The exhibition is dedicated to the famous 19th-century Russian collector Pavel Karabanov and his contemporaries — Muscovites, history enthusiasts and owners of unique private collections.
The so-called Russian Museum of P.F. Karabanov became one of these collections. He began acquiring objects of Russian ancientry in the 1790s, long before the uprise of mass interest in this phenomenon. Pavel Fyodorovich was the heir of old Russian nobles, where family relics were carefully preserved. He had been creating his domestic museum for more than fifty years. By the mid-19th century, the collection was already quite extensive consisting of a museum section that included works of decorative and applied art, a library with valuable manuscripts, old printed books and autographs of famous Russians, there was also a print room and a numismatics gallery. Contemporaries called P.F. Karabanov’s Museum "the second Armoury Chamber". When Emperor Nicholas I learned about the collection, he immediately decided to buy it. The owner was not ready to part with his "brainchild" during his lifetime, but decided to bequeath it after his death to the Emperor, and in his person — to the Homeland. In May 1851, after the death of P.F. Karabanov, his private museum was moved from the Moscow mansion on Petrovka Street to the Armoury Chamber. This is the only time in the history of the State Treasury that it has received as a gift not one or a few objects, as is often the case, but the entire collection. However, by the will of the Emperor, the Karabanov Museum was divided into several parts soon after the inventory was made. A significant part of the applied arts remained in the Armoury Chamber, while the rest was sent to Saint Petersburg. At present the art pieces of the Russian Museum of P.F. Karabanov are kept both in the Armoury Chamber and in the collections of several famous museums and libraries, such as the State Hermitage, the State Russian Museum and the Russian National Library.
The amateur scholars of history in the 18th and 19th centuries were defined as those whose concern for the fate of the country’s historical heritage led them to search for, preserve and study relics of Russian antiquity. A particular interest in national antiquities began to develop in the enlightened circles of Russian society after the Patriotic War of 1812. Many priceless collections and unique rarities were lost in the fires. Lovers of national history turned their attention to search for the new artifacts and their introduction into the scientific sphere. As a result of this passion, private collections were actively forming, and in the 19th century, Russian history and art pieces became a significant part of them.
The display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums has allowed many of the items in this highly interesting collection to be brought together and, in part, to reconstruct P.F. Karabanov’s Russian Museum. Icons and objects of personal piety, handwritten books, precious utensils and tableware, the 17th-century women’s jewellery and accessories of the "gallant age", objects of oriental origin, and arms in all their diversity are presented within the exhibition. A special section is dedicated to forgeries and imitations, which were inevitably present in private collections. Pavel Fyodorovich acquired works of various artistic levels, but they were united by one theme — Russian antiquity. That is why the items from his collection were the most suitable for the House of the Romanov Boyars display in the old chambers on Varvarka Street in Moscow — a dynastic museum created in the mid-19th century, where items of Russian life were to be shown. One section of the exhibition focuses on the House of the Romanov Boyars and the artefacts that once adorned it.
At the Moscow Kremlin Museums one finds works from various Moscow private collections of the 19th century, which were brought there at different times and under different circumstances. The exhibition will tell about the collections of count A.I. Musin-Pushkin, prince N.B. Yusupov, prince M.A. Obolensky, M.P. Pogodin and will allow visitors to be immersed in their world. These remarkable collectors were in different ways connected to P.F. Karabanov or the Moscow Armoury Chamber.
The project is a tribute to people who preserved for us unique pieces of Russian cultural heritage. It brings together more than four hundred works from the Moscow Kremlin Museums and other national collections, many of which are being presented to the public for the first time.
