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Mikhail Lomonosov and the Academy of Sciences of the 18th century


Portrait of M. Lomonosov. Artist L.S. Miropol’sky. 1787. Copy of the only portrait made during his lifetime by G. Prenner.

Lens from an inflammatory instrument of E.V. Tschirnhausen. Physical cabinet of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. 1699.

Chemist’s table. Exhibits from the chemical laboratory of M. Lomonosov.

Electrostatic machine. Unknown craftsman. Instrumental chamber of the St.-Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Late 18th century.
     

Sculptural portrait of L. Euler. G.D. Rashett.

Mirror – symbol of the law of the Russian Empire. Made for the Academy of Sciences by N.P. Pavlov. 1762.

Conference Hall of the St.-Petersburg Academy of Sciences in the 18th century.

Interior of a scholar’s cabinet of the 18th century.

In the 18th-19th centuries, the Kunstkamera housed the St.-Petersburg Academy of Sciences founded by Peter the Great in 1724, and one of the first academics was the Russian scholar and encyclopaedist Mikhail Vasil’evich Lomonosov. A section of the museum exhibition in the Kunstkamera tower tells of the early stage of the history of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The collection includes such valuable collections as the few surviving personal items of Lomonosov, mosaic portraits made in his workshop, unique scientific devices and instruments of the 14th-19th centuries, and books, including many bibliographic rarities. Of interest are works of art, graphics and sculpture, items of applied decorative art, and furniture.

The exhibition recreates the atmosphere of a scientific institution of the 18th century. World famous scientists invited by Peter the Great to the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences also worked here, such as N. and D. Bernoulli, J.-N. De L’Isle, G.F. Miller, L. Euler and others. The first Russian academic was the outstanding scientist Lomonosov: he was elected a member at the age of 34.

The massive round meeting table symbolises the scale of ideas and projects discussed by the first academics of Russia. The words of Peter the Great “The glory of the state should be found through art and science” can be seen as an epigraph to this and a number of other exhibitions of the Museum.