Museum of Applied Art
School of Art and Design after A.L. Stieglitz

home | museum | temporary exhibition | fonds | faces | publications | contacts

 

The Museum Birthday supposed to be 15 of March 1878, the day of decision to establish a museum at School of Art and Design. Until the middle of 1880s the museum collection was replenished rather spontaneously because stable principles and trends in compiling it had not been outlined. This spontaneity and sometimes fortuity in arranging exhibitions could be easily explained by numerous gifts donated by private persons somehow connected with the school itself or with its organizer, being private collection owners, businessmen, factory owners and nobility. Here could be mentioned such well known Russians as prince S.S.Gagarin, prince N. S.Trubetskoj, count A.V. Bobrinsky, prince A.B.Lobanov-Rostovsky, a well-known official, the Circuit Court Chairman V.A.Rannenkampf, a well-known critic V.V.Stasov, an artist and an owner of an art collection M.P.Botkin, a prominent manufacturer l.F.Gromov etc.


Separate articles as well as entire collections of applied arts were donated to the museum. For instance, at the close of 1879 a famous archaeologist M.Schliemann, with whom A.A.Polovtsov got acquainted on board a ship, not far from Dardanells, during his oversees voyage in May 1879 , sent a collection of domestic and religious antiques as a gift. These articles were taken from the excavations of the Hill Gessarlyk where the remnants of the Homer Troy were considered to be discovered.
Quite soon after its foundation, the museum became the owner of a unique collection of decorative, applied and industrial arts and became noted in the world of art. In 1884 journal "Niva" wrote about the Stieglitz school museum as of one of the best collections of the kind in the capital .

Further advancement in training activities of the school and notable success of its disciples made Baron Stieglitz convinced that his money and the efforts had not been wasted. Therefore, shortly before his death in 1884 A.L.Stieglitz made his will in order to support the School financially and to provide opportunities for its further progress. According to this testament the School of Industrial Arts received 9.690.642 rubles 32 kopecks in silver (tremendous money at the time).




 


This donation made the School an independent educational establishment in Russia and provided it with unlimited opportunities both for perfecting the educational methods and for improving the entire process of training as well as for enriching and expanding the museum collections. After A.L.Stieglitz's death his daughter, N.M.Polovtsova, became the Honorary Trustee of the School.

In January 14th, 1885, the School Board adopted the decision to entrust academician M.E.Mesmacher to make an architectural design for the Museum building. On the 1st of February A.A.Polovtsov approved the plan of the new museum to be situated near the School.
In March of the same year M.E.Mesmacher went abroad with the purpose of examining the most prominent museums of applied arts . Upon his returning M.E.Mesmacher submitted the design of the museum building to the School Board for consideration. This event was mentioned by Polovtsov in his diary note of the 26th of April: "The museum will be magnificent and the location, as it is planned, is perfect" .
By that time M.E.Mesmacher had already gained some experience in designing a number of grand palaces and administrative buildings. He got his education at the School of Painting of the Society for Promotion of the Arts and then in the Architecture Department of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. He had already been recognized as the peerless graphic artist and a connoisseur of the artistic styles for his creative works. His talent as an architect perfectly harmonized with his skill as a manager and an educator.



 

The construction of the building for the Stieglitz School Museum started in summer 1885 and it was being built for eleven years. It was only in April 1876 when inauguration finally took place.
Meanwhile, owing to purchases from Russian and foreign antiquarians, as well as to gifts from innumerable private owners, the Museum collection expanded and was enriched. Splendid artifacts of the applied arts - porcelain, glass, bronze, gold - and silverwares, exquisite for their beauty, pieces of furniture and clothes, picturesque tapestry - everything was acquired - to be some day on display in the spacious halls of the new museum. As soon as the museum building had been constructed all these acquisitions became part and parcel of the museums' artistic interior and greatly contributed to the appearance of the halls.
Construction of the new building commenced the new stage in the museum development. The collecting activities of its organizers revealed new trends: year by year they were acquiring entire collections of applied arts. Thus, in spring 1885 a rich collection compiled of 662 articles was acquired which previously belonged to A.V.Zvenigorodsky. Five Flemish espaliers of the 16th century were bought from merchant Bing in Paris as well as the collection of lacquers and bronze-ware.

In 1885-86 the museum collections were expanding rapidly due to A.A.Polovtsov's activities abroad, where he spent a lot of time with the aim of acquiring new exhibits for the museum. His diary of those years has innumerable notes about his trips made alone or accompanied by his wife. Very short, as they are, these notes reveal his great interest for the activities to which he devoted his time sincerely and generously.








In June 1886 Academician A.A.Karbonier (1846-1908), a School professor, was appointed as the museum curator. A graduate of the Petersburg Academy of Arts and an honourable artist, A.A.Karbonier devoted all his talent and knowledge to the School and the Museum. He was not only an active participant in arranging museum exhibitions but for many years he was also studying and systemizing its collections and compiling catalogues .
Significant acquisitions were made for the Stieglitz museum in 1886. At the beginning of the year A.A.Polovtsov started negotiations about purchasing so-called "Persian" collection which belonged to Major-General P. V. Charkovsky who served in the Army in the Caucasus and had evidently acquired his collection there. In spring of the same year A.A.Polovtsov and his close friend prince A.B.Lobanov-Rostovsky left for Vienna where some new articles were added to the museum collection.


Amongst them five masterpieces by Tiepolo . Somewhat later the canvases by G-B.Tiepolo, a prominent Italian painter of the 18th century, were used by M.E.Mesmacher in the interior of one of the Gala Halls of the new museum building where they became the basic elements in its decorative design made in the manner of Venetian Baroque. Apart from Tiepolo's canvases numerous articles of applied arts were also acquired by A.A.Polovtsov and A.B.Lobanov-Rostovsky. An entire new collection known as "Vienna collection" was gathered. Polovtsov's trip to Vienna did not last long but in summer he resumed his European voyage. His diary entries during that journey are very vivid and depict all the diversity and admirable peculiarities of their author's impressions. Being engaged in his own business, A.A.Polovtsov never forgot his obligations to the Stieglitz School Museum. At the end of his journey he wrote about his occupations in Paris: "For five weeks that I have spent here I was having the most pleasant time. I am hunting in Rambouillet... The days I stay in Paris I spend in search of artifacts for our museum and I found quite a lot of precious things, mostly ancient fabrics and carpets". Apart from that in spring 1886 an attractive and large collection of fabrics, bought from antiquarian Kraut from Frankfurt-on-Main, arrived to the museum.


