Palaces and Parks
The State Russian Museum is the first state museum of Russian Art in the country. It was founded by decree of Tsar Nicholas II in St Petersburg in 1895. The museum solemnly opened its doors to the public on 7/19 March 1898.
The Russian museum is a unique depository of art values, well-known restoration centre, authoritative academic and research institute, one of the biggest centres of cultural and educational work and academic and methodical centre of museums of art in the Russian Federation, curating work of 260 Russian museums of art.
The collection of the Russian Museum numbers 400000 exhibits and covers all historical periods and tendencies of development of Russian art, all its main forms and genres, styles and schools for the last 1000 years: from the 10th century to the 20th century.
The Mikhailovsky Palace - The Benois Wing
4 Inzhenernaya Str. (Metro - Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospekt)
2 Griboyedov Canal (Metro - Nevsky Prospekt)
The main building of the Russian Museum, is situated on the Square of Arts in the centre of the city. Built to the design of the celebrated architect Carlo Rossi between 1819 and 1825, the palace is a masterpiece of Russian Neoclassical architecture. The Palace was named after Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich — the fourth son of the Emperor Paul I. In 1895 the building was acquired by the crown and granted to the Emperor Alexander III Russian Museum. In 1895-98 inner premises of the palace were rebuilt and adjusted for the museum. The project was made by the architect Vasily Svinin.
As the collection increased in 1914-19 the Exhibition Pavilion of the Academy of Art was built according to the project of Leonty Benois and S. O. Ovsyannikov. It was called the Benois Wing.
The Mikhailovsky Palace, the Benois Wing and the Rossi Wing contain the main museum exposition. There are works by the most prominent Russian artists — Andrei Rublev, Dionisius, Fedot Shubin, Dmitry Levitsky, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Karl Brullov, Fidelio Bruni, Orest Kiprensky, Alexander Ivanov, Ilya Repin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Shishkin, Valentin Serov, Mikhail Vrubel, Pavel Antokolsky, Boris Kustodiev, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Pavel Filonov, Marc Chagall, Kuzma Petrov — Vodkin and many other artists.
The Stroganov Palace
17 Nevsky Prospekt (Metro - Nevsky Prospekt)
The palace once home to one of Russia's most famous families — the Stroganovs, is one of the best examples of Russian Baroque architecture. Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli is considered to be the true architect of the building constructed in 1753-56. Famous architects Andrei Voronikhin, Carlo Rossi, Pyotr Sadovnikov and Harold Bosse contributed to later redesigns and interior designs of the palace.
Nowadays the restoration of the Large (Ball) Room is completed. This is the only room in St Petersburg, where the decorative design of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli has been preserved. The ceiling of the Large (Ball) Room is decorated with a unique plafond entitled The Adventure of a Hero, painted by Giuseppe Valeriani. The plafond was not redesigned.
The works of decorative and applied art from the funds of the Russian Museum are exhibited in the restored rooms of the palace. The Private Porcelain Factories of Russia: The Gardner Factory exhibition was opened in May 2003.
The Marble Palace
5/1 Millionnaya Str. (Metro - Nevsky Prospekt)
The palace is an outstanding sample of early Neoclassicism in Russia. Built to the design of the architect Antonio Rinaldy between 1768 and 1785, the palace was commissioned by Catherine the Great. The architect first ever in Russia extensively used granite and various species of marble for decoration of facades and interiors of the palace. Thus later the palace got the name of the Marble Palace.
First the palace was built as a present for Count Grigory Orlov, the favorite of Catherine the Great. However, Grigory Orlov had died before the construction was completed. After his death the palace was a residence of the Grand Dukes. One of its latest owners was Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. The memorial museum of the recognized poet of the Silver Age Konstantin Romanov (K.R) is located on the ground floor of the palace in the former chambers of the Grand Duke and in the original interiors of that time.
In 2001 the Rzhevsky Brothers Collection permanent exhibition, a gift to the State Russian Museum, was opened in the Marble Palace. In 1994 the equestrian statue of Alexander III was placed in front of the palace. The sculpture of the statue was Pavel Trubetskoi.
In 1995 the Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum permanent exhibition was opened in the Marble Palace. It was donated by famous German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig and displays works by European, Russian and American artists. The Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum is the only permanent exhibition of art of the late 20th century that allows us to trace the development of Russian art in the context of world art culture.
After restoration, the Foreign Artists in Russia permanent exhibition was opened in the halls of the Marble Palace. It shows works by German, Italian, French and other European artists and sculptors who influenced the development of Russian art of the 18th — first half of the 19th centuries.
St Michael's Castle
2 Sadovaya Str. (Metro - Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospekt)
The castle was designed by Vincenzo Brenna and Vasily Bazhenov (1797-1801) as a parade residence for the Emperor Paul I. The Emperor himself added to the project. It is named after St Michael the Archangel (patron saint of the House of Romanov). This is the only palace building in Russia in the style of romantic classicism.
After the assassination of the Emperor Paul I (on the night of the 11th/12th of March 1801) the castle became the property of the Ministry of the Imperial Court. In February 1823 St Michael's Castle was presented to the Central College of Engineering and was renamed the Engineers Castle.
A time of vast upheavals came to St Michael's Castle in the 1990s. In 1994, the building was officially awarded to the Russian Museum. A major reconstruction programme was announced, aimed at restoring the original decor and architecture.
Three of the facades and the adjoining gardens have now been fully restored. Part of the original Resurrection Canal has been recreated. The Chapel of St Michael the Archangel, the private apartments of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich and Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, the Main Staircase, the Antique Room, the Raphael Gallery, the Dining Room and the Empress Marie Fyodorovna Throne Room have all been restored to their former glory. They now host exhibitions of art from the collection of the Russian Museum — many of them repeating the dreams and ideas of the original owner of the palace, Tsar Paul.
The Summer Garden
2 Kutuzova Emb.(Metro - Nevsky Prospekt)
The Summer Garden with its collection of sculpture and the Summer Palace, the first emperor summer residence, form a single museum complex. The Garden was Peter the Great´s favourite creation. It was started in 1704. The Garden has changed greatly through the ages. However, its original regular planning has been completely preserved till nowadays.