The first art museum opened in the Russian Empire during the times of Catherine II. From the beginning the Imperial Academy of Arts became famous not only for its original replicas, but also for the talent of its artworks. The best graduates carried out the assigned tasks by the Council of Teachers, who paid for a trip abroad, where they created copies of any recognized artwork. Visitors can see the creation of Academy graduates, ancient sculptures, murals painted by Raphael for the Vatican, as well as works by painters who were directed by the students of the institution.
The Imperial Academy of the Arts emerged during the Enlightenment, which flourished under the mandate of Catherine II, as the creation of great institutions of education and culture: the Hermitage, the St. Petersburg Public Library, the Smolny Institute for Nobles Maidens and others. The Academy was founded in 1757, and was developed by the architect AF Kokorinov, who was the favorite famous of the Empress I. I. Shuvalov. In that same year, the school appeared in the museum.
Students receive education in this place, which is divided into three areas: architecture, sculpture and painting. The study was based on a copy of the outstanding examples that the museum replaces “doubles” brilliantly executed by Raphael, Guido Reni, Frans Snyders and other teachers.
The first exhibitions were paintings donated by Shuvalov. From his collection, 101 works were donated, such as the paintings and statues of the museum that later other nobles gave to Catherine II, as well as its successor. but only one painting by Andrea Celesti “The innocents’ slaughter” survived.
¿What can you see?
It should be noted that the construction of the museum itself is a three-storey mansion built for the Imperial Academy of Arts 250 years ago on the embankment of Vasilyevsky Island, which embodies the main features of early classicism.
The finishing of the Rooms of Raphael and Titian were carried out in the 19th century by the famous architect KA Ton, the author of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
The 1st floor is made by the sculptors’ creations. The collection of molds of masterpieces created in ancient Greece and Rome, is unique in both scale and artistic value: some of the exhibitions were made in the 18th century.
The sculptures of lions, which can be found in the streets of St. Petersburg, are copied from the works by the students of the Academy, from the creation of the ancient masters.
On the 2nd floor, there are photos of Anzheliki Kaufman, presented by Catherine II, the work of the Russian school from Ivanov to Bryullov, the educational work of Repin Kustódiev, Roerich and others. It is a vast collection that occupies 8 rooms.
There is a collection of models of famous buildings of St. Petersburg on the third floor of the museum, over 500 drawings, watercolors and designs that form an extensive exhibition of materials in Russian and European architecture from antiquity to the 21st century.