The year of 1886 in general was unusual for gathering activity of the museum. Being aware of the importance of a sufficient and diversive collection of applied arts for the educational process, museum authorities spared neither efforts nor resources for acquisitions. One by one valuable collections were acquired: Chinese and Japanese vases of the 13-17th centuries were bought from antiquarian Bing in Paris, Italian majolica and Limoges enamels of the 16th century were bought in Cologne auction from Leipzig antiquarian E.Felix. Finally the Museum became the owner of a wealthy and diverse collection, including almost 1.300 articles, purchased from antiquarian Ricard. M.E.Mesmacher was sent to Frankfurt-on-Main in November 1886 to make a deal with Ricard but it was possibly A.A.Polovtsov who actually negotiated the deal with the owner during his stay in Frankfurt in summer 1886.



One of the characteristic features of the Stieglitz School Museum collection, as well as of those owned by other School museums of the same kind in Europe and Russia, was an abundance of copies of the works of art exhibited in the museums of the world. These copies were made a part of the Museums' collection alongside the unique and authentic works. This combination could be explained by the educational purposes of the museums of industrial arts as well as by their mission, which was not only to preserve the rarities for the future generations, but also to use them as teaching manuals for future specialists in industrial arts. In 1886, the stock of the Stieglitz Museum grew immensely when several hundreds of splendid halvanocopies of the best works of applied arts exhibited in the European museums were added. Reproductions of Pest National Museum exhibits were purchased and large collection of halvanocopies of the articles exhibited in the South-Kensington Museum in London was bought from "Elkington and C" . Some copies of works from the museums of Venice, Vienna, Nurenberg and Munich were also bought from antiquarian Fleishmann.

 

All the exhibits acquired during the years of 1886-87 were on display in the Stieglitz School museum halls. Although they were quite spacious these halls could hardly house all the works. By December 1886, the exhibition works numbered well over ten thousand items. Since then and until 1896 there was gradual decrease in the number of new acquisitions. It obviously happened not only because of the shortage of space for depositories, but also because of the great expenses which were required for the construction of the new museum building. Both construction and acquisitions were realized on the interest from the capital bequested by Baron A.L.Stieglitz.

However, in 1887, the museum did make some substantial purchases. First, six Gobelin tapestries should be mentioned, striking and attractive for their artistic qualities. They were sent by antiquarian M.-A.Lovaux from France. They were scrutinized by the museum specialists and it was decided to buy all of them. The most remarkable of those six were the series "Months of a Year" and "The King's Residences" produced at the Gobelins factory at the close of the 17th - beginning of the 18th century. These three carpets were later used by M.E.Mesmacher for the Louis XIV Hall interior. In 1888 some other valuable objects were bought by A.A.Polovtsov from antiquarian Werheimer in London.
In 1880s 1890s, museum gathering activities were greatly influenced by the general interest in Russian national applied arts, consequently a good deal of articles, produced in Russia, entered the museum. They were bought, as a rule, at auctions or from antiquarians in St.-Petersburg and Moscow. Sometimes the museum resorted to the help of I.F.Barschevsky, who being a well-known photographer, researcher and expert in ancient Russian art, greatly assisted in expanding the Museum's collection of fabrics, costumes and tiles.

 

Preference was given, however, to West-European art. Among the acquisitions of the early 1890-s there were some outstanding pieces from Spitzer's Paris collection, which was on sale in 1892. A marble bas-relief, made by an Italian sculptor A.Lombardo, and a Brussels 16th century woven carpet were valuable contributions to the rich Renaissance art collection of the Stieglitz Museum.
Despite the tendencies to reduce purchases the range of antiquarians cooperating with the museum widened in late 1880s, early 1890s. They were both, Russians and foreigners. A good deal of articles were bought from the Russian dealers Pryadilova, Kristlib, Kotov, Kosty, as well as from Rein and Leveir from Paris, Hood from London etc.


Meanwhile, the new generation of the Polovtsov's got into the museum business. In 1890, the Polovtsov's son, A.A.Polovtsov - jr. (1867-1944), and their son-in-law, count A.A.Bobrinsky (1852-1918), became the members of the School Board. They greatly contributed to the expansion of the museum collection. A.A.Polovtsov-jr. served as a commissioned officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs. He was often on business in the Caucasus, Turkistan and in the Caspian Sea Territories. During his trips he managed to purchase a lot of marvellous things for the museum Oriental collection. A.A.Bobrinsky, who was the chairman of the Imperial Archaeological Commission, greatly assisted the museum in the acquisition of the most valuable items from the Thebes, Kherson and Kerch excavations.
The year of 1896 was unusually important for the Museum of Industrial Arts. By the highest order of His Imperial Majesty', the opening ceremony of the new museum building was appointed on Tuesday the 30th of April, of that year.


The inauguration of the Museum of the Baron Stieglitz Central School of Industrial Arts was held on the appointed day. The Emperor's family and other nobility were at the ceremony. It was quite a remarkable event in the history of the Russian capital. For example, N. Vessel, a noted Russian publicist, who attended the opening ceremony quoted the speech of the Kensington Museum's representative: "I arrived in St.-Petersburg some days ago with the aim of attending the inauguration ceremony. The museum is splendid, much more splendid than our Kensington School museum" . Later in 1899 critic L G. Antokolsky wrote: "Even such famous European museum of applied arts as Musee Quny in Paris, being superior in the wealth and completeness of its collections... is, however, much inferior in its exterior splendour" .
Contemporaries notices the resemblance between the museum building and the two buildings designed by a Venetian Renaissance architect D.Sansovino: Palazzo Carner della Ca Grande and San Marco Library in Venice.


It should be added however, that the features of another, not less notable, monument of Italian architecture are manifested in the museum building, that of basilica in Vicenza, built on architect Palladio's design. M.E.Mesmacher had not only adopted separate trends in composition and in some decorative elements of the Renaissance structure. His aim was to create some integrated and generalized image of the Renaissance architecture.
The Stieglitz School Museum astonished the contemporaries by the enormous space of its innumerable halls and galleries and by the wealth of their artistic interiors. Journal "Stroitel" (Builder) wrote: "When a visitor, who got used to the barrack-like style of our museums' architecture, enters the spacious Entrance Hall, he gets an unusual feeling, influenced by surroundings of polished granite, marbles, bronze and fine arts. The splendour of the artistic compositions is striking and dazzling."
The museum building which was M.E.Mesmacher's last architectural construction, can now be treated as a unique memorial of the Historicism period in architecture. Its concept adopted all the achievements and controversies of this fascinating and complex trend in the history of the world art.
The stylistic controversy of the interiors possessed the characteristic features of the Greek and the Roman art, of Byzantine, Roman and Gothic styles, and of the French and the German baroque. However, it was the Italian Renaissance that prevailed in M.E.Mesmacher's architectural design. The influence of the Italian Renaissance heritage could be easily traced in the symmetry of the design, in the suite of rooms, a number of specific structural elements.

