Historical Background: 18th - 19th Centuries

Планъ столичнаго города Санктпетербурга съ изображенїемъ знатнѣйщихъ онаго проспектовъ. изданный трудами Императорской академіи наyкъ и художествъ въ СанктпетербургѢ 1753 года
Plan de la ville de St. Petersbourg avec ses principales vües. [Plan of the Capital City, Saint Petersburg, with Representations of its Most Distinguished Views. Published under the Guidance of the Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts in Saint Petersburg, 1753.]
Saint Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1753.

This map was published to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, and includes 36 maps and views of the city. The University of Michigan copy shown is also available online as part of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection (www.davidrumsey.com/recentadditions).

dotted line

Mikhail Vasil’evich Lomonosov, 1711-1765.
Краткой россійской лѣтописецъ с родословіемъ.
[Brief Russian Chronicle with a Genealogy.]

Saint Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1760.

Lomonosov was a very active member of the chancellery of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a founder of its university and gymnasium. He was a man of letters and a talented poet with a strong background in chemistry and history. This book contains a dedication in verse to the more recent monarchs in the Romanov dynasty. Lomonosov’s patriotism lent itself to the laudatory style evident here, but praise for the tsar was not uncommon, particularly in dedications.


dotted line

Zaharija Orfelin, 1726-1785, Dimitrii Feodozi, et al.
Житіѣ и славныя дѣла Петра Великаго самодержца всероссійскаго с прeдположеніемъ краткой географической и политической исторіи о россійскомъ государствѣ, Первѣе на Славенскомъ языкѣ изданное въ Венецїи...
[The Life and Glorious Deeds of Peter, the Great Autocrat of all Russia, with a Supplement Containing a Brief Geographic and Political History about the Russian State, First published in the Slavic language in Venice...]

Saint Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1774. Vols. 1 & 2.

Focusing on the life and times of Peter the Great, this text was first published in Venice. It provides a brief general history of Russia, along with highly detailed maps and illustrations. This copy bears the stamp “A. de Sabloukoff.” General Nikolai Aleksandrovich Sablukov, at court during the last days of Tsar' Paul I, published his memoirs containing a description of the murder of Paul I. "A. de Sabloukoff" could either refer to Nikolai's brother, Alexander, or to their father, Alexander.


dotted line

Mauro Orbini, ca. 1550-1611?
Кніга історіограѳія початія имене, славы, і разшіренія народа славяского, и их Царей и Владѣтелеи под многїми имянами, и со многїми Царствїями...
[The Historiography of the Beginnings of the Name, Glory and Expansion of the Slavic Peoples both by their Tsars and Rulers under Many Names, and Together with many Tsardoms...]

Saint Petersburg: Saint Petersburg Press, 1722.

This text was originally written in Italian by Archimandrite Mauro Orbini of Ragusa (now called Dubrovnik), who explained its history in the 1722 edition: “Translated from Italian into the Russian language and published by order of and during the fortunate reign of Peter the Great, Emperor and Autocrat of all Russia, and so on, and so on, and so on.”


dotted line

Aleksandr Petrovich Sumarokov, 1717-1777.
Sinave & Trouvore: Tragedie russe en vers.
Translated by Prince Alexandre Dolgorouky.
St. Petersburg: Académie Imperiale des Sciences,1751.

Originally published by Sumarokov in Russian and performed in 1750, Sinave & Trouvore was translated into French by Prince Aleksandr Dolgorukii (fl. 1751). Sumarokov was a gentleman Russian poet and innovative playwright, whose mentor was fellow classicist Lomonosov. Sumarokov’s verse examined man’s psychological and spiritual condition, in contrast with Lomonosov’s, which concentrated on themes such as civic virtue and patriotic duty. The first play performed at court (during the reign of Empress Elizabeth) was written by Sumarokov, and he also helped organize the first permanent theatrical troupe in Russia.


dotted line

Vasiliĭ Solikov.
Лѣтописъ иже во святыхъ отца нашего Димитрія Митрополита ростовскаго чудотворца, сказующая Дѣянїя от начала мїробытїя до Рождества Христова, собранная из Божественного писанїя, из различныхъ Хронографовъ и Исторїографовъ Греческихъ, Славенскихъ, Римсĸихъ...
[The Chronicle which is among those most holy of our father Dimitriῐ the Rostov Metropolitan, the Miracleworker, who relates Acts from the beginning of the world’s existence to the Birth of Christ, collected from Holy texts, from various Greek, Slavic, Roman…Chronographers and Historiographers...]

Saint Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Arts, 1796.

This is an account, culled from many historiographic resources, of events from the beginning of the world to the birth of Christ. The events are described in the text, but are also listed in a chronology that contains the date of an event based on the number of days since Adam, as well as other information, such as the phases of the sun and moon. Vasilii Solikov recorded this account given by Dimitrii, Metropolitan of Rostov (also known as “The Miracleworker”). This text was published not by the Church, but by the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.


dotted line

Vasilii Nikolaevich Berkh, 1781-1834.
Царствованіе Царя Михаила Ѳеодоровича и взглядъ на междуцарствіе.
[The Reign of Tsar Mikhaĭl Feodorovich and a View of the Interregnum.]

Saint Petersburg: Kh. Gints, 1832.

Heir to the throne Mikhail Fedorovich Skopin-Shuisky had a brief life, dying under mysterious circumstances in 1610. His image, however, endured far longer, being one of the earliest known Russian portraits. Although still exhibiting traits characteristic of Russian orthodox icons, this portrait contains details portraying the subject’s individuality.