Pavel Fyodorovich
Pavel Fyodorovich Karabanov (1767−1851) came from the old noble family with rich history. He was born in the village Egoryevskoe of the Kashin uyezd (district). After acquiring the home education, he was on the list of the Preobrazhensky regiment since a young age, and, in 1790, he retired from the service with a rank of premier major. In the early 1790s, he moved from Tver to Moscow, where he married Princess Varvara Ivanovna Gagarina (1779−1834). From this time his life had changed greatly. The marriage brought him a big fortune and he, leaving all other occupations, devoted all his time to gathering various antiquities. Having retired from the army, he was not engaged with official duties, that let him enough time to replenish his collection thoroughly and systematically. The big fortune gave him potential for completing the home museum, but the most important was the absorbing interest, which he had retained through his life.
The family relics, that might have been a lot, laid the foundation for the collection. Each piece was followed by a legend telling about the circumstances under which it came into the family and who was the previous owner. These rarities, mainly memorial and linked to the history of Russia, might have influenced Pavel Fyodorovich, thus determining the key direction of his activity — collecting the Russian antiquities. Pavel Fyodorovich, while forming his collection, did not give preference to one form of art, he was eager to show the Russian history in all its diversity. According to his contemporaries, this made his collection ‘a peculiar encyclopedia' of objects of the Russian past. It combined pieces of high art and handicraft, works of engravers and cheap popular prints, unique and series coins and medals, but they all belonged to the Russian everyday life.
Obviously, Pavel Fyodorovich began forming a collection in his estate in the Nemetskaya Sloboda (German settlement) that his father Fyodor Leontievich Karabanov had bought in 1790. From 1799, it belonged to Pavel Fyodorovich himself, but in 1802, after the marriage, he sold it. In 1830−1840s, Pavel Fyodorovich bought the mansion of merchant G.A. Kiriyakov on Petrovka Street, two rooms of which were occupied by the collection.
Soon the whole Moscow started talking about the museum of P.F. Karabanov. The contemporaries called it the second Armoury Chamber. Emperor Nicholas I also learned about such a wonderful collection and wanted to acquire it. The collector answered as follows: "Having devoted my years-long life to the gathering of national rarities, I take solace from it at the old age… If His Imperial Majesty expresses His Highest Grace upon my collection after my death, I would consider it as an honour to put it before His feet. That would be even more delightful for me since the work of my life would remain save from the division".
A major part of the decorative art remained in the Armoury Chamber; the rest was sent to Saint Petersburg. The pieces of art, gathered by P.F. Karabanov with deep feeling, replenished the collections of many book repositories and museums of Russia. Today they are preserved in the funds of the State Hermitage, the Russian National Library, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, the State Russian Museum.
The majority of objects had Russian origin, but P.F. Karabanov bought also works of West European and even Eastern masters, because they had also inhabited the Russian state and were often seen in the boyars' houses. The collection was also replenished by the pieces of the 18th-19th centuries.
The core of the collection was formed by the 1840s. It might have been divided into the following sections: museum, library and collection of prints. The museum section included the items of decorative art, the library — manuscripts, hand-made and printed books, as well as the collection of autographs of famous Russians — monarchs and royal family members, statesmen and public figures. The cabinet of prints included engraved and lithograph portraits. There was also a munz-cabinet. Auctions, shops, exchange stands became the source for museum replenishing. However, among other things, Pavel Fyodorovich bought many fakes. The art pieces were also bought from the well-known collectors: P.P. Beketov, A.S. Vlasov, F.V. Karzhavin, Prince M.M. Shcherbatov, I.P. Elagin and other famous Russian figures.
Pavel Fyodorovich was buried in the Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin in the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow. The epitaph on the gravestone reads thus: "Here lies the old Russian nobleman, who loved the Fatherland, Pavel Fyodorovich Karabanov".
In May 1851, after the decease of P.F. Karabanov, his private museum was moved from the mansion on Petrovka Street to the Armoury Chamber. This is a single instance in the history of national treasury, when it was bestowed not one or several items but a whole collection at once. However, soon after the objects of Karabanov’s collection were described, they were divided into several parts upon the emperor’s will.
A.A. Osipov, about 1840
Paper; stippling
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Portrait of P.F. Karabanov
Prince Nikolay Borisovich Yusupov (1750−1831) is one of the most popular representatives of the aristocratic family, senator, state official, diplomat, educated nobleman, famous collector and art connoisseur.