 

The Entrance Hall, the Avant-Hall and the Grand Exhibition Hall make a spectacular suite, and serve as a structural axle of the building. Two enlighted courtyards are situated symmetrically on both sides of the Avant-Hall. Their composition and diverse architectural and sculptural decorations rouse associations with palazzo patios traditionally used in the Italian Renaissance architecture.
The design of many museum interiors was prompted by well-known architectural monuments of Italy. Thus, the Entrance Hall in Palazzo Catoldi in Genoa, built at the second half of the 16th century was a prototype of the Entrance Hall in the Stieglitz Museum. High stone panels and column pedestals, fastidious profiles of partitions, embossed wall facing added to the splendour of the Hall and contributed to the impression of the monumentalism. Numerous columns and pillars made of polished granite emphasized the elegant architecture of the interiors and made an important accent in the austere palette of its stone embroidery.

 

Alongside the stone work the architect used polychrome paintings on the arches and the butt walls of the Entrance Hall. Grotesque ornamental and allegoric images of different crafts fancifully harmonized and emphasized the building's purpose.


The Avant-Hall was the first room where the exposition was developed. Its architectural and artistic style was also reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. The deep arches of the Avant-Hall were covered with bright paintings, bleedings of floral elements and fantasy. Numerous oval medallions with views of Italy and compositions with mythical subjects were naturally amalgamated in the ornamentation. In the architectural and artistic design of the Avant-Hall M.E.Mesmacher turned to one of the most outstanding monuments of the past, Villa Madama in Rome, designed by Raphael at the beginning of the 16th century. Following his great predecessor M.E.Mesmacher aspired to create an well-proportioned harmonious spatial composition. Picturesque arches were supported by two rows of double columns, made of natural marble, which divided the Hall into three naves.


Austere columns of the Avant-Hall and small stairs of the passage led the Museum visitor to the Grand Exhibition Hall, which was the centre of the entire architectural composition. M.E.Mesmacher used two-tiered arcade, characteristic of the Renaissance style. It is considered that San-Marco Library fasade in Venice was one of the analogues of this arcade. All the space of this enormous Hall was covered with a glass dome, which became one of the greatest achievements in Russian building technology of the end of the 19th century.
A grand marble staircase connected the upper and the lower tiers of the gallery and made a passage to the first-floor halls. According to the architect's concept, a marble statue of Baron Stieglitz by sculptor M.M.Antokolsky was placed on the upper landing of the staircase. The art works of 17th century Flandria, of Elisabethian period England, of Italy of the baroque age and France in the reign of Henry II, Louis XIII and Louis XIV were introduced in the large Gala Hall on the first floor. When M.E.Mesmacher was creating his architectural and artistic image of the museum, he was guided by the existing prototypes. Thus, one of the halls of the Venetian Palace of Doges determined the choice of the decor, characteristic of Tiepolo Hall in the School Museum. The decorative design of the School Board Hall was a creative interpretation of the Council Hall in Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Wonderful interiors of the hall, dedicated to French art, gave associations with various 16-17 centuries palaces interiors. For instance, the wall paintings and ceiling decor of Henry II Hall in the Stielgitz Museum resembled the elements of decorative design of Henry II galleries in Fontai-nebleau, and those of Diana de Poitiers Hall in the Anet Castle built by architect Delorme. The influence of the creative heritage of the noted artists of the rococo period in France was also easily traced in the wall paintings in Behren Hall (or Louis XII Hall as it is also called). Italian Renaissance motives were reproduced in the first floor interiors and could be also recognized in the decoration of the Grand Rome staircase and the Raphael Loggias (porches), the design of which was quite unusual and novel. The picturesque decoration of the Raphael Loggias was perceived as a reminiscence of the famous Pope chambers in the Vatican.

 

M.E.Mesmacher's attention to the summit periods in the history of the European couture could be explained not only by the spirit of the time or his personal affections, but also by the Museum's basic mission: to bring glories of the world art within the reach of the future artists. It should be noted that both the pupils and the graduates of the school actively participated in the decorating of the Museum halls. The architect gave them a unique opportunity to put into practice the knowledge acquired at school. To word under the command of such a talented architect was a remarkable teaching in professional craftsmanship.


All the riches of the Museum collection found their place in the numerous spacious halls of the museum. Gypsum moulds and halvanocopies were exhibited next to the glorious unique masterpieces. Alongside the adorned interiors they contributed to the creation of the images of various artistic styles. The didactic function of the Museum was obvious: it was like a grandiose and luxuriously illustrated folio, narrating the culture and the arts and crafts, of the modus vivendi and the aesthetic aspirations of the peoples who lived in the past ages. These surroundings greatly influenced the development of the students' professional taste, their subtle artistic perception and their individual creative abilities. In the Museum the students listened to the lectures on the history of various crafts and the history of styles and ornamentation. The Museum exhibits served them as manuals; patterns to be examined and copied for their still - life and paintings.


When the building of the Stieglitz School Museum opened its doors different strata of the Petersburg society got the opportunity to get acquainted with its interiors and collections. The Museum became extraordinarily popular: the numerous exhibits, displayed in the Grand Hall, made the museum one of the most frequented of all the Russian capital's museums. Since 1898 S.P.Dyagilev started to organize regular exhibitions there, initiated by the journal "Mir Iskusstva" (World of Arts). The next year the museum arranged a fine arts exhibition to benefit the creation of a Pushkin monument in St.-Petersburg. In 1904, the gran-diously designed "Historic Exhibition of the Works of Arts" and a number of displays, based on the Museum funds and private collections was organized. 17 All of them were undertaken with the only goal - to develop the national art and the students' comprehension of the contemporary artistic processes. Visitors were attracted to the Museum not only by these occasional displays but also by the permanent exposition enlarged by new acquisitions. This was actually the new stage in the development of the Baron Stieglitz School of Industrial Arts and its museum. The links with West-European trading companies, outlined in the last years of the 19th century, were becoming stronger. Thus, at the end of 1890-s the Stieglitz Museum started to cooperate with an antiquarian from Paris Seligmann, who sold a number of valuable articles to the museum including 17th century French screen (ecran) and four large and wellpresented carpets. At the same period cooperation with other French tradesmen: Forgeron, Hambourger and Stetton was also developing, The latter sold to the Museum a collection of enamelled golden watches. In 1901 the Museum bought a collection of 1219th century stained glass, offered by a Parisian antiquarian Baboneau. In 1902, another notable acquisition was made. The Museum's collection of carpets was expanded by two perfectly preserved 1784 Gobelin tapestries. They depicted the myth about Jason and Medea. According to the legend, they formerly belonged to Prince Potemkin, a glorious Russian statesman.

