsar, Nicholas II.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 March, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:25 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2012 9:12 AM EDT
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