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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, January 28, 1936 [1]

Finance Ministry



Here, dearest Mildred, are some notes on Leningrad and Moscow.

You’ll of course buy the regular Intourist Guide,L. A. Block, J. N. Nelson, and H. C. Wilson, eds., A pocket guide to the Soviet Union: Issued by Intourist (State Tourist Company, USSR) Moscow (Moscow: Vneštorgizdat, 1932). which is very poor, but contains maps, etc., and some information—often wrong—about Museum hours.

I beg you to let me know, before you start north, whether you intend to come here before Vienna, or take Vienna first, with any further precisions as to dates that you can give me. I count on being able to see Vienna with you.

Much love,

R. T.


Leningrad. Important to get into touch with VOXVOX (or VOKS or BOKC), the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (Всесоюзное общество культурных связей с заграницей). (Intellectual relations service). Lady MurielProbably Lady Muriel Evelyn Vernon Paget (1876–1938), a British philanthropist and humanitarian relief worker, initially based in London, and later in Eastern and Central Europe. In 1915, Lady Paget went to Petrograd, where she set up an Anglo-Russian hospital for the treatment of wounded soldiers. Mildred Barnes Bliss and Lady Paget corresponded between 1917 and 1938. See Bliss Papers, HUGFP 76.8, box 33. knows them well. The head when I was there was one Orloff.Orloff (Orlov), the Saint Petersburg VOKS official. They in their turn put you in touch with Museum people, of whom the chief of course is Orbeli,Joseph Orbeli (1887–1961), a Soviet medievalist and academician of Armenian descent, specialized in the medieval history of the southern Caucasus and administered the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg between 1934 and 1951. of the Hermitage.State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. They can also arrange for you to see the MSS in the Public Library, but I don’t advise you to waste your time on them, as none are first-rate. The famous Codex PetropolitanusCodex Petropolitanus, an incomplete, illuminated Byzantine uncial gospel book, ninth century, National Library of Russia, Saint Petersburg, Gr. 34 (Gregory/Aland 041). is a poor relation, ill-preserved, of the Codex ParisinusThe Codex Parisinus graecus 510, an illuminated Byzantine manuscript of the Homilies of Gregory Nazianzus that was made in Constantinople for Emperor Basil I, ca. 879–883, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, grec 510. in the B.N.“Bibliothèque Nationale.”

In Lgd.,“Leningrad.” I’d concentrate on the Hermitage. Don’t allow your time to be wasted in the Russian Museum,The State Russian Museum, established in 1895, is the largest depository of Russian fine art in Saint Petersburg.  or anywhere else. Apart from the Hermitage, all I advise is a drive round the town, slowly, to see Peter-Paul,The Peter and Paul Fortress, the original citadel of Saint Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great (1672–1725) in 1703 and built to designs by Domenico Trezzini (ca. 1670–1734) between 1706 and 1740. Smolny,Smolny Convent or Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, a Russian Orthodox convent built to house Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, after she was disallowed succession to the throne. The cathedral, the centerpiece of the convent, was built by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1700–1771) between 1748 and 1764. the Admiralty,The Admiralty building, the former headquarters of the Admiralty Board and the Imperial Russian Navy in Saint Petersburg. The structure was rebuilt in the early nineteenth century. the TheatreMariinsky Theatre (known at the Kirov Theatre in 1936), a theater of opera and ballet designed by Alberto Cavos (1800–1863) and opened in 1860. & Theatre-street, and also Novai Golandia [sic]Nova Gollandiya (New Holland), a small island in a neighborhood of former warehouses to the west of the city center. The island was associated with shipbuilding and the nearby Admiralty building beginning in the early 1700s. and its XVIIIe Cent. warehouses, which are charming. As you have so little time, I wouldn’t go to TsarskoieTsarskoye Selo (“Czar’s Village”), the town and former residence of the Russian Imperial family, built by Catherine the Great, beginning in 1717. or to any of the palaces outside of town.

Moscow. Do what you can, in advance, to arrange for you to be admitted to the KremlinThe Moscow Kremlin, a fortified complex that includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing wall and towers of the Kremlin. The museum collections are in the State Armoury Museum. Museum. Through VOX, you will be able to get into the Library of the Hist. Mus., where see the Byz. MSS. I sent you numbers of.See letter of January 2, 1936. Further, see

Morosov-Schongine [sic] MuseumThe collections of Ivan Morozov (1871–1921) and Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin (1854–1936). After the 1917 Russian Revolution, the government appropriated these collections and exhibited them in their respective mansions in Moscow as the State Museum of New Western Art, sections I and II. In 1928, the two sections were merged and exhibited in the former Ivan Morozov mansion. (Modern French—superb Matisse, Cézanne etc.)

Tretiakov Mus.The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. The nucleus of the collection was acquired by Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832–1898) beginning in 1856 and was given to the Russian state in 1892. Early Russian ikons, esp. those by RublevAndrei Rublev (ca. 1360s–1427 or 1430), Russian icon and fresco painter. and Theophane Grec.Theophanes the Greek (ca. 1340–ca. 1410), a Byzantine Greek artist and icon painter in Russia, was the mentor of the Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev (ca. 1360s–1427 or 1430).

Mus. of Fine Arts.The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Музей изобразительных искусств им. А.С. Пушкина), a museum of European art in Moscow. Some good Dutch pictures, and other Europeans, and a few Byz. things—one very fine ivory of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.Christ Blessing Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, Byzantine, ca. 945, ivory, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, acc. no. Π-162.

I don’t advise taking time to go to the Troitzky MonasteryTrinity-Sergius Monastery (Тро́ице-Се́ргиева Ла́вра), a spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, located in the town of Sergiyev Posad, northeast of Moscow. (some 50 miles out).