 

In 1902 the Museum collection exceeded fifteen thousand works. It kept expanding due to new acquisitions and gifts, which, however, were not numerous. During the next 34 years there were no more notable purchases. It was undoubtedly connected with the socio-political situation iji Russia in 19051907, which swept the country, broke the everyday chain of events and involved thousands of people into the revolutionary whirlwind. The echo of the revolutionary uprising reached auditoriums and workshops of the Stieglitz school. Chaos in the streets and squares as well as in almost all the educational establishments of St.-Peters-burg resulted in the closing of the majority of the state institutions.
The School Museum was also closed. The curators were greatly concerned with the safety of the treasures kept in its halls. Upon the order to close the Museum, administration could not even suppose that the closure would last until 1909.

 

Nevertheless, in 1907, the museum authorities managed to make a number of acquisitions through their contacts with the credited trade partners: Parisian antiquarian firms of Hambourger and Seligmann. The most notable oversees replenishment in 1907-1908 was a marvellous collection of 63 pocket watches bequeathed to the museum by Princess S. V. Golitsina, who died in Strasbourg in 1907.
At that time A. A. Polovtsov-sr. had completely retired because his age and diseases had overtaken him. His son A. A. Polovtsov-jr. became the chief coordinator of the Stieglitz museum. After N. M. Polovtsova's death in 1908 and A. A. Polovtsov-sr.'s death in 1909 the School Board elected their elder daughter Princess A. A. Obolenskya as the Honoured Curator of the School and the Museum. A. A. Polovtsov-jr. became an Assistant Curator. After M. E. Mesmacher's retirement in 1896, architect Q. I. Kotov was appointed as the director of the School.


It was quite natural that in the course of years the transactions between the museum and West-European market of works of art became stable. Moreover, A. A. Polovtsov-jr.'s experience as a collector as well as his knowledge of the antiques trade and marketing situation made it feasible to be easily oriented in all the problems connected with purchasing works of arts.
In 1910 A. A. Polovtsov-jr. commenced business relations with F. Langiweil, the owner of the shop for antiques in Paris. She specialized in trading antiques from China and Japan. London trading "Gallery of Persian Arts" became his other partner. This company's dealers worked in Iran and were engaged in the search and purchase of works of art, which were later sold to different countries, Russia amongst them. Dealing with these companies the Stieglitz School Museum managed to enrich its Oriental collection during three succeeding years. Moreover, in 19101913 the museum either directly or through their dealers, made contacts with Parisian antiquarians and trading companies: Demothe, E. Larcade, M. Stone et C, "Objets d'Art Antiques de Chine", Schultz et Leclerc. The museum, and to be precise: A. A. Polovtsov-jr., bought a great deal of quite diverse works of applied arts mainly of oriental origin.


In 1913 A. A. Polovtsov managed to make several quite successful and very valuable purchases from F. Langeveil in Paris and from antiquarian D. Barozzi in Venice. First time he had his deal in business with Barozzi was in 1911, when he had bought various 18th century Italian dishes. This time the collector's attention was attracted by so-called "Mirror room" the interior of a small 18th century room, finished with mirrors, enframed into carved gilded wood. The museum curator's assistant B. J. Chembers was sent to Venice for the packaging and shipment of this precious load. Before dismantling this room. B. J. Chembers made a scheme showing how the mirrors were situated in the room. The load arrived to St.-Petersburg quite safe, was carried to the museum, where "Mirror room" found its place in the interior of a small Louis XV Hall. Its design repeated the style of the Rambouillet Hotel.
During his negotiations with D. Barozzi on "Mirror Room" in autumn 1913, A. A. Polovtsov-jr. made a number of significant acquisitions from antiquarian F. Langiweil. In his letter to G. J. Kotov A. A. Polovtsov-jr. wrote: "In Paris Langeveil is selling off. She says she is ill and tired and seeking for rest. She cuts prices and suggests I should take the things and repay in several payments..." .

 

A. A. Polovtsov chose the most valuable Chinese and Japanese dishes, a collection of black Japan, a great number of nephrite articles. Langeveil, who was greatly satisfied with the deal, presented some valuable things
910, the Commission for Acquisitions for the museum and the library was founded. Q. I. Kotov, M. P. Botkin , .and A.A.Polovtsov-jr. became members of this Commission. This Commission took interest in replenishing the Russian department of the museum. Thus, in 1911 a collection of Russian porcelain was bought for 40 thousand rubles from L.K.Popov. It included seven hundred pieces. Some of them were produced at the Imperial porcelain factory, the others - at different ceramic workshops of Russia. Until May 1915, during the years when the Commission was functioning, it examined an enormous number of craft-wares. By the end of 1913 the museum collection numbered nearly 21 thousand pieces.


Historical events of 1914 in Europe created new hardships in life. Russia was involved into the World War I. Even at this very uneasy time, with the front-line quite close to the capital, the Stieglitz museum did not cease its educational activities. In March and April 1915 "Exhibition of Church antiquity" was exposed where visitors could get acquainted with the articles of the Russian Orthodox Langiweil
church, belonging to sacristies of many cathedrals: Peter-and-Paul Cathedral, Alexandro-Nevskaya Lavra, Winter Palace etc. Art collectors also actively participated in this exhibition. They generously displayed the riches of their private collections, hitherto unknown to the general public. The exhibition became a significant event in the city's cultural life and had great public response. The journal "Staryje godi" (Ancient times) wrote about the exhibition as "one of those, that appeared in these days of disaster, which Russian people had to endure, united by the common goal - to give possible pecuniary aid to their Motherland's defenders, who had greatly suffered from the enemy" .
Everybody in Russia was aspired to assist the front in any possible way. In August 1915, the Head of the Northern regional department of the Russian Red Cross Society appealed to the museum authorities with the request to give their consent for arranging workshops to produce respirators and bandages in the museum halls. The consent was surely given. In October 1915, the possible evacuation of the museum collections was discussed at the meeting of the School Board. The exposition was dismantled, valuable articles were carefully packed and placed in two halls on the ground floor. The political situation was constantly changing, the evacuation was postponed and 257 boxes with the museum collections and 55 boxes with the library collection were left unpacked for the several years.

