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The Stroganov Palace

Зал Растрелли. Современная фотография.
А. Колюччи. Кабинет графа Сергея Григорьевича Строганова. 1882.
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The Stroganov Palace, built on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and the River Moika, belonged to the Stoganovs, famous patrons and collectors, during two centuries from the early 18th to the early 20th centuries.

It is necessary to say that the well-known facades in St Petersburg were built by the court architect of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also worked for the baron Sergei Stroganov (1707-1756), a chamberlain of the Imperial court. Numerous sculptors, carvers and gilders including famous Italian artist Giuseppe Valeriani decorated the Stroganov Palace. His The Adventure of a Hero plafond decorates the Large (Ball) Room. Sergei Stroganov turned the palazzo on the Moika into the shelter of muses and place of diplomatic receptions.

The most famous member of the Stroganovs Count Alexander Stroganov (1733-1811) promoted the fame of the palace as a centre of true taste. He was a gentleman of the emperor’s bedchamber, president of the Imperial Academy of Arts and director of the Public Library. At the turn of the 18th-19th centuries he commissioned Andrei Voronikhin to create a number of magnificent rooms in the palace, specifically an eastern enfilade including the Mineral Study, the Picture Gallery, the Library and the Physical Study. The most remarkable collection was a collection of the Picture Gallery which Alexander Benois called «the soul of the Stroganov mansion». It included masterpieces by Anthony van Dyck, Nicolas Poussin, Lorraine, Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt and other famous European masters and was a result of half a century collecting of works of art, completed by publication of the first Russian catalogue of a private collection in 1793. The Stroganov collections of minerals, medals and coins, kept in the palace, were also significant.

The architect Andrei Voronikhin redecorated the western part of the palace for Count Pavel Stroganov (1772-1817), famous statesman of the epoch of Emperor Alexander  I. Unfortunately, decoration of all room except the Small Drawing Room, designed in rare for Russia Directoire style, has been changed.

Princess Elizaveta Saltykova (1808-1872), nee countess Stroganova, showed delicate taste and respect to acts of her ancestors. During construction and decoration of the southern part of the palace the architect Harold Bosse designed some chambers in Empress Elizabeth's style including the Large (Ball) Room.

Later constructions of the Stroganov Palace were not so intensive. The last member of the family to live in the palace was Count Alexander Stroganov (1852-1923). Alexander Stroganov was fond of hunt and granted it to the Society of Encouragement for Field Dignity of Greyhounds in the 1880s.

After the revolution the Stroganov Palace was nationalised in 1918 and renamed the National Stroganov House-Museum (1919-1929). The building was presented to the State Hermitage in 1925. A special commission was formed to redistribute the collection of art in December 1929. After sale of paintings from the Picture Gallery on the auction in Berlin in 1931, the palace was handed over to the Institute of Plant Growing. Before the Second World War the Stroganov Palace housed the People’s Commissariat of Shipbuilding. The doors of the palace were closed both for visitors and historians.

In 1989 the Stroganov Palace was awarded to the Russian Museum and that was a period of its rebirth. In 1995 the first exhibition was opened in the palace. In 2003 the Stroganov Palace opened the first-floor state enfilade. A year later objects from the Stroganov collection were shown in the rooms of the palace.

The Private Porcelain Factories of Russia: The Gardner Factory exhibition was opened in May 2003 in the restored rooms on the first floor. The permanent and temporary exhibitions of art from the collection of the Russian Museum and other collections are displayed in the Stroganov Palace.