March 01, 2008

Preserving 1000 Years of Russian Art



St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum turns 110 this year. Home to the world’s largest collection of Russian art, it opened its doors on March 7, 1898.

“I think often and seriously about needing to open a museum of Russian art in St. Petersburg,” Tsar Alexander III reportedly once said to his art advisor, Alexei Bogolyubov. “Moscow, for instance,” he continued, “has the fine Tretyakov Gallery that I heard [Pavel Tretyakov] bequeathed to the city. And we’ve got nothing.”

The idea of such a museum coincided with Alexander III’s aspiration to celebrate Russian nationhood, for a patriotism expressed through the arts. Yet it fell to his son, Nicholas II, to bring the dream to fruition.


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