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Russian contemporary art

Russian art and artistic life are mainly known for the imperial architecture, the classic music and literature and the Soviet modern art. More, Russia is often seen as a country where contemporary culture doesn’t exist. It couldn’t be more wrong. Indeed the Russian contemporary artistic life is rich, diversified and of high quality! However it’s true that Russian contemporary is most of the time a bit hidden. Why? First because it rarely (and very sadly) goes out of the country due to a clichés and low interest from foreigners (bad). Second because Russian contemporary art isn’t about gigantism or pop art (yes I despised Jeff Koons). But missing Russian contemporary art is missing what Russia really is nowadays and it’s staying on the surface of a buzzing society.

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Of course, to better know the Russian contemporary art, you can go in well-known museums and galleries. Among them, the best are the Garage Museum and Winzavod gallery in Moscow, and the Erarta Museum of St Petersburg!

Starting with the Erarta Museum in St Petersburg, because this one is my favorite (and trust me I know about art). The Erarta Museum is the most important museum of contemporary art in Russia despite being opened in 2010. It displays more than 2300 objects d’art. But to me the most important is its philosophy. Indeed, the philosophy of the Museum is to combine the elements of the participation of the visitor with the preference given to talented artists over popular artists. Finally a museum of contemporary art that gives the way to talent over popularity!

Musée Erarta © Saint-Pétersbourg - Musée art contemporain Erarta (4)

In Moscow the two museums that deal with contemporary art are the Garage Museum and the Winzavod gallery. The first one is a well-known and good quality museum in the heart of Gorky Park. It’s rather small but often has good exhibitions. Even if, to be honest, you need to be careful when choosing as some of them are more modern art than contemporary and so a bit… different.

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The Winzavod gallery is different (and free). It exhibits contemporary art project in a big industrial building. You’ll therefore meet young artists, often a bit underground and discover many styles and personalities!

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But if you want to discover the Russian contemporary art, the best remains to explore, walk by the streets, go to gallery openings and find the doors to the underground. Good luck!

 

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Top 5: Amazing Russian Instagram accounts

Russia is a wide and amazing country full of diversified and outstanding landscapes. However traveling through the whole Federation can be costly and kind of time consuming. For the greatest pleasure of all, Russian photographers are travelling and posting on Instagram marvelous pics. Adding tips, recommendations, they make us travel with them and give us ideas for our next vacations. That’s why I made a short list of my favourites (of course Tsar Visit’s Instagram account is the best, but it wouldn’t be fair to add it here).

 

  • Elena Krizhevskaya

Based in Moscow and taking pics of the Russian Capital, Elena Krizhevskaya is an amazing photographer! Even if I live in Moscow, I always enjoy her posts outstanding pics. I don’t know about you, but it’s my daily shot of muscovite beauty. On the plus side, Elena always gives informations on the places she photographed. You definitely need to follow her!

Her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenakrizhevskaya/?hl=en

Her website: https://moscow-photos.ru/

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  • Alex Mazurov

Alex Mazurov travels Russia and bring with him stunning pics of Russian landscapes and wildlife. Light colors with a recurring dark blue, these pics are my favourites. Alex’s Instagram account is another insight on Russia and its amazing landscapes. Alex Mazurov shows the beauty of Russia, of a natural and preserved Russia. His pics makes you travel instantly!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.mazurov/?hl=en

His website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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  • Andrey Belavin

Another Moscow-based photographer. But Andrey Belavin’s Instagram account mixes perfectly the beauty of the Russian capital city with natural landscapes. Andrey gives to its followers a great view on what is the current Russia. From cities to remote natural areas, from mountains to seasides, Andrey Belavin pictures Russia in all its diversity and wonderfulness!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ted.ns/?hl=en

His website: https://www.filterhero.ru/tedns

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  • Piter Life Style

If Piter Life Style reached about 532k followers on Instagram, it’s definitely thanks to its stunning pics. Focused on the Venise of the North, Piter Life Style gives us informations, tips and advices on the most beautiful corners of St Petersburg. This account is amazing! However don’t look at it too much if you’re not living in St Petersburg…or you would travel there almost every week!

Its Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piter.life.style/?hl=en

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  • Russian Explorers

Russian Explorers is a team of amazing, smart and skilled photographers (and among them Alex Mazurov). All of them with a peculiar style or focus, they make us travel through Russia thanks to wonderful shots. Follow this account and embrace what can be considered as one of the most beautiful Instagram account on Russia!

Their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russianexplorers/?hl=en

Their website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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Top 10: Russian Museums

Russian cities, and especially Moscow and St-Petersburg, are full of museums. Some are big, some are small. Some are old, some are new. Some are interesting and some a bit less. How to choose when you’re in a hurry? Feeling a bit lost? Need some tips and advices? Call now and get a… jk, just follow this amazing top and book a guided tour with Tsar Visit!

 

What?

The Largest museum of the world in a building classified by Unesco. A museum that will bring you back under the imperial Russia and amaze you by the splendors of the masterpieces it exhibits.

 

Why?

Well… Shall I really need to explain? The Hermitage is in itself a definition of beauty, magnificence and beauty. A definite must-do for everyone traveling or living in Russia. It doesn’t need any other words.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30-17.00

Wednesday & Friday: 10.30-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student: Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Ermitage (9)

 

 

What?

One of the most important and famous museum of Russia. A gallery that exhibits Russian and European masterpieces from the previous centuries. The Tretyakov Gallery is especially famous for its rich and stunning collection of icons from the 11th century.

 

Why?

Thanks to the Tretyakov Gallery, you will dive in the Russian past and culture. Through its masterpieces you will travel in time and see the artistic, social and political evolutions known by the Russian population. A very must-do is its unique and marvelous collection of icons.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday: 10.00-17.00

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10.00-21.00

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB  (8 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student (if Russian): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Galerie Tretiakov (2)

 

 

What?

Heart of Moscow, Russian and of the Russian Federation Presidential administration, the Kremlin is a historic and powerful fortress. But it also hosts the Armoury Chamber and cathedrals that trace the evolutions of Russia since the 11th century.  

 

Why?

Because the Kremlin. Is there anything else to say?

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 9.30-16.30

Thursday: Closed

 

How much?

Full price: 1,800 RUB (29 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Vue aérienne (12)-ciel bleu

 

 

  • The State Russian Museum (St Petersburg)

What?

As its name let it guess, the State Russian Museum is an important museum exclusively dedicated to Russian art and artists. It offers to the public more than 38,000 works of art and 6,000 icons celebrated from the 10th century to today.

 

Why?

By visiting the State Russian Museum, you will dive in history and discover the evolutions of Russian art of the past 11th centuries. On the plus side, the museum is hosted by the stunning residence of the Grand Duke Michael.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-17.30

Tuesday: Closed

Thursday: 13.00-21.00

 

How much?

Full price: 600 RUB  (10 USD)

Student: 300 RUB (5 USD)

Children: Free

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Musée Russe (2)

 

 

What?

The Pushkin Museum is one of the most famous museum in Russia. It is a museum rich in Russian, European, and ancient paintings and objets d’art from both antique and contemporary collections. Moreover it also hosts the marvelous impressionist gallery.

 

Why?

To my very personal (and valuable) opinion, the Pushkin Museum worth a tour for its stunning impressionist gallery and its temporary exhibitions. If the main building is of low interest, the temporary exhibition are always of a very good quality, and the impressionist gallery is absolutely stunning.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 11.00-19.00

Thursday, Friday: 11.00-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 750 RUB  (12 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

Student: 400 RUB (6 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

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  • Erarta (St Petersburg)

What?

The Erarta museum is to my opinion one of (if not the) best museum of contemporary arts in Russia. It opened in 2010 but already exhibits more than 2300 objects d’art with the aim of promoting contemporary Russian art.   

 

Why?

The museum displays artists according to their talent and not their popularity, and put the spotlight on the visitor, which make a visit to the Erarta Museum indispensable for every art lover. If not, at least you will be able to show off in front of your friends!

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-22.00

Tuesday: closed

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB  (8 USD)

Children (under 2yo): Free

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  • Garage (Moscow)

What?

A museum of modern and contemporary art located in the heart of the splendorous and famous Gorky Park. The Garage is a well-known place for modern art in Moscow and often has interesting temporary exhibitions.

 

Why?

For its location and always interesting exhibitions.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 11.00-21.30

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB (8 USD)

Student: 250 RUB  (4 USD)

Children (11-17yo): 150 RUB (2 USD)

Children (under 10): Free

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  • The Fabergé Museum (St Petersburg)

What?

The Fabergé Museum is a small and very new museum (but already among the most visited) in the heart of St Petersburg. It offers to the public the main pieces of the famous jeweller Fabergé. Among these collections the most precious is the the Easter eggs collections. Absolutely stunning.  

 

Why?

One of my favorite museum in Russia. Not the biggest, not the most famous but a small museum exhibiting precious artefacts from the late Russian Empire. A true testimony of the Russian craft and the Romanov intimacy.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 8.30-21.15

 

How much?

Full price: 450 RUB  (7 USD)

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  • The Bunker 42 of Taganka (Moscow)

What?

The most secured and secret bunker of Moscow. Aiming at protecting the Soviet political and military leadership in case of nuclear attack, this bunker is a labyrinth where were working about 2,000 people during the Cold War. It is now a museum offering different thematic tours.  

 

Why?

Visit it and you’ll for sure dive in the tensest times of the Cold War!

 

When?

Everyday: 10.00-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 2200 RUB (35 USD)

Student: 1300 RUB (21 USD)

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  • The Museum of Cosmonautics (Moscow)

What?