At different time, Prince Yusupov took high positions at the court: in 1791−1799 he was a Director of Imperial Theatres, from 1796, he was in charge of the Imperial Hermitage and court theatre, then he was a Director of Manufactures Panel, from 1800 he took the seat of a Minister of the Land Property Department, was the member of State Council, three times he was assigned for the honorary mission of Marshal of the Imperial Court during the coronations of Russian emperors, he was also in charge of the obsequies' organization in February 1826.
In 1814, N.B. Yusupov took under supervision the Expedition of the Kremlin Buildings, the Workshop and the Armoury Chamber. For 17 years of his work, there was held a large-scale restoration of the Kremlin that had severely suffered from the French invasion. The Chudov and Ascension Cathedrals were restored, the interiors of the damaged Kremlin cathedrals were redecorated. The building of the Armoury Chamber was renovated and in 1816 the first exposition opened, marking a milestone in the history of the museum. The same year came out the first guide round the Armoury Chamber, written upon a request of the prince by writer and publisher P.P. Svinin. There was also carried out the restoration of objects that suffered during the evacuation.
Yusupov’s perfect knowledge of the European art collections and personal experience in collecting helped greatly in solving the questions regarding curation and conservation of the Armoury Chamber. His own large collection included easel paintings, sculpture, items of decorative and applied art, collection of engravings, drawings, miniatures, wonderful library and big family archive.
After 1917, the Yusupov family had to leave Russia. Before the departure, Prince Felix Yusupov secretly delivered family jewellery from Saint Petersburg and concealed it together with ancientries in the Moscow palace. The trove was found in 1925 and transferred to Gohran (the State Archive of Ancient Acts). Subsequently, D.D. Ivanov managed to transfer 46 pieces of the West-European and Russian silversmiths to the Armoury Chamber, but his main goal was to preserve the items of the Yusupov collection from sale or melting for the needs of state. These pieces still decorate the exposition, reminding of an outstanding Collector N.B. Yusupov.
By the end of the 19th century, the Moscow palace of the Yusupov was renovated, the interiors of ceremonial halls and rooms were reconstructed in the Russian style by Architect N.V. Sultanov. After that, the palace turned into a real museum. The pieces of the Yusupov collection such as fine art, porcelain, old Russian and European silver played an important role in the total look of the palace. In the ceremonial halls, dining room and the study of Prince F.F. Yusupov there were placed ‘the Old Russian' postavtzy (stands) with silver basins, double and amusement cups, ladles, loving cups and other art pieces of West-European and Russian masters. In 1897, Artist L.M. Brailovsky made a series of paintings depicting the rooms of the Yusupov palace, where one can see silver items in the interiors. The Yusupov palace became another place of interest in Moscow, one of the best samples of the Russian style. It was called a true Russian house with a fairy, magical atmosphere.
The base of the collection was the gallery of fine art that amounted up to six hundred paintings. The prince started collecting it when he was occupied at the diplomatic service and during foreign journeys. After he moved from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, he delivered here the collection as well. For this purpose, he purchased the Archangelskoe estate of Princess M.A. Golitsyna near Moscow, where the major part of the collection was placed. A small part remained in the Moscow mansion on the Bolshoy Kharitonievsky Lane. After the death of the prince, his heirs continued to multiply the collection.
By the end of the 19th century, the Moscow palace of the Yusupov was renovated, the interiors of ceremonial halls and rooms were reconstructed in the Russian style by Architect N.V. Sultanov. After that, the palace turned into a real museum. The pieces of the Yusupov collection such as fine art, porcelain, old Russian and European silver played an important role in the total look of the palace. In the ceremonial halls, dining room and the study of Prince F.F. Yusupov there were placed ‘the Old Russian' postavtzy (stands) with silver basins, double and amusement cups, ladles, loving cups and other art pieces of West-European and Russian masters.