In those hard days of 1915 there was hardly anyone who could forsee Russia's fate and the hardships that Russian people would have to withstand. The holocaust of the revolution, the Civil War and the awful period of the military communism were approaching. The old world, with its century-old tenor of life, traditions and culture, was breaking and the new society was arising on its ruins. This society existed according to its tough rules and laws. A human life became nothing but a small screw in a gigantic political machine. Art was valued only for its influence on people as one of the means of propaganda and ideology. Everything belonging to the previous life was persecuted and cruelly destroyed. Post-revolutionary nihilism repudiated the culture of "bourgeois Russia". Monasteries and cathedrals were being destroyed, church sacristies, city and country estates were being ravaged. Countless riches of emperors' and nobility's palaces and museums were being sold. New Russia was expecting the new art and new artists, who would be able to depict the revolutionary wave of the epoch in their creations.
The reform of the artistic education undertaken by the Soviet government in 1920-s resulted in merge Baron Stieglitz School with the Academy of Arts and finally, in the closing of the school. This action depreciated the artistic and educational ideas of the museum conception and made the museum undefended before the realities of life.

 

The very existence of the school as it was originally conceived became meaningless and naturally the process of severance of the museum collections from the museum started. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the museum was a vivid manifestation of philosophical ideas of historicism in art, which absorbed distinguished characteristics of this complicated period in the world culture, did not conform to the aesthetic demands of the Soviet Russia and was misinterpreted as embodiment of vulgar and eclectic bourgeois art.
Such estimation of the Stieglitz Museum as well as other historical monuments of the second half of the 19th century resulted in the transfer for supervision most of these institutions and buildings to different bureaucratic departments, which adjusted them to their purposes - sometimes with real vandalism. They took into consideration neither their cultural nor their material values and contributed to the destruction of the national culture. The unfortunate fate of the Baron Stieglitz Museum, which got into the whirlwind of historical events of the post-revolutionary period, mirrors the tragedy of the time.

 

In summer 1917 the Red Cross workshops in the museum were closed, and the halls with their equipment were sealed up. After the revolt a part of the workshops materials and equipment were carried away and by 1922, twenty halls stood empty. A graduate of the Stieglitz School E. K. Kwerfeldt, who was the museum curator for several years, became its managing director. A thoroughly educated specialist, historian of the arts, a person of penetrating artistic taste, fanatically devoted to his alma mater, E. K. Kwerfeldt commenced an unequalled struggle with devastation; challenging the cruelty of the time. Notwithstanding the circumstances, this struggle brought substantial results.
In the post-revolutionary period the museum collections were replenished by nationalized private collections and by those from other museums. Thus, in June, 1917 a collection comprised of 363 boxes, whose owner was E. G. Sachsen-Altenburgskaya, joined the museum repositories .


It contained 1466 articles of porcelain, bronze-ware, cut-glass, furniture, espaliers, 112 articles of silver-ware, 119 cases with engravings and 26 marble sculptures. In December 1917 the museum received 2801 articles made of porcelain, cut-glass, stone and ivory. They were brought from the Grand Prince Nicolay Nikolaevich's Palace and handed to A. A. Polovtsov-jr. by warrant of Lunacharsky, People's Commissar for Education. In 1918 A. A. Polovtsov-jr. deposited a part of his voluminous private collection in the museum. The next year he contributed his property from the cottage on Kamenny Ostrov (St.-Petersburg district) to the museum. It was registered in the State Museum Fund in 1922. In September-October 1923 the museum of the Society for Promotion of the Arts transferred Persian and Middle Asian tiles and vessels to the museum. Two years later some Chinese ceramics and porcelain, enamels, bronze-ware and carved stones entered the museum stock from the State Museum Fund.


Notwithstanding exceptionally hard circumstances of the Civil War of 1918-1920 the museum authorities continued to acquire some separate articles and books for the School library. E.K.Kwerfeldt was responsible, as an expert, for new acquisitions before the Museum Commission on Economy, which took control over the financial and business activities of the administration.
Special attention was required for procuring the money needed for the urgent repair of the halls, which suffered from humidity, absence of heating and broken roofing. In the autumn of 1921 members of the Commission on Economy, while unpacking the boxes returned from the evacuation, came to the decision to sell a part of the museum draperies sewn by the School pupils. They were considered to lack artistic and historical value . At the end of 1922 the money, earned by selling portieres, was paid by the Commission for some minor repair . 26 These occasional spontaneous acts could not, however, prevent the catastrophe. The future of the Museum was being discussed the whole year. At last by the end of 1923 it was decided that the former Museum of the Central School of Industrial Arts should be supervised by the Petrograd Department for Institutions of Science and Art, and the museum collection should be conveyed to the Hermitage . The transfer order of 1923 reads: "The museum retains its former disposition and name and develops according to its former programme" .


Despite of all the needs and administrative and economic difficulties the Museum continued the restoration works. December, 16th, 1923, the opening day of the former Stieglitz Museum was a long-awaited festivity for the museum workers. Once a week the heavy cast doors of the museum were opened for several hours for the excursions. By November, 1924, the museum workers arranged the first, since the October revolt, exhibition "Applied Arts of the Far East" which united the exhibits previously scattered about different collections . The exhibition displayed in the Grand Hall struck the visitors with the range of materials involved, the diversity and richness of the displayed articles, as well as by their individuality. The exhibition became a significant event in the life of the city. Inspired by the success the museum workers commenced the well-planned activities for the development of the permanent exposition. Unfortunately, the short period of stability in the museum life had passed away too fast. In spring 1926 the exhibition activity was interrupted and the question arose of liquidating the "First Hermitage Branch" (The Stieglitz museum was renamed in 1925). Now it is hardly possible to ascertain, why the city authorities decided to remove the Hermitage from the building in Solyanoj lane and "to find expedient use" for the building itself. On the 3rd of June, 1926, the resolution of the Central Administration for Protection Institutions of Science, Art and Nature was published. It gave order to vacate the premises of the Hermitage in the Solyanoj lane and to turn the building over to the Agricultural museum . Only the interference of the People's Commissar for Education A.V.Lunacharsky stopped zealous officials, but not for long . After a year in July, 1927, another resolution of the Soviet of People's Commissars was issued, this time assigning to liquidate the First Hermitage Branch .

