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Russian Museum expands foothold for Russian art
Photo credit: artchive.ru
This spring marks 125 years since the release of the highest decree of Emperor Nicholas II on the establishment of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The uniqueness of the museum was that literally the whole country collected exhibits for its collection - from peasants, who gave away ancient household items, to representatives of the upper classes, who donated the richest collections of paintings to the fund. These days, the Russian Museum is exploring new territories both in Russia and abroad. It confirms that for Russian art there are no borders.
The idea to create a museum of national art in Russia arose almost immediately after the victory over Napoleon. The rise in national self-consciousness resulted in a number of publications, urging to open a museum of national history and national art in Russia. This idea took shape under Emperor Alexander III. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, he talked a lot about the need for a museum of Russian art in St. Petersburg, especially since the Tretyakov Gallery was already opened in Moscow. But the creation of the museum was destined for his son, Emperor Nicholas II, who signed the highest decree "On the establishment of a special institution" Russian Museum of Alexander III ". “And no one removed this name from the museum,” The Director General of the Russian Museum Vladimir Gusev emphasized at a press conference in TASS.
The Alexander III: Emperor and Collector exhibition opened in the Mikhailovsky Castle on February 12 in memory of the ideological founder of the museum. The grand opening after a long restoration of the ceremonial halls of the Mikhailovsky Castle - the Voskresensky, the Big Throne, the Arabesque Gallery, the Apartments of the maid of honor Anna Protasova - will be held this November. The new section of the permanent exhibition The Saga of the Dynasty (Three Generations of the Romanovs) will open at the same time. “It will feature things that no one has seen before,” Vladimir Gusev promised.
It was the collection of the Romanov dynasty that formed the basis of the Russian Museum. According to the deputy director general of the Russian Museum for Science Evgenia Petrova, the gift of Nicholas II was the largest - 300 works of art. “The Romanovs were creating the state museum, therefore they treated them not as their personal collection, but gathered large masters. For example, the famous painting by Ilya Repin Barge Haulers on the Volga hung in the living room of Grand Duke Vladimir Romanov,” said Evgenia Petrova.
The museum began with 2,000 exhibits - and "the merchant Plyushkin, and Senator Likhachev, and Princess Tensheva" contributed to it. And this is an unprecedented story of a truly folk museum that has never been repeated. Today, there are more than 400 thousand exhibits in the Russian Museum, and every year their number is increasing by 1.5 - 2 thousand. “Our collection is the whole history of Russian culture and the history of Russia in faces, plots and characters,” the museum’s director general proudly noted.
25 years ago, an extensive program of the museum’s development was adopted in honor of its 100th anniversary. And today, according to Vladimir Gusev, the museum presents a kind of report on the work done. If in 1995 the museum owned three monument buildings, today it’s already 14. “Do not offer us palaces anymore,” Vladimir Gusev jokes. The total area of the territory in 1995 was three hectares, today it is 31 hectares. The number of exhibition halls increased from 87 to 262.
Moreover, the museum is getting new locations not only in St. Petersburg. This year marks five years of the creation of a branch of the Russian Museum in Malaga. Interestingly, this young museum has already entered the list of the twenty most visited museums in Spain. This year, a branch will be opened in Kemerovo on the occasion of the anniversary of Kuzbass. There is already an agreement with the local cultural institute on the training of personnel for this museum. The cultural and exhibition centers of the Russian Museum are open in Kazan, Yaroslavl, Murmansk, Saransk, and will soon open in Kogalym.
Since 2003, there has been a sponsorship program helping to create virtual branches of the Russian Museum – 137 of them work in Russia and 33 - abroad. Two of these branches operate even in Antarctica - at Russian Antarctic stations. In total, it is possible to reach more than 4 million people a year. In the museum itself, the number of visitors has grown 2.5 times in ten years - up to 2.5 million people.
The Russian Museum is also a kind of training center for Russian museum workers, who come there from all over Russia. There are about three hundred art museums in Russia.
Vladimir Gusev also spoke about the numerous programs created for various categories of visitors. For example, children's audio guides, where the stories about the pictures are voiced by the actors with the voices of the cartoon characters. Unusual lectures are also given at the museum for children, for example, Mathematics and Fine Arts.
The museum also tries to create a more accessible environment for people with disabilities: tactile exhibitions are held for visually impaired visitors and special excursions for the hearing impaired.
One cannot but mention 13 restoration workshops of the Russian Museum, in which more than 4.5 thousand works of art are restored every year.
Summing up the past 25 years, the director of the Russian Museum outlined plans for the future, “For 25 years there has been a peaceful expansion - we have cleared the foothold for Russian art. In the next 20 years there will be a period of development of this space.”