In 1897, Artist L.M. Brailovsky made a series of paintings depicting the rooms of the Yusupov palace, where one can see silver items in the interiors. The Yusupov palace became another place of interest in Moscow, one of the best samples of the Russian style. It was called a true Russian house with a fairy, magical atmosphere.
E.O. Skotnikov, 1816.
Paper; burin engraving.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
portrait of N.B. Yusupov
Count Alexey Ivanovich
One of the most well-known ‘history amateurs' was Count Alexey Ivanovich Musin-Pushkin (1744−1817). The international glory came to him after he had found and published "The Song of Igor’s Campaign" - the invaluable monument of the Old Russian literature of the last quarter of the 12th century.
Alexey Ivanovich Musin-Pushkin was born in Moscow in the noble family on 14 March 1844. As a child, he entered the Artillery Training School and after graduation began the military service. In 1722, he made a long-term journey round Europe. The count visited France, Holland, Italy, where he went sightseeing, visited museums and private collections of rarities. Obviously, this European tour firmed his desire to arrange his own collection of antiquities.
Having returned to Russia, the count started fulfilling his dream. Being a personality of the Enlightenment age, Musin-Pushkin began his career in 1789 as the Head of the Corps of Foreign Co-religionists — a cadet corps for the children of Greek origin. Soon, Empress Catherine the Great assigned him to the post of High-Procurator of the Most Holy Governing Synod. At the Synod, the governess ordered him to collect ancient manuscripts and black-letter books from the repositories of Russian monasteries.
At that very time, A.I. Musin-Pushkin decided to look for the antiquities in old Russian towns through trade agents, whom he had ordered not to grudge money for the rarities. The collection grew rapidly. Manuscripts from the collections of archpriest P.A. Alexeev, historian A.N. Olenin, Count G.I. Golovkin became a part of the collection. Empress Catherine the Great bestowed several books to the collector, she also bought a library of historian I.N. Boltin for him. Sometimes A.I. Musin-Pushkin purchased the whole libraries, among which were those of professor A.A. Barsov, historian and poet I.P. Elagin, historian V.N. Tatishchev.
In 1797, A.I. Musin-Pushkin retired and moved from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, where he bought a big mansion on Razgulay street and placed the collection here. In 1809, A.I. Musin-Pushkin presented several rarities to Emperor Alexander I, which were then transferred to the Armoury Chamber. As a token of goodwill, the emperor favoured the count with ‘a merciful rescript', a snuffbox with His Majesty’s portrait and nominated him an honorary member of the Armoury Chamber.
Apart from the manuscripts, the collection included also the autographs of well-known people such as Empress Catherine the Great, Metropolitan Dimitry of Rostov, private archives of A.A. Barsov and I.N. Bolotin. His muntz-сabinet was also rich, besides there was a small collection of fine art, porcelain and silver.
The famous "Song of Igor’s Campaign" was acquired the same way. The manuscript of ‘The Song' was published in 1800 with a circulation of 1 200 copies. This edition turned to be priceless — the original "Song of Igor’s Campaign" burnt during the Moscow fire in 1812.
In 1791, Count Musin-Pushkin bought from bookseller V.S. Sopikov the archive of P.N. Kryokshin, historian and commissioner of Peter the Great. Later, A.I. Musin-Pushkin bought one more part of papers yet from the heirs of P.N. Kryokshin.
Ignaz (Ignaty) Sebastian Klauber (1753–1817).
Based on the original painting by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder, 1798.
Paper; burin engraving.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
The archive consisted of fascinating documents of the time when Peter the Great ruled, including autographs of Peter himself. Besides, there were Old Russian manuscripts, among which was also "The Chronicle of Russia by St Nestor" (The Laurentian Chronicle).
Soon, the collection of A.I. Musin-Pushkin became very popular among the researchers and collectors, his name entered the list of connoisseurs of Russian history and its ancientries. In 1758, he was elected the honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts, of which he later became the head in 1794−1799.
