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115 Degrees of Russian History

Plans for future projects revealed on the 115th anniversary of The State Russian Museums founding.

Published: March 27, 2013 (Issue # 1752)



  • The Russian Museum will reopen the Stroganov Palace on Nevsky Prospekt this summer.
    Photo:

One hundred and fifteen years ago, on March 19, 1898, the first state museum of Russian art opened its doors in St. Petersburg. Today, the State Russian Museum is a unique repository of artistic treasures. Its collection contains more than 400,000 exhibits and covers the entire history of Russian art, from the 10th to the 20th century.

At a press conference on the museums anniversary last week, museum director Vladimir Gusev spoke about upcoming events, restoration work at the museum buildings and, of course, paid tribute to the museums longevity.

The date is not round, therefore we celebrate it not with gala events, but with work, said Gusev.

Todays main achievement is the developing dynamics of the Russian Museum, and this is clearly visible in our reports. This is not due to me, its due to the time with which we all have coincided. We have managed to restore and develop not only the Mikhailovsky Palace, but all of this huge complex, which is located in the historical center and approaches the size of the Vatican City, he said.

Actually, the Russian Museum is one of the largest repositories of Russian fine art in the world. The museum complex encompasses the Stroganov Palace, the Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle, the Marble Palace and the Summer Garden, which includes the Summer Palace of Peter the Great.

This year the Summer Palace marks its 300th anniversary. Nevertheless, according to Gusev, the main thing is not the occasion, but the fact that the museum has received money to fund the first phase of restoration work, which will include design estimates and expert assessment of both buildings. This phase will complete the restoration of the Summer Garden complex, following last years reopening of the garden to visitors after two and a half years of being closed.

Additionally, the reconstructed Stroganov Palace and the two pavilions (guardhouses) of the Mikhailovsky Castle will reopen in early summer this year.

The Virtual Russian Museum, which has no analogue either in Russia or abroad, will be located in the western pavilion. The main idea of the project is to provide the public with an interactive demonstration of the unknown aspects of the museums activities and artistic work. The western pavilion will offer a new level of integration with the Russian Museum and its virtual branches.

The eastern pavilion will be dedicated to a project set up by the Artdegardiya childrens educational and recreational complex, focused on aiding the creative development of children and teenagers through the use of fine art and modern technologies.

A new initiative titled The Russian Museum on Wheels is also in the pipeline. One or two buses equipped with multimedia technology will be purchased, and will travel to remote settlements in the Leningrad Oblast, where experienced scholars of art will give presentations about Russian painting to local schoolchildren.

During the press conference, Gusev noted that the museums work is largely organized around sponsorship programs, and exhibitions abroad are held at the expense of the foreign museums in which they take place.

Of course, the one who pays the piper calls the tune, said Gusev. But we always try to present our views and knowledge about Russian art, he added.

Upcoming exhibitions of note to look out for at the museum include Lamps of Old Russia and The 400th Anniversary of the Romanovs, which will exhibit, among other works, Grigory Ugryumovs monumental canvas The Summoning of Mikhail Romanov to the Throne.

The International Chess Tournament, held in memory of chess master Alexander Alekhine, and the sixth Imperial Gardens of Russia international festival of park and garden art will also take place at the Russian Museum this year.

For more information visit rusmuseum.ru.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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