In the autumn of 1913, after five years of negotiations between the Venice Biennale administration and the Imperial Academy of Arts, a site for a Russian pavilion was chosen in the Giardini, the Venice municipality gave its permission for construction to proceed and the architect, Alexei Shchusev finalised his design project. On 29 April 1914, shortly after the opening of the 11th Biennale, the Russian pavilion was ceremonially opened by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. From that day to the present the pavilion has been the main venue for the exhibition of Russian art in Venice. But Russian artists were already playing an important part in the Biennale before the pavilion was built, ever since the first Venice Exhibition of 1895. They have also participated in Biennale art events when the national pavilion has been closed for either technical or (in the time of the Cold War) ideological reasons. A total of 800 Russian artists have shown work at the Biennale, from the leading names of Russian art (Repin, Malevich, Kabakov) to lesser known names and some, which are now entirely almost forgotten.