In the days of the 1812 fire, the collection was lost. Only two dozen of the manuscripts survived, by a happy coincidence they were out of the house. The count took the loss of his collection hard. On 1 February 1817, A.I. Musin-Pushkin perished. A funeral service was taken in the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow. He was buried in his favourite country estate Ilovna in Mologsky uyesz of Yaroslavl province.
Mikhail Andreevich Obolensky (1806–1873) was the founder of the State Archive of Charters, Manuscripts and Seals in the Moscow Kremlin and museum “The House of Boyars Romanov” on Varvarka Street, of which he was a director until his dying day.
Mikhail Andreevich Obolensky was born into a noble family of Major General Prince Andrey Mikhailovich Obolensky on 2 January 1806 in Tulchin. Upon the tradition, he entered pagehood at the age of 13 and, in 1825, he was recruited into the Leib Guard. After a battle injury, he retired from military service and started working in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where for 40 years he had been studying historical documents.
The prince learnt all steps of the archivistics: first he was an interpreter, then — the chief keeper in the Commission for the Publishing of State Charters and Contracts, in December 1840, he was assigned for the post of the acting manager in the Moscow Main Archive of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and in 1848, he took the seat of the Archive manager.
A private fund of M.A. Obolensky with his "study papers" that include "old catalogues" of his books and manuscripts is stored at the same place. In 1852, M.A. Obolensky presented the Armoury Chamber with one more manuscript, the Gospel of Novgorod of the last quarter of the 14th century with fine miniatures of evangelists, made on vellum. It was kept on the icon-stand in the chapel of the Terem Palace for many years and, in 1922, it was transferred to the Historical Museum.
Prince Obolensky is known to have possessed his own collection of manuscripts and a big library that he bequeathed to the Moscow State Archive of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs after his death (a significant part of manuscripts he passed there already during his life). Today this is a wide fund in the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts that had preserved its original title "The Manuscriptal Collection of Prince M.A. Obolensky". It comprises Slavic-Russian manuscripts of the 13th -18th centuries, chronicles, lists of noble families, genealogical books, and other items.
The Archive existed till October 1882 and then was disestablished. The documents were transferred to the Moscow State Archive. It was decided to leave three bronze arks with historical manuscripts in the Terem Palace.
Based on the original painting by Karl Bryullov.
Moscow, Lithographic Studio affiliated to the Museum (to the Russian State Stroganov University of Industry and Applied Arts) on Myasnitskaya Street, 1874.
Paper; chromolithography.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
M.A. Obolensky studied and published many important documentary sources. From 1838, he started publishing his own edition entitled "The Collected Volume of Prince Obolensky" that came out for 20 years with unique materials, including those from private collection of the prince.
In 1853, M.A. Obolensky was entrusted the creation and then administration of the State Archive of Charters, Manuscripts and Seals at the Armoury Chamber in the Moscow Kremlin, the history of which is closely related to name of Nicholas I. The Archive was envisaged as a reflection of spiritual and intellectual evolution of the Old Russian State, same as the Armoury Chamber embodied the material prosperity of the tsar court.
The museum was opened in 1859. The restoration of the Romanov chambers became one of the largest events in the history of Russian archaeology.
M.A. Obolensky was dedicated to work, he loved conversations with scientists, read a lot, could spend the whole night studying old manuscripts. The items of his collection and multiple works which are still used by researchers preserve the memory of Prince M.A. Obolensky.
The chronological frames were limited by the period of Peter the Great’s reformations. The documents were to be placed in eight silver arks. Academician F.G. Solntsev was appointed to create their design. All manuscripts and seals came and left the Archive only upon the highest will.
In 1856, upon the highest will, the prince was assigned the chairman of the scientific commission that was established due to the resumption of the chambers of boyars in Zaryadye. This house used to be a patrimony of the Romanov family. The legend has it that here was born the forefather of the dynasty — Mikhail Fyodorovich. Prince Obolensky became the director of the museum which was supposed to be created there.
