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One of the core collections of the Moscow Kremlin Museums is the collection of the rarest old carriages of the Russian rulers. It comprises 24 pieces and covers a wide chronological range from the 16th to the 18th century.

Russian and foreign art historians are unanimous in their opinion that the collection of carriages, due to its uniqueness and completeness, deserves the status of world famous and occupies one of the first places in the world constellation of the most prominent identical collections. It is one of the few collections that contains the most ancient carriages and closed sleighs of the 16th-17th centuries – the oldest ones that have survived till today. Almost all of these items are masterpieces of world art that have no analogues. Unlike the majority of collections in other countries, this one has a wide variety of carriages, as well as illustrated the innovative achievements in their construction. It includes almost all types and constructions of Russian and European carriages from the 16th to the 18th centuries, such as unwieldy carriages, closed sleighs, coupes, Berlin carriages, sedans and carriages with a very wide body. The works of art reflect different styles, including the late Renaissance, Baroque, Regency, Rococo, and Neo-Classicism.

The carriages were created in the largest European art centres, such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, London, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin. Thus the development of the European carriage-making with its specific technique and a bright art system can be traced within the Armoury Chamber collection. I.Bezmin, J.Hoppenhaupt, J.Buckendal, A.Drillerosse, Ph.Caffieri, S.Boutler, J.Linelle, N.Pineau, J.Michelle, F.Boucher – were among the genius creators of these brilliant artworks, who contributed significantly to the development of carriage-making. Their names have entered the history of European art.

The carriages of the Armoury Chamber are not only artistic, but also historical artefacts which, in their own inimitable language, tell the story of the country's past: of relations with other states and of strengthening its authority on the international stage. Carriages were an integral part of everyday life at court. They were used for royal processions, receptions of foreign ambassadors, the royal hunting, and other official state ceremonies, the organization of which was a matter of state policy, ideology and diplomacy.

A considerable part of the carriages is of a commemorative nature, as they are associated with the names of famous Russian and foreign state personalities who left a significant mark on history. The process of gathering the carriages, which is closely connected with the history of the Moscow Kremlin, lasted several centuries.

 

Explore the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums online

 
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