Twin Cities writer R.D. Zimmerman -- who also writes under the pen name Robert Alexander -- lived for many years in Russia, and his newest book is an homage to the artwork, architecture, clothing, gardens and beauty of Imperial Russia. 

"Vanished Splendor: The Colorful World of the Romanovs," published by Pegasus Books, is a coloring book, with historically accurate line drawings by Minneapolis graphic artist Christopher Bohnet.

The Faberge eggs, delicate teacups, tiny postage stamps and pearl-and-diamond crowns look odd and empty in black and white, but that of course is where you come in, with your crayons and watercolors.

Each illustration is accompanied by context from Zimmerman. "In my decades of traveling to Russia, I have come to understand that Russians are drama queens from the get-go," Zimmerman writes in the book's introduction. "They create buildings, music, art, ballet, fashion and more with mind-boggling creativity."

Some of the original illustrations from the book will be on display from Feb. 22 to 27 at the Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Av, Mpls., in conjunction with the museum's "Unknown Faberge" exhibit. The opening reception will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 22.

Zimmerman's novel "The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar," is being made into a movie starring Kristin Scott Thomas. He studied at Leningrad State University and has traveled and worked throughout Russia.

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