12.10.2023 — 14.01.2024

Exhibition Hall of the Patriarch’s Palace, Exhibition Hall of the Assumption Belfry

Organized by

The Moscow Kremlin Museums


The Moscow Kremlin Museums, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Historical Museum, the State Museum of A. S. Pushkin, the State Museum Reserve 'Peterhof', the 'Tsarskoe Selo' State Museum and Heritage Site, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Museum of the History of Religion, the State Russian Museum, the Zlatoust City Museum of Regional Ethnography, the Saint Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music

Monomakh's Cap of the Second SetLegends surrounded the art pieces from the Kremlin collection for hundreds of years. In the early 19th century, the ideas of the Romanticism and an overwhelming interest to the national history drove the amateurs of antiquities to reconsider the pre-existing myths and, following a creative urge, to invent the new ones. The romantic approach towards history presumed the artistic presentation of the facts. At the same time, the works of historians of the first half of the 19th century and their critics gave a strong impulse to the development of historical science.

It was during the Romantic era, when the ancient artifacts of the Armoury Chamber, connected to the crucial events in the national history, were being studied and published. Along with this, many of them acquired false attributions that were to underline their link to prominent Russian rulers and other outstanding personalities. Thus, in the museum collection “appeared” the staffs of Grand Princes Andrey Bogolubsky and Ivan Kalita, helmet of Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky, child’s armour of Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy, chain armour of Martha the Mayoress, mace of Marina Mniszech, though all these items had practically nothing to do with the mentioned figures of Russian history. The works of the researches and authors of the guidebooks to the Armoury Chamber played the key role in this process. Among them were A. F. Malinovsky (1762-1840), P. P. Svinyn (1787-1839), A. F. Weltman (1800-1870), Yu. V. Arsenyev (1857-1919), and V. K. Trutovsky (1862-1932). For the 19th century, some authors disproved the others and in the meanwhile suggested equally brave versions of items’ origin.

The exhibition tells about the patriotic rise of the early 19th century, caused by the Napoleonic Wars, about the increasing interest to the Middle Ages, the creators of myths, and the first researchers of the Kremlin collection. The first part of the display dips into the atmosphere of Russian Romanticism, which allows looking at the Armoury Chamber in the context of an epoch. The second hall is dedicated to the legends referring to different historical objects, such as the legend about “the Monomachos's gifts”(gifts of Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Monomachos) and the fantastic weapons that, in the 19th century, people tried to reconstruct and correlate to various historical terms.

The display presents more than 130 items from the Moscow Kremlin Museums and other leading museums of the country. These are the regalia, arms and armour, silver artworks, horse harnesses, paintings, graphics, sculpture, rare manuscripts and printed editions. Among the unique pieces of art are the fantastic armour, executed for the future Emperor Alexander II; suit of armour of the Happy and the Mournful Knights – allegorical participants of the funeral procession of Emperor Nicholas I; the ivory and walrus throne, which was first attributed to Grand Prince Ivan III and then to Tsar Ivan the Terrible, and the statue by M. M. Antokolsky depicting the first Russian tsar on the same throne; the Monomakh’s Cap of the Second Set, which, in the 19th century, was thought to be “the crown of Grand Princess Olga”; the painting by A. D. Litovchenko “Ivan the Terrible Showing the Treasures to English Ambassador Horsey” picturing the 17th-century objects from the collection of the Armoury Chamber in the historical scene of an earlier epoch (the pieces are displayed on both sides of the painting). A special place in taken by the watercolours by F. G. Solntsev, which have original inscriptions with legendary attributions.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums have launched a theme-based satellite site https://kremlinlegends.kreml.ru/en

The exhibition is open every day except Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00.

Entrance fee to the exhibition – 500 RUB.
Free for under 7-year-olds.
for the ICOM members.

Tickets are available:

  • online on the museum's website (only full-price tickets)
  • in the museums' ticket office in Alexander Garden on the day of the visit.
  • at touch-sensitive terminals at the museum's ticket office and the Kremlin territory on the day of your visit (only full-price tickets).