The Russian Museum
Founded in 1895 by the decree of Emperor Nicholas II (In 1895 Nicholas II, who had just ascended the throne, decided to immortalize the memory of his father, Alexander III, by creating a museum of Russian national painting; the Exchequer acquired the Mikhailovsky Palace, and the architect Vasily Svinin rebuilt its interiors to suit the museum’s requirements), the Russian Museum today is a huge complex and a veritable treasure trove of Russian art.
It is housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace and the nearby Benois Building (which contains the main exposition). The Russian Museum Complex includes the following: the Mikhailovsky Palace (4 Engineering Street), Mikhailovsky Castle (2 Sadovaya Street), Stroganov Palace (17 Nevsky Prospect), Marble Palace (5/1 Millionnaya Street) and unique gardens and parks – the Summer Garden with its Summer Palace and the Mikhailovsky Garden.
The Russian Museum opened in 1898. The White Drawing Room, which remained unchanged in the middle of the first floor, became the Alexander III memorial room. It contained gifts received by the late emperor and also his portrait and portraits of his children painted by his wife, Maria Fyodorovna.
The other rooms were hung with canvases by Russian artists. Some were collected by Alexander III himself and others were presented to the Academy of Arts. The newborn museum received many presents from collectors. Princess Tenisheva, for example, donated several hundred watercolors.
Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky presented his collection of Russian historical portraits. By its opening date the museum already possessed 445 paintings, 111 sculptures and 981 drawings and watercolors. By 2014, according to official figures, the collection grew to 399,158 pieces.
Collection of ancient paintings and objects of decorative art, paintings, watercolors and drawings, engravings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts and art objects is divided into ten categories.