The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg is the world’s greatest museum of Russian art. It was established by the Emperor Nicolas II in 1895 and solemnly open to the public on March 19, 1898.
Up to 1917 the museum was called “The Russian Museum of the Emperor Alexander III”. Alexander III, the father of Nicolas II, was a passionate collector like Catherine the Great. His palace in Gatchina was a real treasury. Acquired masterpieces – pictures, carpets, sculptures – did not fit in the galleries of the Winter Palace, the Anichkov Palace and other mansions. After his father’s death, Nicolas II transferred the collection to the Russian museum in memory of Alexander III.
Initially museum was located in the halls of Mikhailovsky Palace. It included around 1880 works of art, sculptures, Old Russian masterpieces moved from the State Hermitage Museum, Arts Academy and Emperors’ palaces.
The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov. Photo taken from the website
Mikhailovsky Palace – is the building of The Empire style that was initially planned by the Emperor Pavel I. However, he was not able to see the result of his ideas, as Pavel was murdered as a result of a conspiracy. Despite that, the Emperor Alexander I ordered to build a palace.
Carlo Rossi designed the Mikhailovsky Palace and the front square, as well as two streets – Inzhenernaya and Mikhailovskaya. The building was ceremonially laid on July 14, 1819 and the actual construction started on July 26. The nearby garden – also called Mikhailovsky – was arranged from the side of Marsovo Field. On September 11, 1825 the palace was sanctified.
Nowadays, apart from Mikhailovsky Palace, Russian museum include Summer Palace of Peter the Great, Marble Palace, St Michael’s castle, Stroganov Palace, Peter’s cabin. The museum area is expanded by Mikhailvosky and Summer Gardens. Its total area is more than 30 hectares.
The Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky
Collection of Russian museum
The collection includes over 400 thousand exponents and covers all historical period and tendencies of Russian art within over 1000 years – from the 10th to the 21st centuries.
The greatest part of the collection in situated in the former residents of Mikhail Petrovich – Mikhailovsky Palace. On the first floor you will see the exposition of Russian folk art (17th-21st centuries), a great collection of paintings and sculptures of the 19 century. There are also wood carving works, ceramics, weaving. The second floor is filled with the art collection of the 18th century and some exponents of the 19th century.
There is also a two-storey Benois wing where you can mostly explore temporary museum expositions and see the works of modern painters and sculptors.
Museum’s collection possesses wonderful ancient icons, including those done by Rublev, Ushakov and Dionysius.
It is hard to call a name of a Russian artist, whose creations are not found in the Russian museum. 15 thousand paintings are the best masterpieces of Russian masters over 800 years.
Some masterpieces of Russian museum include:
- The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov
- The Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky
- Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks by Ilya Repin
- The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov
- The Merchant’s Wife at Tea by Boris Kustodiev
- Barge Haulers on the Volga by Ilya Repin
- Black Square by Kazimir Malevich
- Knight at the Crossroads by Victor Vasnetsov
- The Lake by Isaak Levitan
Apart from various exhibitions, museum offers interesting lectures and workshops that take place in the Lecture Hall. However, the events take place in Russian.
|Inzhenernaya St. 2-4|
|Metro / Subway|
|Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor|
|Inzhenernaya Street Station||2M, 2MA, 49|
|Metro Station Nevsky Prospekt||3, 3M, 3МБ, 22, 27|
|Inzhenernaya Street Station||K-107, K-212, K-289|
|Inzhenernaya Street Station||3|
|Metro Station Nevsky Prospekt||5, 22|