Indepth Arts News: |
"St Petersburg: A 300th Birthday Tribute People and Palaces in Photographs around 1900"
2003-06-14 until 2003-07-27
UK United Kingdom
On 27 May 2003, St Petersburg, home of The State Hermitage Museum, celebrated its 300th anniversary. One of the youngest cities in Europe, it was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as a window onto the West, part of his programme to modernize Russia. To celebrate this occasion, the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House are showing an exhibition of over 200 photographs from the Hermitage collection, presenting a profile of this rich and thriving city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was still the capital of Russia. These images strikingly demonstrate just how little the city has been affected by the subsequent upheavals of the 20th century. Visitors to St Petersburg today will discover that much of the centre has been preserved just at it was when these photographs were taken – a feast of 18th- and 19th-century architecture.
Special emphasis is placed on the interiors of the Winter Palace, home to the Romanov rulers of Russia until their fall in 1917, and the Hermitage – then still an imperial museum. Another group of photographs focuses on the mansions of those late 19th-century wealthy individuals whose treasures were to enter the Hermitage after the Revolution. Complementing the photographs of the magnificent masquerade ball held in the Winter Palace in 1903 are some of the original costumes worn at this glittering event. In contrast is a selection of images of ordinary people and the less salubrious parts of town that they inhabited.
Karl Bulla (1854-1929),
Self portrait, circa 1900