The artists' union “Society of Russian Sculptors” (ORS – Obschestvo Russkih Skulptorov) was created in 1925 in the course of revolutionary ev...
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17 Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg
Metro - Nevsky Prospekt
Stroganov palace to-be must have been put up in the 1720s, when one-storey chambers, belonging either to one of the Stroganovs or possibly the whole family, were constructed by Green Bridge across the Moika River. In 1742 baron Sergey Stroganov bought an incomplete two-storeyed house on the same site. Afterwards, all the buildings were rearranged into one palace complex by an architect Francesco Rastrelli in
Numerous connected with Russian history events took place in Stroganov palace. Its Great Hall received the movers of National Library of Russia foundation in the 1760s. In December 1766 the deputies were elected here in attendance of Empress Catherine II to create The New Statement of Legal Principles.
In 1918 Stroganov palace was nationalized and turned into " People’s memorial house (former Stroganov’s )", while the State Hermitage was responsible for forming its displays. In 1929 the palace premises were given to the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in order to establish the Plant Science Institute here. This stopped the existence of the palace as a museum. The Stroganovs’ collections of art were divided between different museums of Russia and partly sold abroad.
By the 1930s the palace had already been occupied by several lessees — the main one was “Electric and Sea Trust” belonging to the People’s Commissariat of Shipbuilding. On 4 April 1988 the city council issued an order № 248 “To surrender the former Stroganov palace premises and transfer them under the jurisdiction of the Russian Museum”. The restoration works, held by it in
In 1992, according to the initiative of baroness Helene de Ludinghausen, who is baron Sergey Stroganov’s
Stroganov palace was constructed in
The palace is Russian letter " Г" in plan, and there originally was an entrance from the court of honor. At the end of XVIII- beginning of the XIX century Andrey Voronikhin put up the nowadays existing doorway facing Nevsky Avenue. That was he who also reconstructed and designed a range of classical style interiors, including the one in a newly-built east wing in order to house count Alexander Stroganov’s
During its almost two-hundred-year history Stroganov palace had its interiors continuously reconstructed according to changing fashion and the owners’ demands. These rooms were designed by over a dozen architects, including not only Rastrelli, Voronikhin and Sadovnikov, but also Ivan Kolodin, Carlo Rossi and other experts from Saint-Petersburg.
Francesco Rastrelli designed the palace, having equal composition of both facades, facing Nevsky Avenue and the Moika River Embankment. In the center we can see a portico decorated with the Stroganovs’ coat-of-arms under a baronial crown on the fronton. Rastrelli’s Mirror Gallery and Gala Staircase, adorned with mirrors and gilded sculpture, have not survived. However, Grand Hall, intended for balls and concerts, until now astonishes everybody with its splendor.
The highlight of the hall is a huge plafond which occupies all the surface of the ceiling. It was painted in the 1750s by a famous Italian artist Giuseppe Valeriani on thirteen separate canvases fixed on the stretchers. Its composition involves a multi-figure central part surrounded with a luxurious framework of colonnades, niches, a balustrade and sculpture. The focal point is the goddess of wisdom Minerva, defeating vices; on her left we can see virtues and on the right of hers there are allegories of particular arts which the Stroganovs patronized.
Since the beginning of the1790s the “home” architect of the family Andrey Voronikhin, formerly a serf, was responsible for the palace reconstruction. He started an improvised dialogue with his genius predecessor and, like him, considered the building as a solid ensemble. As it had already gone out of fashion, Voronikhin shaded baroque splendor of Great Hall with some classical elements. At the same time, having been fascinated by Francesco Rastrelli’s baroque ideas, he created State Dining Room or Corner Hall on the spot of Mirror Gallery of the 1750s. Quite a small interior looks much more spacious than it really is due to huge solid mirrors put in between Ionian semi-columns. A survived until now authorial watercolor of this interior let the restorers recreate its original idea in the 1990-2000s.