A must-see for those who want to know everything about space adventure, The Museum of Cosmonautics traces the history of astronautics from the 1920’s to the present day. Located at the entrance of the VDNKh Exhibition Park, it is impressive for its architecture and especially for the diversity and richness of its collections.

 

Why?

You will not only understand the reasons of the Soviet domination of space, but you will also discover the role and current involvement of the Russian Federation in space.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-18.30

Thursday: 10.00-20.30

 

How much?

Full price: 250 RUB (4 USD)

Children (under 7yo): Free

Dreamstime © Moscou - Musée des Cosmonautes (8)

 

 

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Top 8: Artists’ houses

Many Russian artists, from writers to dancers, are world-famous. Who never heard of Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Pushkin? These artists inspired the world and continue nowadays to have a significant impact on our culture. But all of them have also been crucial witnesses of their centuries and of Russia. As most of them were famous while still living, their houses have been preserved by the Russian and later Soviet State. That’s why visiting artists’ houses and apartments in Moscow and St-Petersburg isn’t only about walking where they walked, but is above all diving in specific atmospheres from the past.  

 

  • Tolstoy House-Museum (Moscow)

My favorite is definitely Tolstoy’s house in the city center of Moscow. Not only because Tolstoy is my favorite Russian author, and that I’m dying for his Anna Karenine, but because his house is amazing. Tolstoy’s house is a wooden one that have been protected by the State right after Tolstoy’s death. As a result the house hasn’t been damaged. Enter it, and you instantly dive into the life of the Russian intelligentsia from the late Russian Empire. Amazing and definitely a must do!

Maison-Musée Tolstoï @ Moscou - Maison-Musée Tolstoï (6)

 

  • Dostoievsky House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Other super famous Russian author, Dostoievsky’s apartment in St Petersburg has also been quite well preserved. However, contrary to Tolstoy’s house, Dostoievsky’s apartment became a museum only 1971 due to the Soviet leadership’s unstable view attitude towards the author. Nevertheless the apartment kept the peculiar atmosphere of its time and above all of the vibrant soul that lived in its walls.  

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  • Pushkin House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Probably the most loved and cherished author in Russia, Pushkin died in St Petersburg after a famous (and still painful for most Russians) duel. The apartment in which he lived his last years and died became a memorial treasured by all. As a result the atmosphere remains penetrating. Visiting it also means learning a lot on Pushkin’s life and work so go for it!

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  • Gogol House-Museum (Moscow)

This house being Gogol’s last residence, has been recognised as it only in 2005. Nevertheless the building, both on the outside and inside, is stunning and worth the visit. Enter it and you will travel back in time to discover the living standards of the Muscovite upper classes before the Soviet Union…you may also find some decoration tips for your own house? (I hope not, but who knows?)

Tsar Voyages © - Moscou - Maison-musée Gogol

 

  • Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)

If Bulgakov is not the most loved author in Russia, he is not far from it. More, his book The Master and Margarita, is by far the most appreciated and famous book in Russia. That is why Bulgakov’s apartment in Moscow city center is always crowded. This very tiny apartment recall the life of the author but before all smartly mix Bulgakov and Margarita’s lives. Indeed the apartment described in the book is basically Bulgakov’s one. So if you really want to appreciate the tour, read The Master and Margarita before!

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  • Gorky House-Museum (Moscow)

Nowadays, Gorky is a name associated to Moscow’s favored park. But before being a park, Gorky was a Soviet writer. After the revolution, the Soviet leadership seized Ryabushinsky house built in the early 20th century by Fyodor Shekhtel, and Gorky lived in it. To be honest the most important thing about this house isn’t the fact that Gorky lived in it (sorry not sorry). The house worth the visit because it is a mesmerizing and absolutely unusual house, a true eccentric symbol of the Modern Style. Words are not enough to describe it and all the beautifully strange things in it, so just go and open your eyes…but be ready!

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  • Galina Ulanova House-Museum (Moscow)

The Soviet time also knew some prominent and world famous artists and it would be foolish to think the opposite. One of them is Galina Ulanova. A world famous ballet dancer considered by many as the greatest ballerina of the previous century. Born in St Petersburg, and despite being dancing around the world, she mainly lived in Moscow where her apartment has been preserved since her death in 1998. Tiny apartment of a women with skills, ambition and temper, it definitely needs to be visited. You will be transported to the Soviet times and into Galina’s intimacy.

Tips: some secret letters are displayed on Galina’s desk. You should ready them…

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  • Nabokov House-Museum (St Petersburg)

This house saw the birth of the world-famous writer Nabokov in 1899. Nabokov’s family flew from Russia in 1917. As a result of the Bolshevik seizing of power, Nabokov aristocratic roots, and of course because the writer wasn’t famous at that time, the family house of St Petersburg has not been protected by the Soviet Union. It became a museum in 1998 with very few objects and furnitures. But by the years, Nabokov house-museum became more than a significant museum dedicated to the Russian-American writer. Nowadays it has great collection of books and artefacts, and worth a visit!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!