 

In spite of that the museum still continued its activities, as if trying to demonstrate it right for existence. On the 17th of April, 1927 the exhibition of West-European espaliers, furniture, wood-carving, gobelin tapestries, fabrics and embroideries was opened . . . Westfalen, a graduate of the School and a museum employee, wrote: "The exhibition is intended not only for specialists, craftsmen and artists, but for ordinary visitors as well. Its aim is to give them a complete and clear picture of the three crafts, to show their technological and artistic peculiarities and to emphasize the achievements in this sphere gained during many centuries of their existence, to give the notion of the materials used and show, what can be made of them. All these factors made the exhibition extraordinarily interesting and quite appropriate for the working people and for the general cultural education and enlightenment" .


Behind this seemingly quiet course of events in the museum life, there was, however, an uncompromising struggle, the struggle of ambitions. In December 1928 E. K. Kwerfeldt sent a note to the Hermitage director in defence of the Stieglitz museum as it was originally conceived: "To answer your question, whether it is desirable to transfer the exhibits from the First Branch of the State Hermitage to the main premises, I must flatly respond, that it is imperative to leave the collection in its present place... The interiors of the halls, which can be called sumptuous sustain different styles, which greatly facilitate the task: to make the exposition complete and to gain deep insight into definite cultures. Besides, the exhibits are inseparable from the architectural interior composition... Dismantling the stone portals and the fireplace of the Renaissance age, that are built into the walls, and the 18th century "Mirror Room" and the largest collection of Russian tiled stoves will entail great complications and require substantial repair to the abandoned premises" . E. K. Kwerfeldt desperately tried to convince the Hermitage director: "The Stieglitz museum is a fine and extremely necessary supplement to the departments of applied arts existing in the State Hermitage. All these rich and extraordinarily rare exhibits of the Hermitage Branch should be preserved in their entirety at all costs. "


S. N. Trojnitsky, the Head of the Hermitage Department of applied Arts, expressed absolutely contrary opinion. In his note on December 20, 1928, he wrote: "The Stieglitz Museum, as such, and as a Hermitage branch had ceased to exist long ago. We just have the area from the Hermitage, where definite categories of applied art artifacts are displayed solely because the main premises have not adequate space for them. The question of transferring collections from the former Stieglitz museum is an extremely complicated and demanding responsibility; but nevertheless, it should be decided for the sake of the future systematic work of Hermitage, in general, and its department of applied art in particular" . In this situation the decision of liquidating the Stieglitz Museum ("the First Hermitage Branch" as it was then called) was unanimously denounced by the Museum workers. At the end of 1924 the participants of the scientific conference held in the Hermitage declared that to terminate such a museum and to neglect its collection would be equal to a "really stupid bungling" which must not be allowed . However, it was already impossible to stop the process of disintegrating the 'museum collections. It was actually in full swing and the Museum exhibits were carried away to the Hermitage: espaliers from the Flemish and the School Board Hall, tapestries form the Louis XIV Hall, D.-B.Tiepolo's pictures from the Venetian Hall, the 13th century stained glass panel "Moses with tables" from the Gothic Hall and the unique 16th century fireplace from Henry II Hall. Collections of furniture and porcelain, embroidery and ivory, collection of watches and arms everything was taken away. The major part of the Stieglitz museum collection, which in its entirety had a didactic character, was shared between different museums. In 1926-1927 sculptures, gypsum moulds, paintings and other didactic materials were transferred to the Academy of Arts Museum. Pictures and miniatures were passed to the Russian Museum, collection of butterflies and herbariums -to the Zoological Museum. Some articles became the property of the Orekhovo-Zuevo Museum or the Museum of the istory of Music, the Museum of the Revolution, the Armenian State Museum, the Kharkov Art Museum and other museum organizations. 289 items were conveyed to the State Museum Fund and some were turned over to the all-Clnion Export Society "Antiquariat". That was how the unique collection ceased to exist; the collection carefully compiled and preserved, and which had been gathered during 50 years span of time by two generations whose only goal was to serve for the development of the Russian school of industrial arts.

 

The building of the "Stieglitz museum became the desired "territory", a tidbit for many organizations and departments. In 1930-s it gave accommodation to the School of Industrial Handicrafts, then, it was decided to house the International Exhibition of Scientific Devices there, then it was offered to the "Antiquariat" Society. The Society's administration was ready to reconstruct the Museum interiors, but then the Hermitage came forward in its defence: "The halls of the former Stieglitz museum... represent in most cases the exact copies of the most significant halls of the famous European palaces of different ages and countries, or they are supplied with some elements of their interiors: paintings, fretwork, peculiar structure of the ceilings etc.

 

The destruction of the finishing is inadmissible, because these duplications of the artistic monuments of the West can be successfully used, both as for the interiors exposition and as independent exhibits used for educational purposes... "Antiquariat" gave in, but in the middle of 1930-s another owner appeared: the State Museum of City Building and Municipal Economy or the Museum of the City, as it was called, which since 1940 was transferred to the N. P. Rumyantsev's house on the Krasny Hot (Red Fleet) Embankment. The Hermitage administration could never make a rational use of the building, although, by 1940 it had become the only owner of it; and, as it was supposed by E. K. Kwerfeldt, the Hermitage administration failed to remove the rest of the collection from the 'museum before the Great Patriotic War started. It is known, however, that since the spring of 1942 the Hermitage workers and scientists N. M. Sharaya, Z. A. Bernyakovich, . . Mikhailova, A. P. Sultanshakh, V. M. Rukovishnikova, T. D. Fomicheva carried the collection away in their own hands - more than two thousand items: malachite articles, Russian and foi-eign porcelain and the collection of bronze watches .


In the city, tormented by the war and starvation, there were people still thinking about the future: when the masters of restoration would be needed to revive the beautiful city from the ruins and to cure its terrible wounds. As soon as the blockade was broken in the winter 1943 the decision was taken to open a school for the architectural restoration of the buildings. It would train restorers in different specializations: including marble work, fret work, inlaid work, modellers, cabinet-makers, chasers and painters. The school was founded in the building of the former Baron Stieglitz Central School of Industrial Arts, and in a year, in November, 1944, the building of the museum was attached to it. I. A.Vaks, an architect, the first director of the School and one of its organizers, recalled those hard days of the war: "Some 1517 year old boys and girls were chosen out of those who had been carried away from Leningrad to the mainland. There were no masters, no teachers; some of them left the city, the others perished. We were looking for those, who were still alive as if we were in search of unique precious stones. We found two masters of marble work -P. Smirnov and D. A. Sirishin, who brought their experience and enthusiasm along with tools, which they had managed to keep safe. It was inconceivable to find or buy any tools in the sieged city. The cabinetmaker A. A. Smirnov brought joiner's tools. Among those who came to teach the children there was the modeller, M. F. Sakharovsky and the chaser S. I. Kutuzov..."


