MIKHAILOVSKY PALACE AND THE BENOIS BUILDING
The Russian Museum was established in 1895 and opened on March 14, 1898 in the Mikhailovsky Palace. The original collection consisted of 80 canvases from the Hermitage collection, 120 - from the Academy of Fine Arts and 200 - from various royal palaces. So many pieces of art were donated to the Russian Museum after 1898 that an additional Benois Building was constructed in 1914-16 to house the growing collection of the museum. After the revolution of 1917 collection of the Russian Museum grew quickly due to "nationalization" (requisition) of art from numerous private collections.
From the very first days of the Russian Museum, Mikhailvosky Palace was the main building of the museum and was showcasing the creme de la creme of Russian Art. Currently it shows art from the early Russian icons to early 20th century paintings (for Avant-garde see the Marble Palace). Displayed at Mikhailovsky Palace are excellent Russian icons, including some by Andrey Rublyov, portraits by Rokotov, Levitsky, Borovikovsky and Shubin, works by Brullov, Bruni and Ivanov, seascapes by Aivazovsky, historical paintings and portraits by Surikov and Repin, landscapes by Kuingi and Levitan, paintings by Vasnetsov, Korovin, Vrubel, Nesterov, Benois, Somov, Dobuzhinsky, Bakst, Serov, sculptures by Trubetskoy, Grabar, Serebryakova, Kustodiev, Rerikh and many others. It is a good idea to see it all with a guide, who will give you more background information on artists and their works.
Mikhailovsky Palace, although remodeled to house a museum, is a fine neo-classical building with a stunningly beautiful facade and a few interesting interiors. The main facade of the palace with a exquisite portico and an entrance flanked by two sculptures of lions is a focal point of the Arts Square. The palace was built in 1819-25 by the architect Carlo Rossi for Grand Duke Mikhail (younger brother on Alexander I and Nicholas I). The Grand Duke himself was rather a forgettable person, but his wife Elena Pavlovna was best loved by the enlightened aristocracy and cultured people, whom she always welcomed at her home till her death in 1873. In the end of the 19th century the palace was bought by the government and was given to the newly-formed Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III. The palace was damaged during WWII (the Siege of Leningrad), but was soon restored and last year revamped again for this year's Centennial celebrations.
Address: Inzhenernaya Ulitsa 4 (Arts Square)
Open: Wednesday to Monday, 10 am to 6 pm
Adult - US$8
Photo - US$4
Discounted tickets are available for visitors from Russia and the CIS countries
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