Walking around the Summer Garden or the Muruzi Building, it is difficult to ignore the building’s huge glass dome that was built by architect Maximilian Messmacher specifically for the collection of applied art that belonged to Baron Alexander von Stieglitz. A financier, an industrialist and a philanthropist, Baron von Stieglitz used his own money to establish the Central School of Technical Drawing, now called the St. Petersburg Art and Industry Academy (in the Soviet times it was known as the College of Art and Industry and was named after the Soviet architect Vera Mukhina). The name “Mukha” (“a fly”-a play on Mukhina’s name) has stuck to this day. The Stieglitz Academy is the school for future jewellers, fashion designers, ceramics experts, wood carvers, blacksmiths and other professionals.
The students can always get their fix of inspiration as the academy and the museum share the same building. The museum has a collection of wooden trunks, coffrets, bureaus, chairs, armchairs, card-tables, carved picture frames, folding screens and cabinets, pottery, porcelain and glass. There’s a wonderful fabric collection that includes Italian silks of the 15th century and French silks of the 18th century; English Jacquard miniatures and Russian folk costumes; ceremonial attire; and a huge collection of the first Soviet fabrics that were partially meant for the decoration of the Palace of Soviets, which was never actually built. The painting Madonna with Child with Young John the Baptist by Lucas Cranach the Elder has a special place in the display.
Ticket offices: 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.