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The Russian Museum

The Russian Museum of St. Petersburg boasts the world-famous collection of Russian art and has a status of a national art gallery. It houses more than 300,000 items, including numerous samples of old Russian art and handicrafts, painting and sculpture, tens of thousands of drawings, water-colors and engraving, and additionally, priceless works of decorative and applied art. Its collection of paintings (about 9,000 pieces) boasts magnificent canvases by the most prominent Russian artists, reflecting the history of Russian art from 12th century to present day. The Russian Museum occupies 2 buildings: Michael's (Mikhailovsky) Palace where major art collection is displayed, and Benois wing that displays Russian art of the turn of 20th century. The Russian Museum amassed its first items in the end of 19th century when in 1898 it opened its doors for public. Exhibits came from The Hermitage Museum, The Academy of Fine Arts, royal palaces and private collections. During its first ten years of existence, The Russian Museum collection almost doubled in size.

The Russian museum The Russian museum Mark Shagal "Promenade"

After the October Revolution thousands of nationalized items from the former palaces of nobility, mansions and country estates enlarged the museum collection. With years, the department of Soviet art became one of the largest collections in The Russian Museum. Visitors can see first post-revolutionary paintings depicting heroic reality of that period, the new way of life and changes in the country. Russian Civil War events are also represented in the canvases. The idea of building socialism is reflected in the portraits of active, creative and strong Soviet men and women. Soviet art did not stop developing during World War II. In fact, just the opposite, - the war gave birth to powerful paintings full of patriotism and emotional force. The Department of Contemporary Art opened in The Russian Museum in 1980-s. It displays new unconventional forms: video and photographic art. New items that had been banned during the Soviet time, joined The Russian Museum collection after Perestroika. It now boasts the works by Mark Chagal, Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich. The wealth and diversity of The Russian Museum collection unveils to visitors the country's cultural heritage and sums up all the artistic achievements of past centuries.

Open: daily, 10:00am - 5:00pm (Mondays and preholidays - open until 4:00pm), ticket office closing an hour before.

Closed: Tuesdays.

Tourists' Remarks

"While the Hermitage had a gigantic and excellent European art collection, the Russian Museum had mostly Russian paintings and personally, it was great to get a 'flavour' of Russian art too. There were many paintings about wars and a huge load of portraits."

"The Russian Museum is also a key place in St. Petersburg. It is often overlooked by people, in favour of the Hermitage, but it is still essential visiting. The central location is Mikhailovsky Palace, yet another impressive colourful well-architectured building. The garden area is also spectacular viewing. But here's a tip: view it all at night - it's very romantic!"

"With a maze of beautifully decorated rooms, the main Mikhailovsky Palace is a delight for art-lovers, whatever their favoured genre. Widely acclaimed for containing the most outstanding collection of icons from ancient Rus, the Museum’s Benois has an especially strong display of work from the turn of the twentieth century."

"The collection at the Russian Museum spans the history of Russian art, from stunning medieval icons to breathtaking 19th-century realist canvases to socialist realist art and beyond. The only disappointment is the first floor of the Benois Wing of applied art, which is heavy on tacky, modern crafts."

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