Virtual Reality, Fabergé Eggs and Photos of Cats: 10 Russian Museums Go Online
During this enforced game of hide-and-seek with coronavirus, even watching TV shows and being a couch potato can get boring. In this case, cultural entertainment will come to the rescue. We have already told you which world museums you can visit without leaving your home. This time, Time Out examines the online program offered by quarantined museums in Russia. Virtual reality, lectures on performance, archival photos of cats and many other interesting things are waiting for you.
Hermitage in high resolution
The main Russian museum offers a full-scale virtual visit. You can start right from the turnstiles of the main entrance or from any other room you are interested in. High-quality panoramas allow you to study in detail the decor of the Winter Palace, and user-friendly navigation will make sure you don’t get lost.
To move just click on the target icons, and to read descriptions of the exhibits press the buttons labelled “i”. Among the greatest hits of the Hermitage’s collection are Madonna Litta by Leonardo Da Vinci, Return of the Prodigal Son and Danaë by Rembrandt, Madonna and Child by Raphael, Dance by Matisse and many other works of art that can be found here. In addition, when it went into lockdown, the museum launched a series of live broadcasts on social networks — the program is updated daily on its website.
Virtual Russian Museum
The Russian Museum also boasts a solid online platform. Here you can take virtual tours of all its branches. In the Mikhailovsky Palace, you will find familiar works of art that all Russians know since childhood: the Ninth Wave by Aivazovsky, the Last day of Pompeii by Bryullov or Cossacks of Saporog Are Drafting a Manifesto by Repin.
More modern art can be found in the Benoit building: from Portrait of Ida Rubenstein by Serov and Kandinsky’s abstractions to Melting clouds by Eric Bulatov. Don’t miss the opportunity to wander around the most mysterious Palace of the Romanov dynasty — the Mikhailovsky castle of Emperor Paul I. It was here that the murder of the latter ended the exciting era of palace coups d’etat. The museum’s YouTube channel also offers a series of “conversations”: from analysis of Malevich and Serebryakova’s work to a lecture on the role of women in art.
VR walks around the Pushkin Museum
The Pushkin Museum went further than any other Russian and many of its foreign counterparts and developed a virtual reality tour that is available for everyone who managed to get VR glasses before a total lockdown. The Museum offers quite a detailed instruction. If you don’t have VR glasses, you can enjoy a traditional 360 panoramic tour of the museum.
If you do not feel like wandering at all, browse selected works from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts: from Bacchanalia by Rubens to Matisse’s ceramics. Also for the quarantine period, the museum launched an online platform that integrated all its online projects. In addition to the above-mentioned virtual tours, the museum invites its visitors to join the flashmob #Skuchayupopushkinskomu (“I miss the Pushkin Museum”). Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Dmitry Gutov have already taken part in it.
Self-isolation of Garage: podcasts, texts and playlists
On March 14, Garage became one of the first Russian museums to announce its temporary closure. In the days that followed, the team of the museum prepared an online platform that contains a variety of suggestions for the time of self-isolation from all sorts of texts to podcasts and live broadcasts. Here you can read about the breathing exercises practised by Alla Pugacheva, learn how to make sculptures from toilet paper rolls (if you promise not to follow the example of the Europeans and not to buy it all), or listen to a playlist of “comfortable” music tracks from an anonymous employee of Garage locked in his kitchen.
The Tretyakov gallery from home
The Tretyakov gallery also launched a quarantine project. First of all, it is notable for online exhibition tours and lectures. At the moment, lectures about abstract expressionism and the classical avant-garde art movements are already available for viewing. Also on the museum’s website you can find exhibits sorted by period and in most cases accompanied by a clear description. The Tretyakov gallery does not offer its own virtual walking tours, but you can wander around it, as well as around many other museums, using Google Arts & Culture.
Those very eggs in the Fabergé Museum
If you miss chic and glam during your self-isolation, there is no better place than the Fabergé Museum. At the center of its extensive collection are the legendary jewellery eggs that belonged to the Romanov dynasty and privileged members of pre-revolutionary high society. There is a detailed historical description for every imperial egg on the museum’s website. Among other things, you will learn how the “Hen” made for Varvara Kelch, wife of a prominent merchant, surpassed the similar egg of the Empress Maria Feodorovna, and why the well-known egg “Lilies of the Valley” ordered by Nicholas II was criticized at the world exhibition in Paris. The museum’s Soundcloud account offers an audio guide to the collection: tracks 23 to 34 are dedicated to Fabergé eggs. Since March 24, the museum has launched a series of webinars with its guides in social networks. The schedule can be found on its website.
Free online lecture course by MMOMA
The Museum offers to check out the long-term project “The Contemporaries”, which is a series of video interviews of art critic Irina Kulik with Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Andrey Bartenev, Pavel Pepperstein and many other representatives of modern art. You can study the selected works from the MMOMA collection here.
MAMM project: history of Russia in photos
Multimedia Art Museum has recently opened a series of exhibitions within the framework of Photobiennale 2020. During the lockdown week due to coronavirus outbreak, the museum offers online tours of these exhibitions, the schedule of which is updated on the website. In addition, we recommend you to study the MAMM project “History of Russia in Photos”, which includes photo collections from more than 200 museums. Here you will find more than 150,000 historical and fine art photographs from the 1840s to 1999. The website presents the photo collection in the form of a timeline and offers selections of photos on a variety of topics. You can look at lost architectural monuments, study the history of fashion of the past centuries, or enjoy hundreds of pictures of cats.
Back to the past in Peterhof
“I close my eyes and see blood of the bondslaves spurting out of every fountain,” such sad thoughts occurred to a visitor to Peterhof in 1936. “Slippers! What a tasteless and inconvenient thing,” another one complained in 1964. “Many thanks to our dear Party for caring about us,” this thought inexplicably came into the mind of some tourist when looking at the royal luxury. Such visitors’ reviews and other curious historical evidence can be found in the multimedia historical project of Peterhof.
The museum has digitized various artifacts accumulated over more than 100 years of its operation: from photographs to manuals for museum employees. You will learn that in the 1920s children were not allowed to enter the Grand Palace for some reason, and in the 1960s museum guides told how the tsars planted cabbages and milked goats. You can take a walk in the park and visit palaces of the Peterhof complex here.
Online cinema at Yeltsin Center
Like Garage, Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg was one of the first cultural venues to voluntarily suspend operations due to the spread of coronavirus. Now the museum offers online lectures on urgent topics in the current context: the meaning of freedom, stress and anxiety. Yeltsin Center also organizes a series of online screenings of films that have participated in the “Artdokfest” festival over the years. You can find the current events guide here.