Art Library of the State Russian Museum


The Art Library of the State Russian Museum is located in the central part of Mikhailovsky Palace, near the main staircase. The first record of the Library was found in the Statutes of the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III in 1897. The collection of the Library includes literature n art and humanities. The basis of the collection and its specific character is determined by the Museum's profile - Russian Art. The Library stock has been actively developed since the 1910s. It has involved books specially bought by the Museum and the whole collections. Nowadays the Library holdings number 170.000 items in its storage.The staff of the library counts 12 members. The staff of the library counts 12 members. Being scientific and reference, the Library helps in research activity in art, museum pedagogics, and humanities. Taking into account the uniqueness of the collection that disposes of the rarest editions, in addition to collecting and keeping in storage literature of art criticism, one catalog of all the rare editions for further systematization and study has been developed. In 1978 it was decided to form inside the Library the Rare Books Sector. It numbers today about 10.000 items.

At present the Library possesses one of the most interesting collections of printed works - Russian items from the beginning of the 18th century and foreign from the 17th century, private book collections that had belonged to cultural and art workers, prominent collectors, artists, and art historians.

The fund includes libraries that had been collected by princes Gagarin, princes of Oldenburg, Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovitch, V.Argutinsky-Dolgoruky, A.S.Suvorin, S.Makovsky, E.Reytern, A.N.Benois, V.V.Lebedev, V.N.Petrov, B.N.Okunev, K.A.Korbadovsky, A.M.Shadrin, and also parts of the libraries of the Committee of Guardianship of Russian Icon-painting, the Popularization of Art Editions committee, Schtiglitz School, Izmailovsky and Finlandsky Regiments, and the Library of the St.-Petersburg Handicraft Wares Museum.

Every year the Library buys and gets through the book exchange program near 1,5 thousand titles, and subscribes Russian and foreign periodicals (magazines and newspapers). Every 10 days two showcases with new coming books are arranged.

Our readers can search bibliographical information in the Library in different ways. These are traditional and not-traditional search means: a general alphabetical catalogue, subject catalogue, card index of persons (artists, sculptors and architects), card index of works of research workers of the State Russian Museum, editions of the State Russian Museum, exhibitions, alphabet card index of articles, and other means. Professional bibliographers and art historians can also carry out bibliographical inquiries by phone or in written form. Besides traditional forms of the storage and dissemination of information, there is a computer informational-searching system in the Library since 1993, there are about 70.000 book descriptions in our electronic catalogue (about 70% of the book fund - all new acquisitions since 1993 + retrospective from A to S), and near 10 thousand records of Russian and foreign periodicals, and 12,5 thousand record of articles from periodicals. You can search bibliographical information by the name of the author, title, the year of edition, or key word.

Since 1997 with the help of the non-profit American organization  IREX - International Research Exchange the readers of the Art Library of the Russian Museum have got the opportunity to search the information through the Internet.

Specialist librarians can acquaint you in case of need with our card catalogue and will help you to work with our electronic catalogue and with Internet. Inquiry-bibliographical service is possible in the library, by phone, or e-mail.

The Library leads an active book exchange with Russian and foreign libraries and museums. Editions of the Russian Museum are available for book exchange. 

The Art Library takes part in exhibitions that are organized by the Russian Museum. These are editions mainly from the rare books holdings that are of great interest as museum exhibits.


For further information please contact by phone +7(812)595-4208 or e-mail:

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