The wind was blowing snow-drifts in the formerly luxurious Museum halls. Everywhere was the small of dampness and a feeling of disorder, as it had been in 1918. During the first war years two shells and a bomb hit the museum building and brought great damage to it. In the inventory of December 31st, 1945, signed by academician I. A. Orbeli and the Chief Hermitage architect A. V. Sivkov, the enumeration of damaged roofings, floors, arches, doors, marble staircases and banisters, murals and models, mosaics, fretwork and gliding took several pages. Many halls and galleries were cluttered with decayed things, left by the Museum of City, damaged exhibits from the Agricultural Museum or with broken sculptures and equipment. For months the school pupils were carrying out rubbish, plaster, broken glass, pieces of moulding and of mural paintings.
On the 5th of February, 1945 the Soviet of People's Commissars adopted the resolution No.256 on the restoration of the Leningrad School of Industrial Arts. Later in 1949 it became a higher educational establishment. Eight years later in 1953 the School was renamed after the sculptor V. I. Mukhina, the People's Artist of the USSR and full member of the USSR Academy of Arts.
In August, 1946, repairs and reconstruction of the building started and continued until the 1950-s. Alongside the capital repair, the School and the Museum administration faced the problem of restoration of decorative interiors of the halls.

 

The commission of experts, founded by the Leningrad municipality to solve the problems of restoration consisted of the representatives of the State Inspection for Protection of Monuments, the Hermitage, the Russian Museum and Mthe School. The commission came to the following conclusion: "Both the general architecture of the building and its interior decoration are designed in the manner of "Italian-German Renaissance". Alongside the high quality of the construction technique and finishing it is characterized by the absolute absence of taste and decadence". As a result it was decided to leave severely damaged decorative mural paintings without restoration, to blott out the remains of the decor, to make wall plains impersonificated and to make only ordinary repair.


Restoration and reconstruction work began in June, 1947. The pupils of the School took part in it during their summer practical training. Half a century ago the students of the Baron Stieglitz School of Industrial Arts, together with their teachers, decorated the building under construction. Students of the post-war period revived it for the new life. Future sculptors restored the marble steps of the Entrance Hall and the banister of the Grand Exhibition Hall. They cleaned the stucco moulding, restored the fretwork and items to the Museum. In 1947 the Russian Museum bestowed 3200 patterns of cotton cloth, produced in 1920s 30s. At present this collection of fabrics, with propaganda topical and abstract pictures on them, is of great value, both for the researchers and for the contemporary textile designers. Some furniture was received by the Museum from the State Inspection for Protection of Monuments. All in all, by the end of 1947, 6536 exhibits entered the Museum. They were in an extremely poor condition some with partial losses, some broken, etc. and requiring serious restoration. The working site for the repairs (it could hardly be called "restoration") was the Museum itself; and it was done by the museum workers and pupils. Relying only on their own force they restored the items, which were found in the Hermitage and partially returned to the Museum: stands, show-cases, and window cases.


The exhibits from the Hermitage, the Academy of Arts and the Russian Museum were eventually forthcoming. As a result, by early 1950-s the Museum possessed a voluminous and diverse collection of silk and brocade fabrics, dating back, to the 18th, the beginning of the 20th century, women's clothing, adornments and head dressers. Well-preserved, these exhibits reproduced in-full the costumes worn by a wide range of city residents and wealthy peasantry of the first half of the 19th century. This collection was enriched by the Russian ethnographic 19th century dolls, transferred from the Russian Museum in 1949. 106 dolls, dressed in festive costumes of different Russian provinces, were produced in Sergiev Posad by women, having a good hand at this craft and working at home: P. I. Vikhlyaeva, A. N. Vnukova, M. P. Rodorova and others. Dresses for dolls were made according to the models of the Ethnography department of the Moscow Rumyantsev Museum. The dolls' biscuit heads were produced by the first Russian doll factory of a J. Rschergut and A. Shreier.


In 1955, the Museum of History of "Religion and Atheism sent the collection of sacerdotal robes of the Russian Orthodox and Catholic Church hierarchies. It permitted the Museum to exhibit specimens of Russian velvet, adorned silk cloth and brocade, dating back to the middle of the 19th the beginning of the 20th century. They had unique quality and style.


In 1952, A. V. Schusev State Scientific Research Museum of Architecture conveyed ornamented silk jacquard fabrics, produced at the end of 1940-s in the Experimental workshops of the Palace of Soviets and at Moscow factories. Ceremonial and monumental, they were produced according to the designs of such artists, as Nazarevskaya, Postyanoj, Gurovich, Proshina. They were typical for the art of 1930-1940-s, which rendered the enthusiasm and inspiration of the founders of the new society. Some of the fabrics were topical, devoted to the revolution, the Civil War and explorations in the Arctic.
In July 1952, the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed the resolution No.3329. It ordered to unite the Leningrad Higher School of Industrial Arts with the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts. This event became of great importance for the school museum. The diverse collection of the Moscow Institute Museum was formed in 1940-s out of the exhibits, formerly belonging to the Museum of Modern Western Arts, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Armoury, the Oriental Arts Museum, the Historic Museum, the A. V. Schusev Museum of Architecture. These Moscow gatherings added greatly to the stock of the Leningrad School Museum.

 

Porcelain, produced at the Russian factories, owned by F. Gardner, A. Ponov, F. Batenin, A. Miklashevsky, the Tere-khovs, the Kiselevs was sent by the Moscow Institute of Applied Arts. The collection was small but it gave a clear understanding of democratic traditions in the production of 19th century factories guided by the tastes of the nobility and the merchantry.
Separate decorative vases of late 18th - early 20th century, which are in the Museum collection now, represent Imperial porcelain manufacture. They were conveyed to the Museum by the Hermitage in 1948. A collection of China entered the museum from the Hermitage the same year and from the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts in 1952. Its production technique and the artistic design varied greatly. Vases, dishes, all kinds of vessels with the glaze-like blue ornament, widely used in China in the reign of Emperor K'ang-hi (16621722) are of particular interest. A small group in the Museum's porcelain collection consists of the articles, ornamented with coloured enamels on the unglazed crocks, and of the "blue powder" porcelain.

 

The collection of West-European porcelain is now represented by decorative pieces of plastic arts, domestic utensils, produced at the largest manufactures of Europe: Meissen, Berlin, Vienna, Sevres and at some small workshops in Kloster-Feldsdorf, Gotha, Volkstedt, Hoehst. The core of the collection of English ceramics and porcelain are the articles, made of exquisite and superb materials, by the English firm "Wedgewood" on the verge of the 19th century.

