Arranged in the chronological order, from the time of Alexander I until the reign of Nicholas II, the exhibition traces the development of interiors from the Art Nouveau to the Empire styles.
The permanent exhibition entitled “The Russian Interior Decoration of the 19th century” is based on the materials collected by the History of Russian Culture Department and comprises nearly 400 exhibits dating from the 19th – early 20th centuries. A considerable part of the items were used for the Winter Palace decoration. The comprehensive display of items, characteristic of their specific historical period and being extremely various both in their respective functions and techniques, make it possible to vividly demonstrate the most distinctive features of Russian decorative and applied art. Arranged in the chronological order from the time of Alexander I until the reign of Nicholas II, the exhibition represents different stylistic trends reflecting the evolution of the interiors, ranging from the Art Nouveau to the Empire styles.
Every part of the exhibition bears the stamp of its own time. The items displayed in the exhibition partially recreate the panorama of the mode of life of the aristocracy, nobility and the middle class of Russian society. Every function was given its own room: the Living Room, Music Saloon, Private Office, Boudoir and others. One of the halls (Room 178) represents the original palace interior. This is the Library of Nicholas II, whose private rooms were accommodated in this part of the Winter Palace.
The prominent place in the exhibition is occupied by the furniture which plays an important role in any interior decoration. The rich collection of Russian furniture in the Hermitage allows to demonstrate the impressive range of forms, design and artistic decoration, as well as the important role of the leading architects and masters of decorative and applied art who created it.