No matter how surprising it seems, but the fist museum of Russian art was private and did not open in the capital. In 1892, merchant Tretyakov opened the doors to his home gallery for public at large. Since that time, the admirers of domestic talents would come to Moscow. This order of things did not suit Tsar Alexander III, who ruled to open a museum of Russian art in the capital. The authorities decided not to build special premises for museum, but bought Mikhaylovsky Palace designed by Carlo Rossi. On March 19, 1898, the museum opened its door for public. One cannot say that the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III (it was its official name till 1917) provided competition for the Tretyakov Gallery at once. The scantiness of the Imperial collection’s Russian part prevented it from competing with Moscow one. Yet The Last Day of Pompeii, The Ninth Wave, Zaporozhie Cossacks, and Yermak’s Conquest of Siberia attracted the lovers of art. There were over 100,000 such visitors during the first year alone.
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