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MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. An exhibition titled ‘The Romanov and the Grimaldi Dynasties: Three Centuries of History’ will open for the public at the Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow on Friday, October 7. It highlights the history of Russian-Monegasque relations.
One of the key exhibits and emblems of the display is Carl Faberge’s clock egg made in 1895 for Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the spouse of the Russian Emperor Alexander III, and presented by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to his wife, Prince Grace several decades later, Tretyakov Gallery director Zelfira Tregulova told TASS.
"A visit to this exhibition is akin to a highly captivating journey," she said. "A visitor will see here the ways in which history brought together many a time these two countries, separated by a big distance and incomparable in size."
"On the historic plane, the very good relations that Russia and Monaco are enjoying today rely on a powerful resource of the past," Tregulova said.
The display gives focus to several essential moments. They are the presence of the Genoese family of Grimaldis in the Black Sea area including Kaffa (today’s Feodosia in Crimea) from the 13th century to the 15th century; the beginning of contacts between Muscovy and Monaco in 1663 when the Florence-bound ambassadorial mission led by Ivan Zhelyabuzhsky called into the port of Monaco because of a storm on the sea; the rise of relations between the two dynasties after the Vienna Congress of 1815; the official establishment of diplomatic relations in 1877; the trips of Russian aristocracy to Cote d’Azur and Monaco in the second half of the 19th century; and a meeting between Prince Albert I, an ocean researcher, and the Russian Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov.
All in all, put up for display are 167 archival documents and museum exhibits from eleven collections, including the Tretyakov Gallery, Russia’s State Archives, the archives and library of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, and the property management department of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II.
"One can see here a broad spectrum of materials but the letters between the Romanovs and the Grimaldis are probably the most exciting exhibits," Tregulova said. "Two documents placed in the same display case are really soul-stirring."
"It’s well-known that the heir to the Russian throne, Crown Prince Nicholas died in Nice of an acute disease in 1865 and we show a draft of the solemn speech that his father, Emperor Alexander II delivered on the occasion, as well as a letter from Prince Carl III where he expressed his condolences," she said.
The exhibition is built along a chronological principle. One of the exhibits displayed in the front halls is a recount by nobleman Zhelyabuzhsky and scribe Davydov of the first visit to Monaco and a reception with Prince Louis I in May 1663.
A multitude of documents and portraits of Russian and Monegasque ruled done in different epochs and practically unknown to the public at large carry on the intriguing story of bilateral relations. Visitors can see among them the bronze busts of Alexander II and Carl III.