Mikhail Petrovich Pogodin (1800−1875) attained glory as one of the most famous and lucky collectors of Russian ancientries.
M.P. Pogodin was born in Moscow in a family that originated from peasantry. Talent, purposefulness and hard work let him reach considerable heights in the scientific field. Having graduated from the Moscow Province Gymnasium, he entered the Moscow University on the faculty of language and literature where he defended a magister dissertation on the theme "The Origin of Rus". It was dedicated to N.M. Karamzin and his "History of the Russian State" that had determined the direction of Pogodin’s work for the whole life.
M.P. Pogodin had wide connections among history amateurs and in the world of collectors and antique sale. He had a big network of agents, who searched for and delivered antique objects for him. That very collection, that celebrated M.P. Pogodin and was called the Archive, was the result of the collecting activity for over 25 years. The major part of it were the manuscripts that were the prime interest of the scientist.
Among the transferred objects, the major part was from the collections of P.F. Karabanov and M.P. Pogodin (1404 from Pogodin’s collection). Later they were passed to the Museum of the Old-Russian Art at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1897, to the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III.
This significant complex did not stay in the Armoury Chamber for long. In 1856, the Moscow Palace Office received an order of the Holy Synod to pass all church items to the Synod Sacristy.
A thorough inventory of the items, sent to the Armoury Chamber, was drawn. The collection was divided into seventeen departments and included church items, crowns and icon-cases, copper icons and crosses, baptismal crosses, stone icons, bone icons and crosses, icon-painting, wooden carved icons and crosses, tableware and household stuff, man and women clothes, crystal dishes, core tools, objects from burial hill hear Murom, Eastern objects and those found on the Golden Horde site, as well as "various objects" (embroidered icons in particular).
Pyotr Fyodorovich Borel.
Based on the photograph by Karl August Bergner, 1860.
Page from the edition: Portrait Gallery of Russian Personalities. Saint Petersburg, 1869. V.2.
Paper; lithography.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
The manuscripts laid the base for the collection that included manuscripts on vellum, old charters and black-letter books, as well as the autographs of famous Russians from the members of the imperial family to the contemporaries.
The entire Archive was bought by the emperor for 150 000 roubles in silver and transferred to Saint Petersburg. Around 5000 units of manuscripts, parts of manuscripts, charters, autographs, black-letter books and also 115 portraits and engravings were acquired by the Imperial Public Library. The rest were delivered to the Imperial Hermitage.
The collection located on Devichye Pole in M.P. Pogodin’s house. The owner ordered for it special library cases: over 50 cases and 200 cardboard boxes. In 1852, M.P. Pogodin decided to sell the Archive to the state, hoping that the entire collection would be left in Moscow and transformed into the All-Russian People’s Museum with him as a director. The emperor knew about it, but had another plan.
Only a few objects from Pogodin’s collection were preserved in the Armoury Chamber, they were mainly weapon. While visiting the Public Library and observing the collection of Pogodin, the emperor said that he had not regretted at all that he had spent such a significant sum of money on the collection, since it would be safe from squander and would always belong to the science.
However, soon almost all objects were returned to Moscow upon the order of Emperor Nicholas I.
Mikhail Petrovich started teaching Russian history in the Moscow University, besides, he was occupied with scientific research. In 1834, he defended a doctor dissertation. The scientist spent much time and effort on the edition of the magazine “The Moskvityanin” (the Muscovite), where he actively published his notes. In 1844, he left the university and devoted himself to science and collecting, the passion to which appeared in the young years when he started collecting the bound volumes of the magazines. After graduation from the university, he commenced to form his Archive, where he gathered monuments of the Russian history.
The Archive had also another ancientries: icons, paintings, weapon, tableware, fabrics, cast images, copper and silver crosses, old pendent seals, coins and medals.
After selling the collection, M.P. Pogodin did not leave his favourite occupation. He continued collecting but, without doubt, did not manage to reach a lot, while hardly any collection could compare to the Archive — his life’s work.