The suit of rooms along Nevsky Avenue culminates in two-tear Mineralogical Study, which is one more outstanding interior by the Russian architect, rightly considered a masterpiece of Russian architecture of the XVIII century. The study was completed by Voronikhin arguably between 1791 and 1792. It was originally purposed for minerals display only, but then books put competitive pressure on them. Fluted columns of Composite order, made of artificial marble, support the squinch arches which, in turn, do the same for the choir of the second tier. The first tier is decorated with four allegoric bas-reliefs showing the four elements: : “Fire”, “Water”, “Earth” and “Air”. The drum of the dome was prospectively painted possibly by Pietro Gonzago in XIX century, when the hall was converted into Billiard Room, the tiers were separated from each other with a glass cupola, and one of the bookcases was replaced with a tiled stove. Later on, in the 1950-80s, due to the roof defects, numerous leakages damaged the drum of the dome paintings badly. Moreover, the cupboards of the second tier became unfit for use.
Nowadays the hall has acquired its original design by Voronikhin. Russian Academy of Scienses Fersman Mineralogical Museum (Moscow), where the palace mineral collection was transferred to in 1919, took part in the display reconstruction. Apart from this, the Russian Museum reacquired the chest of polished marble plaques and other minerals, originally belonging to the Stroganovs.
The east wing of the palace houses Picture Hall, a unique Russian interior of the boundary between the XVIII and XIX centuries, which is one of the masterpieces by Andrey Voronikhin. The gallery occupies most of the second floor in the east wing. The 28 meter long premise is divided into three parts in axial alignment — the central one and two loggias on its sides. The central part is topped with a flat-arched vault, while the loggias have small cupolas. Two Ionic columns by each loggia separate them from the center. Abutting ends of the main vault (the tympans above the entablature) are decorated with bas-reliefs showing Oil Painting and Sculpture allegories. The gallery vault and the cupolas of the loggias have caisson ornamentation.
The decoration of Picture Hall used to outstand with its specific elegance and sophistication peculiar to Voronikhin’s style. All interior elements of it reveal proportion refinement and lightness. Numerous canvases, mostly by XVII century West-European artists, used to occupy all the surface of the walls framed with gilded molding. During the Soviet period the interior decoration was partly lost. However, the artificial marble column facing, imitating Sienna marble, has been restored several times and survived until nowadays.
There used to be six sofas and fourteen armchairs upholstered in green silk along the walls. This set, which was made at the same time as the hall was decorated, used to be stored in the funds of the Russian Museum for a long time. It had been thoroughly restored by 2015 and its upholstery had been reconstructed, after which the set travelled back to the palace. Also, here used to be situated a gorgeous malachite vase of 107 cm high and 107 cm in diameter, carved in lapidary works in the city of Ekaterinburg. This one is nowadays in the State Hermitage, as well as the three-meter high floor lamps, which we can notice in the canvas by A. Nilitin dating from 1832. They were made in the 1790s by a famous French bronzer F. Tomir according to the design by a sculptor Jean-Joseph Foucou.
An art critic and art historian Alexander Benois called Picture Hall “the soul” of Stroganov palace. This was where Alexander Stroganov
Pavel Stroganov used to reside in the western and southern wings of the palace, originally decorated by Voronikhin, but redesigned during all the XIX century. The only authentic sample of Voronikhin’s art of the early XIX century is Small Drawing Room — this one only has insignificant later touch.
Big Drawing Room has hardly any elements by Voronikhin. It was reconstructed according to the period it was designed — the end of the 1850s. The room might have been created for the second in history count A.Stroganov
The same years and, possibly, by the same architect Big and Small Studies of count Stroganov and Arabesque Sitting Room were revealed in the northern wing of the palace. This one, quite unusual for the middle of the XIX century, shows copies of Raphael’s students’ works for so-called loggias of Raphael.
For two centuries Stroganov palace was vital for so-called Saint-Petersburg branch of the Stroganovs, the founder of which baron Sergey Stroganov
Count Alexander Stroganov
Most prominent artists and writers of the time were patronized by the count. V.Shebuev, D.Levitskii, S.Schyukin were often sponsored by him as he greatly appreciated their works. D.Fonvizin used to read his essays in front count Stroganov, G.Derzhavin dedicated his odes to him, I.Bogdanovich, I.Krylov, D.Bortnianskiiwere in gathering at this home. With the aid of Stroganov N.Gnedich translated “Iliad” and dedicated an eclogue “Fishermen” to him.
Count Pavel Stroganov
Countess Sophia Stroganov, nee princess Golitsyn
One more eminent exponent of the dynasty was baron Sergey Stroganov
The last owner of the indivisible estate was count Sergey Stroganov
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Virtual tour of the museum complex. 2009 (Rus., Eng., Ger., Fin.)
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