On November 19, 2013, the official opening ceremony of the first in Russia non-state Faberge Museum took place in the Shuvalov Palace in St. Petersburg. Since December, groups have been received here by appointment, they give free tours for veterans, disabled people and those who survived the blockade of Leningrad.
In March, the doors will open for everyone.
Genius of the place and time
“Usually we do not answer the question about the price of the collection, but everyone knows that it costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, our meeting is insured, protected by all the rules, and everything necessary has been done to protect it. The collection is absolutely unique, its value is expressed not only in money, ”said Vladimir Voronchenko, Chairman of the Board of the“ Link of Times ”cultural and historical foundation, which is the founder of the Faberge Museum and the owner of the collection. The key exhibits were nine Imperial Easter eggs, created for the last two Russian emperors, Alexander III and Nicholas II.
Epochal for the house of Faberge and jewelry art in general is considered to be the first egg, which looks to be the most concise and unpretentious of all the imperial ones. He was ordered in 1884 by Alexander III for Maria Fedorovna. This was preceded by a series of events. “Gustav Faberge, Karl’s father, was the supplier of the yard, and the son became the successor of the case. For 20 years, their jewelry house (then a small workshop) carried out orders of the Imperial Cabinet. At first it was insignificant things that served as gifts, for example, rings for directors of gymnasiums. Over time, Gustav appeared Finnish jeweler Eric Collin, who became the first main master. All the Faberge jewelers were educated people, and he himself was an expert in gold and antiquity. Eric Collin created a collection called “Kerch antiquities” (collection of copies found during the excavation of Scythian gold).
Today, only a bracelet is presented in the museum, but there were other decorations in this series, it was intended for sale and was presented at the art and industrial exhibition in Moscow. It was there that Alexander III bought the thing he liked - antique-style cufflinks for Maria Fedorovna, and two years later he wanted to order an egg for his wife for Easter.
At that time, Carl Faberge turned 37 years old, his workshop, which then was much in St. Petersburg, was located in the basement.
However, having taken his father’s “small and modest” company at 26, Karl soon moved to a more spacious room, and already in 1900 - into his own house on Bolshaya Morskaya 24, ”says Irina Klimovitskaya, the museum's guide. After the first luck, orders from the emperor began to come in every year, and Faberge created for each Easter a unique masterpiece, on which dozens of craftsmen worked on for a whole year. The author of the idea of the Easter gift was Karl himself, he personally claimed the final sketch, which was developed by his draftsmen. “The kings never saw the pictures of Easter eggs and, according to the managing company Franz Birbaum, did not approve them.
It was a surprise every time, and the terms of the order implied a wish: “Surprise me properly!”
On Good Friday, the emperor was the first to receive the finished product, was invariably surprised and accepted it.
There have never been any cases of refusal, nor have there been any improvements, although on the day of delivery the master did not disagree until Karl Gustavovich returned from the emperor, they waited until late for possible remarks. Having handed over the main imperial order, Faberge always went for a month or two to Nice, to his favorite hotel “Netresco,” to rest and repair shaky nerves so that the ulcer did not develop, ”reminds Irina Klimovitskaya.
How did Faberge manage to surprise emperors with his ideas every time? What is his secret? According to Vladimir Voronchenko, the uniqueness of each piece of art is determined by something new and, as a rule, very interesting. In jewelry, this is fantasy, taste, special symbolism and, of course, quality. “There are so many brilliant exhibits in our collection that it’s difficult to single out one,” he says. Faberge differed from other masters in its special approach to business and events.
So, creating, for example, some items of mass production - things that were given to distinguished officers, Faberge thought that he was working for the front, for winning. Not everything was done by the hands of the owner of the company, but the majority was invented by them. This was his genius and the genius of his masters, when they collectively created, invented great works. ”
Among other things, the famous author possessed an amazing gift to synthesize in one work the achievements of various arts. For example, elements of architecture, sculpture, painting, graphics and all the wealth of technological and artistic techniques of jewelry art were used in Easter eggs, which made the products complete and perfect. Therefore, nine imperial Easter eggs are the jewel of the museum collection.
This is the second largest congregation in the world (only one egg is larger in the Armory.) Also presented are several eggs made by the Tsarist master for other customers, the list of which is short: the Duchess of Marlborough and the richest Russian gold miner Varvara Bazanova-Kelch. Thus, in terms of the total number of large “surprise” eggs, the collection of the Faberge Museum is the largest in the world.