ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES THE LARGE CONTINENT OF EURASIA SO INCREDIBLY INTRUIGING IS ITS RICH HISTORY. ALL THROUGH HISTORY THE TERRITORY HAS BEEN DIVIDED MANY TIMES IN SEPARATE STATES AND KINGDOMS, AND HAS SEEN THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREATEST EMPIRES IN WORLD. THERE IS AN ENORMOUS WEALTH IN OUR HISTORY THAT WE SOMETIMES TEND TO FORGET IN OUR DAY TO DAY LIFE. BUT FORTUNATELY THERE ARE STILL MANY PHYSICAL REMAINS OF YEARS LONG GONE, THAT FIRMLY REMINDS US OF THE CENTURIES THAT WENT BEFORE US. PLACES THAT MAKE YOU STOP AND WONDER HOW LIFE WAS ALL THOSE YEARS AGO.
The country Russia covers a vast area that, all through history, has been known under various names, including Rus, Kievan Rus, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire. The Tsardom of Russia started with Ivan IV, the first to assume the title of Tsar in 1547 and ended when Peter the Great founded the Russian Empire in 1721. Under Tsar Peter I, Russia grew into one of the largest empires in world history. In 1886, at the highest point of its power, the Empire stretched from Eastern Europe across Asia and into North America. It is inevitable that a territory so vast became influenced by the many different cultures it embraced and all through the history of the Russian Empire, the different royal dynasties invested that heritage in a glorifying heritage that cannot only be seen in the architectural remains of the legendary Empire but has also been the source of many suspicions and legends after the fall of the last Tsar in 1917.
Even though Russia has many cities, only two of them have ever had the privilege of being the Royal seats of the immense empire: St Petersburg and Moscow. The two cities are roughly 633 kilometers separated from each other, but that has not prevented the fact the leading dynasties changed their seats though history. Not once or twice, but 4 times. The result is that not only St Petersburg and Moscow still have stunning architectural remnants of the former royal greatness, but beautiful palaces can also be found along the long road between the two municipals. Such a as the Petrovsky Palace.
Built in the late 18th century for Catherine the Great, the Petrovsky Palace was the last overnight station of the royal journeys between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Empress visited only once. However, the Petrovsky Palace has become quite famous throughout its history. It became the palace where the Russian Tsars would start their journey to the Kremlin for their coronation. It was also here where Napoleon hid when Moscow was on fire for 4 days in September 1812. The Petrovsky Palace is one of the very few palaces that wasn’t reconstructed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution early 20th century and has now become House of Receptions of the Government of Moscow, a hotel for visiting dignitaries to Moscow and will host official receptions. The palace can be seen on your way to Sheremetevo airport, but its current function has made it impossible to visit.
For Max Orlov, who works under the professional name of Openmanphoto, nothing is impossible. He is a photographer in Russia and he is a good one. And because of that he finds ways to make the impossible possible. Such as shooting a nude male model in the Petrovsky Palace, which keeps its door protectively closed for any regular visitor. And such as shooting Andrew. Andrew is a painter and, much like Max in photography, is brilliant at what he does. He isn’t just a painter. He paints classical interior scenes and his work is much wanted outside Russia for private customers. It is because of that that Andrew, who is Russian, rarely is in Moscow. And so it was quite exceptional that Max was able to secure him for shooting. Thankfully so, since Andrew is not only a great artist himself, he is also a very photogenic guy with a certain questioning look in his eyes and a body that is simply to die for. Set against the backdrop of the historical and classical interior of the Petrovsky Palace, Andrew transforms into a living remain of that rich and generous Russian treasure from the past. –BM-
OPENMANPHOTO | BEAUTIFULMAG