Restored Palace of Peter III opens at Oranienbaum

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Yelena Kalnitskaya and Vladimir Medinsky at the opening of the Palace of Peter III

On 24th May 2018, the solemn opening of the restored Palace of Peter III took place in Oranienbaum. The honorary guest of the ceremony was the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Rostislavovich Medinsky who thanked the restorers and museum staff, stressing that the opening of the Palace was “an important step, not only from the point of view of preserving Russia’s cultural heritage, but also that a unique monument that survived the war was restored from the era of Emperor Peter III.”

Speaking to the press, General Director of the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve Yelena Yakovlevna Kalnitskaya, noted that “the palace of Peter III remains one of the most important designs by the famous St. Petersburg architect Antonio Rinalddi. This was the first building, where a unique motif of the architectural ornament that the world culture knows as the” Rinaldi flower” was created. It was from here, that the elegant Russian rococo style was born.

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Interior of the Palace of Peter III at Oranienbaum

According to Elena Yakovlevna, the restoration of the Palace of Peter III, which began in 2016, demanded considerable efforts from the museum. The Oranienbaum palace and park ensemble has been under restoration for many years, but it was in this project that the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve took over the entire responsibility of the restoration work. When the cost of restoration increased by 68 million rubles, the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve allocated the additional funds needed to complete the project.

The restoration of the Palace of Peter III was widely covered by the Russian media. In particular, a press tour was held in Oranienbaum on April 17th of this year, and timed to coincide with the International Day of Monuments and Historic Places, during which media representatives toured the palace to witness the ongoing restoration work.

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Interior of the Palace of Peter III at Oranienbaum

A series of cultural events coincided with the opening ceremony, including music from the “Soloists of Catherine the Great” ensemble; and a performance of the sorcerer’s essay from the first Russian opera “Cephalus and Procris” (A. Sumarokov-F. Araya). 

The Palace of Peter III officially opened its doors to visitors on Saturday 26th May. In honor of the long-awaited opening of the palace, the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve lauched the Holstein Weekend holiday program, in which visitors to Oranienbaum learned about 18th century drill training, the basics of fencing and historical anecdotes on the life of Emperor Peter III and his times.

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Interior of the Palace of Peter III at Oranienbaum

Click HERE to learn more about the restoration of the Palace of Peter III at Oranienbaum – includes VIDEO

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 May 2018

Rare Louis XV Candelabra Acquired for the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum

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This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

The Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum recently acquired a pair of rare Louis XV candelabra. The items were purchased at an auction with the funding provided by the Society of Friends of Peterhof.

The era of Louis XV – the eighteenth century – was the heyday of porcelain production in Europe. During the rococo era, the decoration of palace interiors with expensive and fragile porcelain works was very popular. The decoration of the pair of bronze chandeliers includes porcelain figures of boys and girls, as well as the finest floral decoration. These decorations are made according to sketches by one of the most famous Saxon sculptors – Johann Joachim Kendler (1706-1775).

In 2018, the Chinese Palace will celebrate its 250th anniversary. To celebrate the jubilee, the opening of the three restored halls of the Empress Catherine II’s favourite house will take place. This summer, visitors to the Chinese Palace will be able to view the candelabra, and other unique objects of decorative and applied art of the 18th century.

Click HERE for more articles and photographs of the history and restoration of the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 1 March 2018

18th Century Icons Recreated for Palace Church at Oranienbaum

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This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

Sixteen 18th-century icons have been recreated by specialists for the restored court church of the Great Menshikov Palace in Oranienbaum.

“We hope to complete the restoration of the interiors of the church this summer” – said Elena Kalnitskaya, Director of the Peterhof State Museum Reserve, – “we are planning a super-modern multimedia exhibition about the history of the church, and divine liturgy will be held here annually,” she added.

Marina Pavlova, a leading expert on the study of objects of cultural heritage of the Architectural Department of the museum-reserve, noted that photos of the church interior from the 1930s, as well as specially selected historical analogs were used for recreating the wall paintings, which included works of West European engraving and Russian icons of the mid-18th century.

The recreation of these icons is a continuation of the restoration of the palace church, which began several years ago. In 2015, thirteen icons were recreated for the iconostasis. The recent addition of 16 more icons were returned to their historical places in the second and third tiers.

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Unlike most of the 18th century Orthodox churches in St. Petersburg, where the pictorial and iconic decoration was concentrated mainly in monumental iconostases, in the Oranienbaum church pavilion the wall and altar images were combined into a harmonious aesthetic and semantic whole.

The restorers are now planning to recreate the lost picturesque decoration of the upper tiers of the church, which include eight icons of the apostles with scenes of martyrdom and seven images of the Passion of Christ.

Situated in the western tower pavilion of the Great Menshikov Palace, the Oranienbaum court church was consecrated on 3rd September 1727. The last major reconstruction of the interior of the temple was conducted in 1897-1898.

In the 1930s, the Great Menshikov Palace was transferred to the Hydrographic Department of the Baltic Fleet, and the church itself was converted into workshops, its interior decoration was almost completely lost. Today, the interior of the church is slowly returning to its historical appearance of the late 19th century.

Click HERE to watch a press tour of the church on 14th February 2018. Click HERE to read more about the restoration of the court church of the Great Menshikov Palace in Oranienbaum.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 February 2018