October 01, 1998

The Russian Museum: 100 Years of Russian Treasures

The Russian Museum celebrated its 100th anniversary in March of this year with the typical pomp and circumstance -- foreign dignitaries and Russian ministers, champagne openings and a charity ball. But this was no ordinary anniversary.

This is the celebration of a Russian institution that many Russian intellectuals view as nothing less than the cornerstone of the nation's identity.

And rightly so. Within the walls of the Mikhailovsky Palace and the museum's other three buildings is a 380,000-piece collection, the most complete gathering of Russian art anywhere in the world: from ancient gold jewelry to icons, sculpture to numismatics, 19th century realist painting to Russian avant-garde greats. There is even modern video art on display. If it's Russian and it's art, it's probably in the Russian Museum.

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