The Epoch of Alexander the III
The exposition opens with the lithography from the painting of the artist M.E.Zichi with the sight of solemn ceremony of briding at the Hermitage chapel.
The sheets from the album of water-colours by I.Monighetti, executed in 1861-1965, including architectural projects of churches with the sights of the interiors and decorative wall painting, icons, etc. are also presented at the exhibition.
History of the Alexander the III’s family is connected with the Crimean estate – Higher Massandra. Stages of the creation of the Emperor’s palace, called now “Alexander’s”, that lasted for many years, one can see in the graphical series of architectural projects by M.Bushar and M.Mesmaher.
The sensation of the exhibition is the project model of the baron A.L.Shtiglits’s estate in Narva, created in 1852 after the project of A.A.Schtakenshneider that is shown for the first time. This estate was not preserved and we have only a model of it, which became a historical document.
Applied art, created at the time of Alexander the III is presented at the exhibition by the works of N.Sultanov, whose art was the realization of artistic ideals of the Emperor. Alexander the III became for the architect not only the customer, but a connoisseur of “Russian style”.
Architectural projects of the Mihailovsky palace, where the State Russian Museum is situated now, is the logical final of the exposition. This building, which became the symbol of Saint-Petersburg, is the embodiment of the Emperor’s aesthetical ideals.
Alexander the III was a subtle lover of art, he knew painting very well and had his own collection of works of Russian and foreign art. Not long before his death, when his collection consisted of about one thousand items, he decided to found in Saint-Petersburg, after example of P.M.Tretiyakov, the museum of Russian art and give to it works of Russian masters from his collection. His son Nikolai II finished it.
Great interest of Alexander III to ancient history and examples of ancient Russian art brought to golden age of “Russian art” in 1880-90-th, gave impulse for the preserving of the examples of genuine Russian art for many years. This interest is very actual in our days. Now this historical example prompt us to stop, think about the past of Russia, about our roots, and about the fact, that we must carefully keep our heritage and give to future generations.