Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moika Palace


Spb 06-2012 Moika various 03.jpgThe palace was first built around 1770 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe. Over the years numerous well-known architects worked on the palace, producing a variety of architectural styles. A. Mikhailov reconstructed the building during the 1830s when the Yusupovs became owners of the building. This was the period that the palace achieved its present-day appearance. From 1830 to 1917, the palace belonged to the House of Yusupov, an immensely wealthy family of Russian nobles, known for their philanthropy and art collections. Thus in the time of Imperial Russia, the palace became known as the Yusupov Palace. The luxurious interiors of the palace were not inferior to those of contemporary royal palaces. More than 40,000 works of art, including works by Rembrandt, jewelry, and sculptures decorated the palace. Following the Russian Revolution, the Yusupov art collections were nationalized and relocated in the Hermitage and other museums. Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, who was the curator of paintings at the Hermitage, had earlier painted the curtain and ceiling of the palace theatre. The palace is most famous, however, because of the actions of Prince Felix Yusupov, heir to the vast Yusupov family estates including four palaces in St. Petersburg. The palace on the Moika was the prince’s favorite residence in the capital. The exact events surrounding Rasputin's death are still in dispute. What seems clear is that on 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916, Felix Yusupov, along with Vladimir Purishkevich and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich invited Grigori Rasputin to the Moika Palace. He took Rasputin to a small but lavishly furnished cellar room of the palace. There he served Rasputin red wine. When Rasputin was affected, Yusupov retrieved a revolver and shot Rasputin from the side. Taking him for dead, Yusupov went upstairs to where the other conspirators waited in a ground floor study/drawing room. Rasputin succeeded in fleeing through a side door into a gated courtyard which opened onto the street outside. Purishkevich then shot Rasputin in the back, on the doorstep. The body was taken inside and a third bullet, fired at close range, entered his forehead. The conspirators wrapped Rasputin in a broadcloth, drove outside the city and threw the body into the Malaya Neva.

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