Russian Museum is the first state museum of Russian fine art in the country. Its unique collection is the biggest in the world. The main part of the collection is concentrated in the Mikhailovsky Palace and Benois Wing. Also museum complex includes Marble Palace, Stroganov Palace, Saint Mikhael’s Castle, Summer Garden with House of Peter the Great and Mikhailovsky Garden. Annually 50 exhibitions take place in the Russian museum. Here you can use audio guide or order the excursion with guide-interpreter.
Nowadays the collection of the museum contains approximately 400000 exhibits (paintings, graphic arts, sculptures, numismatic pieces, decorative and applied arts, as well as archive documents) and covers all directions and schools, all historic periods and tendencies of Russian art between the X and XXI centuries. In the collection of the museum you can see icons of XII-XV centuries, pantings of such masters as A. Rublev, Dionisius, S. Ushakov and others; the collection of the XVIII-XIX centuries represented by such artists as K. Bryullov, O. Kiprensky, A. Venetsianov, F. Bruni, M. Kozlovsky, S. Shchedrin; the second part of XIX century represented of the paintings of A. Savrasov, I. Aivazovsky, A. Naumov, F. Vasilyev, F. Bronnikov, I. Pryanishnikov, V. Vasnetsov, V. Surikov and others; works by I. Levitan, M. Vrubel, V. Serov, P. Troubetzkoy consist the collection of XIX-XX centuries; also in the museum there masters of "Art world" - A. Benois, K. Somov, K. Korovin, B. Kustodiev, N. Roerich, R. Bach; the soviet art is represented by K. Petrov-Vodkin, V. Mukhina, Y. Tulin, Y. Moiseenko, B. Korneev, A. Eriomin and other.
Annually in Russian museum up to 50 exhibitions are held. Also in the museum there are Scientific library, which founds numbers 170 000 items. In the library there are several founds: found of Russian books, found of foreign editions, found of periodicals, exhibition catalogues, editions of Russian Museum, reference found. Also in the library there are the found of rare books, which collects nowadays approximately 7000 items.
Russian Museum was established in 1895 by the decree of the Emperor Nicolas II. The building of the museum (also known as Mikhailovsky Palace) was constructed in 1819-1825 by famous architect C. Rossi. Originally the initiative of the palace constructing belonged to the Emperor Paul I for his son Michael. However Paul I died before the construction began, then his elder son emperor Alexander I decided to implement father’s plan. When Michael turned 21 years, Alexander I gave an order to start the construction. Rossi designed not only the palace but the whole project, which included the Mikhailovsky palace itself, the square in front of it, two streets (Inzenernaya and Mikhailovskaya) and Mikhailovsky Garden. The outer appearance of the main building and western wing were preserved till our days almost without modifications. Today only two rooms represent the former splendor of the palace’s chambers and the talent of architect – the vestibule and the White Hall. They both are undoubted masterpieces of classic interior. The main vestibule is outstanding with its wide grand staircase divided in two parts, which lead to the second-floor gallery decorated with 18 sublime Corinthian columns. In 1825 the Mikhailovsky palace was consecrated. After that Michael with his wife moved here from the Winter Palace. For a long time the Mikhailovsky Palace was the grand residence.
In 1898 in the building of the Mikhailosky Palace the Russian Museum was opened, which is located here nowadays. In 1910-1914 due to the increase of the museum’s collection the new wing was attached. It was named after its architect L. Benois (The Benois Wing).