The collection of decorative metalware is basically formed out of the things returned by the Hermitage at the end of 1940s and out of the articles sent by the Moscow Institute of Applied Arts, formerly belonging to the Stroganov Art School in Moscow. Some West-European metalware door and chest locks, keys and furniture hasps originated from the famous Richard collection. This section now also includes ancient fitter's tools and measuring instruments.
Suspended brass ink-pots, diverse in their form and decoration are interesting examples of the Russian 1718th centuries applied art. Galvanic copies of the unique works of art, exhibited in the famous West-European museums returned by the Hermitage in 1948 are of particular historic and artistic value. A small collection of glassware, made of 309 articles, contains specimens of the antique glass, dating back to the 1st century A.D. They were a beautiful production of the State plants in Petersburg and of the merchants Maltsev's plant.


In 1960 the Museum researcher Ch.A.Kuzenko attributed and systematized the unique collection of the Russian tiled stoves, dating back to the period from the 18th century until the first half of the 19th century, and also the 17-20th century fragments and separate tile pieces. This collection, distinctive in its composition and artistic level, originates from 1887, when the Stieglitz museum bought its first stove form Nizhny Novgorod merchant Pryadilova. In 1930 some stoves from this collection were transferred to Moscow, some fragments - to the Russian Museum in St.-Peters-burg. At present, there are fifteen of them at the Museum. Some 1770-s stoves, monumental and complex in their structure which were constructed in several tiers, entered the Museum in 1912 from the ancient Russian town Toropetz.
Their artistic design is a clear evidence of one of the most typical features of the folk art of that period, namely, the affection for excessive decoration. The stove, acquired in 1912 from I .V. Godvinsky, who lived in Toropetz, is finished with beautiful tiles. On one them there is a picture of a monk sitting at the table with the rosary in his hands. An open scrall with the signature "May, 1770. Work by Trubitsen" can be seen on the table. Some other different tiles signed by Afanasij Trubitsen are preserved in the stock of the Historical Museum.


The collection of stoves also includes a 1770-s stove from the merchants Meschaninovs' house in Kolomna. The stove was undoubtedly made by some talented masters from Kaluga. Aside this stove, only two other stoves of this kind have survived. One of them is in the Museum of Regional Lore in Kaluga, another one is in the 17th century boyar Volkov's chamber in Moscow, which later became the Yusupov's Palace.
White tiled stoves designed in the style of classicism and Empire made a sumptuous supplement to the Russian interior design on the verge of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their central part is designed as an allegoric composition with one or mullti - figured relief's, adorned by borders of ornamental classical design. Four stoves of this period give completeness to the museum collection.
The museum collection of furniture is compiled of the exhibits conveyed in 1946 1948 by the Hermitage, the State Inspection for Protection of Monuments, by the Russian Museum and by the Moscow Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts. It includes some specimen of 15th century Gothic German furniture, carved walnut chairs - 16th century "scabello", some 17-18th century German chairs, 17th century Danzing and Hamburg cupboards and wardrobes and 17th century Spanish chairs, upholstered with well-processed stamped leather.

 

The furniture collection contains superb copies of some unique pieces. For instance, a copy of the cylindrical Louis XVI bureau made in 1769 by the court cabinet-maker J. A. Risinier with the bronze decor made by P. Goutier, a copy of the drawer for a collection of minerals which was ordered by Prince Conde to G. Haupp as his present to the Swedish King Gustaf HI.
The collection of furniture of the Historicism period, captivated by the styles of the past ages, is more completely compiled.


Thus, collections of the Museum, which revived in 1945, were basically gathered at the end of 1950s. In 1962 the museum got the copies from 3-7th century Ravenna mosaics, made in their natural size by Professor A. S. Nikolsky. Earlier, professor A. I. Taran, formerly a graduate of the Central School of Industrial Arts, donated to the museum copies of the mosaics from St.Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev. These exhibits are of immense didactic value. They are studied and copied by the students of the Department of Monumental and decorative painting.

At the and of 1960-s some dishes the copies of Iranian, Turkish and Italian 1517 centuries originals, made by the Stieglitz School pupil V. Vinokurova in 1913 and 1917, entered from the Department of Middle Asia peoples of the Ethnography Museum.
In 1970-s acquisitions were only occasional: the museum collections were mostly supplemented by the students diploma works. The best of them, made by students of the Department of Ceramics, Glassware and Fabrics, were displayed at the Osaka (Japan) exhibition Expo-70.
Since 1979 the museum building is protected by the state as a unique architectural monument and in 1980 its systematic scientific restoration was commenced. Gradually the Gala Entrance Hall, the Raphael Gallery, the Avant-Hall, the Russian Hall "Teremok", the Raphael Gallery, the Grand Rome Staircase with P. I. Dolgov's fresco "The sight of the St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome" and other interiors have acquired their authentic appearance. At that time the museum entered a new and also rather complicated period in its history, which continues until now. The modern museum of the St.-Petersburg V. I. Mukhina Higher School of Industrial Arts, which encompassed more than 30 thousand items in its collection, certainly does not even try to imitate the formerly famous Baron Stieglitz Museum. This is a new museum and its history is closely connected with the history of the new school, which was reconstructed in 1945. As it was before its creative life continues, the displays of creative works are organized, the students are trained and the lectures are delivered. After heated discussions the Museum scientists and research workers evolved and displayed in the restored halls a "draft" exposition, which is still far from its final design. It is just an endeavour to revive M. E. Mesmacher's, A. A. Polovtsov's, A. A. Karbonier's ideas: to show the historical development of the artistic styles, to create the expositions, that could fulfil the educational and enlightening purposes of the Museum.


Recently, the interest for the Museum started growing. The intensive work of the Museum arranging numerous exhibitions attracts attention of masters working in applied arts and easel painting - both in Russia and abroad: in Germany, the USA, Finland, Sweden, Italy and numerous other countries. The Museum collections were exhibited in London, Vienna, Frankfurt-on-Main, Hanoi, Paris .


At present, the Museum, being free from bureaucratical barriers, opens its doors wide for visitors and actively cooperates with the School graduates, painters, creative associations and other museums. The Museum scientists are engaged in the intensive research work. They study the collected materials and new acquisitions and are in the process of evolving a new conception for museums of applied arts as an indissoluble structure of a higher educational establishment. It is quite realistic now, that in the nearest future this largest Russian museum of applied arts will become one of the most popular museums for St.-Petersburg residents and its guests.

 
Copyright ©2008 Museum of Applied Art
School of Art and Design after A.L. Stieglitz
All rights reserved