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The fund of photo documents is one of the youngest among the collections of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. It was established in 2001 following the decision to deposit images of particular historical and artistic value from the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century from the Museum's archive of over 8,000 images and 30,000 negatives. The fund of photographic documents is being compiled and new photos are added to it each year. The main part of the collection includes views of the Moscow Kremlin, views of interiors of its churches and palaces, relics and pieces of art kept in the Kremlin.

The earliest photographic images in the museum’s collection date from the early 1860s. Special attention was paid to photography in the Armoury Chamber, as the exhibits were shot at the request of scientific societies and the Museum itself. For example, more than 500 photographs of over 2000 exhibits were taken for the inventory publication of 1884.

Photographs taken during restoration works comprise a considerable part of the Museum’s collection. The most extensive was the period from 1910 to 1918, when the restoration of the Assumption Cathedral was photographed, completing with the photography of the aftermath of the bombardment of the Kremlin on 1-3 November 1917, carried out by P.P. Pavlov’s photographic studio.

In the 1920s, on the one hand, there was scientific preservation of old buildings, and on the other hand, many monuments of church architecture were rudely destroyed. The Kremlin Monuments Department, headed by N.N. Pomerantsev, played an important role in preserving and replenishing the Museum’s photographic fund.

A small part of the Museum’s photographic collection is related to the Romanov dynasty, i.e. separate episodes of the coronation in 1896, the royal hunt in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 1894-1900 and others. Wonderful albums of photographs from the 1872 Polytechnic Exhibition and a photograph album “A walk in the Bois de Boulogne” presented to Alexander III from the Parisian atelier “Photographie Hippique” in 1883 were transferred from Emperor’s study of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

The fund contains works by such eminent master as I.F. Barshchevsky, I.I. and M.I. Gribovs, I.G. Djachenko, M.M. Panov, P.P. Pavlov, G.V. Trunov, K.A. Fischer and others. The photographs preserve various historical events, buildings and masterpieces of the Kremlin, the capital itself and other cities of the Russian Empire. These pictures are an interesting historical source and great works of photographic art.


Explore the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums online