Exhibition: St. Petersburg Society During the Romanov Era Topic: Exhibitions
The Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle in St. Petersburg is currently hosting the exhibition, St. Petersburg During the Romanov Era. The exhibit, which opened on 16 October, 2014 features Russian art of the first half of the 19th century, the time when St. Petersburg established itself as complex and contradictory unit of the urban and social environment. It was during this period that the concept «St.Petersburg Society» was formed, expressed in terms of people and social groups.
St Petersburg is captured in a wide variety of paintings, graphics, sculpture and applied arts of the first half of the 19th century. This is above all the case in portraiture, including miniatures and watercolours, techniques seeing a revival at this time; in city scenes, which tell much about the curious life and values of the former capital of the Russian Empire; in the depiction of society functions, celebrations and parades; in the fine grace of figurines of St Petersburg's national and social characters.
Among the works displayed at the exhibition there are watercolours by V.Sadovnikov, J.Charlemagne, C.Collmann, paintings by the Makovsky brothers, series of drawings depicting city types, as well as series of St.Petersburg views by Nurenberg artist Johann Georg Mayr, completed during 1796-1803.
The key art work of the exhibition is the painting «Parade on the Tsaritsa Meadow» by Grigory Chernetsov. The painting depicts St. Petersburg Society in 1830s. This work is almost a complete portrait of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg society at one of the most enlightened periods in its history.
The Exhibition St. Petersburg Society During the Romanov Era runs until 30 November 2015 at the Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle, St. Petersburg.
Exhibition: European Orders of Knighthood Topic: Exhibitions
On 24th April 2015 the ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ exhibition opened in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace. This exhibition presents insignia of European Orders of Knighthood, from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, from the prominent private collection of Andrei Khazin and pieces of insignia of the Order of the Garter from the Royal Collection bestowed upon Emperor Alexander II. The other contributors to this project are the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire (now a part of the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) which is lending rare documents and the State Historical Museum which is lending portraits of members of the Russian Imperial Family.
The exhibition ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ introduces visitors to the honours systems of Great Britain, the Austria-Hungarian Empire, Prussia, Spain, Portugal, the Holy See and France. For the first time more than three hundred signs of the highest orders of XVII-XX centuries are exhibited in one exhibition space in Russia.
"The exhibition ‘European Orders of Knighthood’ continues the tradition of showing in the Moscow Kremlin Museums exhibitions dedicated to the insignia that was started in 2004. This subject constantly evokes high level of interest among the visitors, since orders are not only symbolic signs of exclusiveness, nobility, of the heroic and zealous service to ones country and people, but also a wonderful piece of jewelry, made by the best masters and jewelry firms - noticed Elena GagarinÐ°, General Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums - Today we are pleased to present the exhibition that is a complete display of the honours systems of a number of European countries and includes some virtually unique pieces that one can seen only in the Moscow Kremlin during the exhibition".
An important part place of the exhibitions display is the orders of knighthood of Great Britain. The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world, is has existed for six and a half centuries without interruption. The British system has had a significant influence on the development of honours and award systems of the European countries, including the Russian Empire.
Particular attention is given to the Russian Emperors who were Knights of the Order of the Garter as well as to the dynastic alliance of the Romanovs and the British Royal Family. The appointment of Russian Emperors as Knights of the Order of the Garter reflected the position of the Russian Emperor and the diplomatic and dynastic connections between Russia and Great Britain through the nineteenth century. First to be appointed, in 1813, at the end of the Napoleonic wars, was Emperor Alexander I. His appointment as a Garter Knight - alongside the sovereigns of the other victorious allies - was an acknowledgement of the contribution of Russia to the defeat of Napoleon.
The insignia of the Order of the Garter of the Emperor Alexander II, who died tragically at the hands of terrorists, are kept with care as part of the British Royal Collection at the behest of Queen Victoria. The insignia, which occupies a central place in the exhibition has been generously lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and returns to Russia for the first time since the revolutionary event.
An important discovery was made while working on the exhibition. It was revealed that in the collection of Andrei Khazin there is an award which once belonged to the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II - a Royal Victorian Chain, founded in 1902 by King Edward VIIof Great Britain as an award of honour reserved for foreign monarchs, princes and heads of state. It was sold by the Bolshevik government after it was removed from the Armoury Chamber where it was passed from Petrograd with other evacuated imperial possessions, to Gokhran (the State Repository of valuables).By lucky circumstances, nearly a century later it is returning to the Moscow Kremlin to be displayed in the exhibition.
The exhibition European Orders of Knighthood runs until 30 August, 2015 in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace, Kremlin in Moscow
Exhibition: Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors Topic: Exhibitions
Peterhof, located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, from the time of Peter the Great was the epitome of naval glory and Russian naval victories. The emperors often made boat trips from Peterhof to watch the sea manoeuvres being held off the coast. For almost three centuries, the central sculpture of the Grand Cascade - fountain "Samson tearing open the lion's mouth" - represents the assertion Russia on the Baltic Sea.
The Museum of the Ocean World in Kaliningrad, Russia is currently hosting the exhibition Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors. More than 100 items from the Peterhof State Museum Preserve provide a chronicle of the country’s maritime history in four parts, including the naval victories of the Russian Empire, the role of the sea and the Russian Imperial Navy in various spheres of life of the Peterhof imperial residence - from the official ideology to the private life and upbringing of the August children.
Visitors can explore items of the Petrine era, including a silver model of the boat of Peter I, Peter the Great naval uniform, models and sculptures, marine equipment (telescope, compass) from Mon Plaisir at Peterhof. Artwork includes the picturesque "Marina" painted at the end of the 17th century, thus embodying the first Russian art collection - a collection of Peter the Great. The era of Empress Catherine II is also represented, including her naval dress uniform, displayed against a background panorama of the Chesmensky Hall of the Grand Peterhof Palace. Also on display are a formal portrait of the Empress, the clock with a bust of Catherine II as Minerva, and marine accessories of her time.
In addition, the exhibition features a recreation of the Emperor's study of the late 19th century. Books, writing set, nautical instruments and paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky (the favourite artist of Emperor Nicholas I), help in recreating the working environment of the Imperial Cabinet.
Unique items related to the history of the Russian imperial yachts from the Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof are also exhibited. Peterhof served as an integral part of arrival for foreign heads of state and diplomat who arrived by sea during the second half of the 19th-early 20th centuries. Key items include models of the imperial yachts Polar Star and Alexandria, as well as select pieces of porcelain services made for the imperial yachts Derzhava and Alexandria. Emperor Nicholas II regularly sailed from Peterhof aboard his beloved yacht Standart.
A naval dress worn by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, a child’s sailor uniform worn by one of the grand dukes, marine themed toys, books and other items help to create a complete picture of the lifestyle in the northern seaside imperial residence at Peterhof.
The exhibition is accompanied by multimedia programs designed to give visitors a broader view on the existence and importance of Peterhof as maritime and imperial residence. In particular, is the multimedia information and entertainment system Grand Peterhof Palace marking the 300-year history of the Grand Peterhof Palace.
The exhibition Peterhof - the Sea Capital of Emperors runs until 3 July, 2015 at the Museum of the Ocean World in Kaliningrad, Russia.
The exhibition, Her Imperial Majesty's Hermitage is based on the description of the Imperial Hermitage, made in a guide to Saint Petersburg by Johann Gottlieb Georgi in 1794. The structure of the Hermitage and the basic works characteristic for Catherine’s time are displayed in the great Nicholas Hall. The exhibition includes the following sections: picture gallery of Catherine the Great, a room of paintings, a room of engravings, a library of the Empress, a collection of naturals, a collection of rarities and objects of the East, contemporary art in the time of Catherine II.
Johann Gottlieb Georgi, naturalist, ethnographer, chemist, mineralogist and physician, was born in 1729 in Prussian Pomerania; he was educated at Uppsala University, Sweden. At the end of 1770, invited by the Imperial Academy of Sciences, he went to St. Petersburg. His “Experience of Describing the Russian Imperial Capital City of Saint Petersburg and Attractions in Its Surroundings” was first published in German in St. Petersburg in 1790. In addition to a comprehensive historical sketch of the capital and the characteristics of its administrative and social order, the author provided a very detailed description of its geography, soil and minerals, the diversity of flora, fauna, birds and fish. The Hermitage is also present in the book, but its description occupies just four pages.
In early 1793, Georgi started preparing the Russian version of the book dedicated to “To Her Highness, the Most Sovereign, the Great Empress Catherine Alexeyevna, the Sole Rule of All Russia”. In the new book, the section on the cultural life of St. Petersburg expanded markedly. This particularly affected the Hermitage. Georgi’s new book, according to the rules of construction of academic writings, was preceded by an indication of the sources of information used by the author. It says about the Hermitage: “The news on the Imperial hermitage are completely the fruit of the permission given by HER SUPREME IMPERIAL MAJESTY to examine this room and to report on it in this translation carried out thanks to the benevolence of His Excellency Privy Councillor, Senator, President of the State Board of Commerce and Chevalier Gavrilo Romanovich Derzhavin. Mr. Luzhkov, the librarian, and Mr. Martinelli, the gallery inspector, actively participated; the news of the Imperial Art Gallery is mostly composed by Mr. Martinelli.”
Georgi writes about the Hermitage and its collections in several sections of his book. In addition to the chapter on the Hermitage, the description of the buildings of the Winter Palace and the museum is given in the first chapter of Section III on “topography” of the first Admiralty part. Chapter 3 of Section XII on the “scholar institutions” of St. Petersburg contains information about the Hermitage library and the collections of prints and paintings; the next chapter subtitled “Her Imperial Majesty’s Hermitage” is a description of the museum’s rooms and collections. This section is the largest in Georgi’s book; it is the first systematic description of the Hermitage, which makes it an exceptionally valuable document. By 1794, the Hermitage was thirty-years-old, if we suppose that it was started upon purchasing a collection of paintings from J.E. Gotzkowsky, a Berlin financier and entrepreneur. The era of rapid acquisition of collections for the St. Petersburg museum in the second half of 1760’s - early 1780’s had passed. The construction of buildings storing imperial treasures was completed. It was time to sum up and comprehend what had been created. Neither a palace, nor a museum, Catherine’s “child” appeared to the reader in the pages of the “Description” room by room, collection by collection. Georgi, not knowing the specific fine arts issues, needed competent experts capable of showing the most significant things at the Hermitage. These experts were a Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Martinelli (? -1802), the art gallery custodian, and Alexander Ivanovich Luzhkov (1754-1808), the Empress’s librarian.
The Hermitage description by Georgi consists of several sections. They are preceded by a brief enumeration of the artistic treasures of the Empress followed by a detailed description of all the buildings and halls of the Hermitage. The text ends with a description of the individual sections of the collections and libraries, their characteristics and their classification. Georgi covered the collection of carved stones and the Art Gallery in most detail. In fact, in the “Description” Georgi published the first systematic catalogue of the paintings of the Hermitage, which was probably the most interesting part.
The exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum dedicated to its 250-year anniversary reflects the main sections of the collection of Catherine II; Georgi’s text is commented on in the exhibition catalogue and there is also information about the works both preserved in the Hermitage and evidenced as having left its walls at different times.
A special illustrated scientific catalogue was prepared for the exhibition by the Publishing Department of the State Hermitage Museum. Curator of the exhibition: Mikhail Olegovich Dedinkin, Deputy Head of the Department of Western European Art at the State Hermitage Museum.
The exhibition Her Imperial Majesty’s Hermitage runs until 10 May 2015 in the Nicholas Hall of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum) in St. Petersburg.
The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota is currently hosting an exhibition featuring a beautiful collection of Russian Imperial porcelain.
Drawn from a remarkable collection of Imperial porcelain owned by Raymond Piper, the exhibition will include approximately seventy presentation Easter eggs featuring Russian orthodox saints, Imperial monograms, traditional Russian geometric patterns, ornate floral designs, and more. These beautifully painted porcelain Easter eggs were produced at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Commissioned by the Romanov Imperial family, porcelain eggs were presented to relatives, friends, and courtiers at Easter time. The art of painted eggs reached perfection during the reigns of Nicholas I (1825-1855) and Alexander III (1881-1894).
Also included in the exhibition are eggs from other notable 19th century porcelain factories, porcelain vases, and photographs of the Imperial family.
The exhibition Russian Imperial Porcelain Easter Eggs runs from March 14 – September 13, 2015, at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great Topic: Exhibitions
Masterworks from the personal collection of Russian Empress Catherine the Great will go on show at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) this July as part of the blockbuster Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series, Premier Daniel Andrews announced today.
The Australian-exclusive exhibition Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great will feature more than 400 works, including paintings by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Rubens and Titian, alongside stunning decorative art pieces that will give visitors an insight into the life, and loves, of the influential ruler.
This exclusive Melbourne exhibition will also highlight the innovation and vision of Catherine the Great, whose inexhaustible passion for education, the arts and culture heralded a period of enlightenment in the region. The extraordinary works sourced and commissioned by Catherine during her 34-year reign, created the foundations for the Hermitage today – considered to be one of the world’s greatest treasure houses of art and decorative arts.
The exhibition will offer audiences an immersive experience, recreating the rich atmosphere of the Hermitage to showcase these exquisite works.
Catherine the Great reigned from 1762-1796, a period of cultural renaissance for Russia. She was regarded as the nation’s foremost patron of the arts, literature and education and founded The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. It is now one of the most visited museums in the world and is renowned for holding the world’s finest collection of paintings.
Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great is one of two Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibitions that will be significant creative drawcards for the city this winter. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image will host David Bowie Is, an exhibition charting the career of one of the music world’s great chameleons.
Since it was established in 2004, the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series has attracted more than 4.7 million attendees and injected close to $380 million into the State economy.
The Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great will run from July 31 – November 8, 2015 at NGV International.
Alexander, Napoleon & Josephine, a Story of Friendship, War and Art from the Hermitage Topic: Exhibitions
In 2015, as the Battle of Waterloo is commemorated throughout Europe, the Hermitage Amsterdam will turn the clock back to the decisive years that preceded Waterloo, the days of Napoleon Bonaparte and two exceptional and very different contemporaries: Tsar Alexander I, his friend and enemy, and Joséphine, the love of his life.
More than two hundred magnificent paintings, sculptures, personal possessions, gowns and uniforms, objets d’art and impressive weapons will tell the story of two mighty rulers and a woman with great personality. The central themes are friendship, war and politics, as well as Joséphine’s great art collection, which included Dutch and Italian masters such as Potter, Van der Werff, Luini and Canova. The two men come even physically close, in Napoleon’s death mask and in a medallion with a lock of Alexander’s hair. A significant part of Joséphine’s collection eventually came into the possession of the Hermitage, and many of the highlights will be on display in the Netherlands for the first time.
A story in four scenes
Our story begins in 1807. Napoleon and Joséphine were seeing very little of each other, because of the many wars that Napoleon was waging across the European continent. Joséphine was on her own in their love nest, Château de Malmaison, just outside Paris. That year, Napoleon and the tsar concluded the Treaty of Tilsit, establishing a coalition for peace intended to change the political constellation in Europe and Asia. In the process, they formed a friendship that seemed genuine and enduring. After fifteen days, they said farewell, and in the years that followed they exchanged many diplomatic gifts.
The treaties were intended as an eternal seal on their peace and their friendship. But they proved impossible to enforce, and a new war broke out. The disastrous turning point was Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812. Few events in history have made such a strong impression as the French retreat from Moscow in that year. The most catastrophic episode for Napoleon's army, however, was probably the crossing of the ice-cold Berezina River. In just a few days’ time, tens of thousands of soldiers died in battle, froze to death, drowned or starved. Many of them came from the Netherlands, a fact that is still well-known today, thanks to an illustration by Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht used in Dutch schools for many years and included in the exhibition. The drama of the campaign surges to life in works such as four large battle paintings by Peter Hess. The Russian campaign put an end to many years of success for Napoleon and his Grande Armée. The French army was massacred: out of 600,000 soldiers, less than 100,000 survived.
The Tsar also suffered heavy losses, but he held a victory parade in Paris. Napoleon was utterly defeated and sent into exile. In Paris, the Tsar contacted the former empress, Joséphine, who received him at Malmaison. Just as the Tsar and Napoleon had once developed a warm friendship, the Tsar and Joséphine did the same. There are various, often contradictory stories about the motivations of the two. In any case, she gave Alexander one of the greatest gifts a tsar could ask for: the ancient Gonzaga Cameo, from the 3rd century BC. Alexander invited her to come and live in St Petersburg, but she never had the chance to take the invitation into consideration because of her early death. Shortly after a stroll with the Tsar, the former empress died of pneumonia. The rest is history.
The Tsar was not only the victor, along with his allies, but also the buyer of Josephine’s famous art collection. By the time of her death, it comprised more than four hundred works, by masters such as Potter, Metsu, Van der Werff, Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Luini, Schidone, David Teniers the Younger, Terborch and Canova. She had purchased many of these works herself, and many others were gifts from Napoleon, war trophies from conquered territories. Alexander bought a large number of paintings and sculptures in 1815 for the then-astronomical sum of 940,000 French francs. Joséphine’s daughter Hortense and son Eugène came under Alexander’s protection, and a generation later Joséphine’s grandson married a Romanov princess, creating a tie of blood between the two families. Partly for this reason, many of the works in her collection ultimately found their way to the Hermitage. Her descendants married into the royal families of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden.
The exhibition Alexander, Napoleon & Joséphine, a Story of Friendship, War and Art runs until 8th November 2015 at the Hermitage Amsterdam.
Exhibition: Map of Russia. Milestones in History Topic: Exhibitions
The Moscow Kremlin Museums hosts a historical exhibition to reveal the phenomenon of Russia as the largest state in the world, which has been preserving its status since the late 17th century. The exposition incorporates remarkable masterpieces of the 14th—early 20th centuries, which are to present the history of the development of Russia, full of dramatic events, wars, dynastic and political collisions, outstanding achievements in various fields.
The key exhibit at the exposition is a unique masterpiece — the map of the Russian Empire, embroidered by students of the Moscow college of the Order of St. Catherine in 1872 and presented to Emperor Alexander II. The period of Emperor Alexander II is distinguished by the expansion of the Russian Empire through the territories of Central Asia, the Caucasus and Far East. The map reveals the delicate workmanship of embroideresses as well as a monumental grandeur of the Russian state, the borders of which have extended to its maximum by 1867. It was exposed in Moscow only once and has never been on loan to foreign museums.
The famous Crown of Kazan is also on display. This precious ceremonial headpiece, covered with dense niello pattern and gems, is believed to be commissioned by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1553 in order to celebrate the annexation of the Kazan Khanate after the capture of Kazan. Later on the image of the crown was included to a complicated composition of the National Emblem where it appeared along with other coats of arms as the arms of the realm of Kazan.
The oldest extant item at the exposition is the stone plate of 1491 inscribed with information on the construction of the Kremlin towers under Grand Prince Ivan III and his title of "sovereign of All Rus", which reflected the growing power of the Moscovite ruler, who claimed absolute authority in his realm. The artifact relates to an important period in the Russian history, characterized by the development of the idea of sovereignty which marked the transition of Russia from a principality to an emerging nation-state. Further expansion of Russia can be traced through geographical names of the lands, stated within titles of the Russian rules, for example, that of the Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich on the golden chain, presented at the exposition, and the title of Emperor Nicholas II, which involved over fifty names.
Maps, representing the territory of Russia during several centuries, are worthy of particular note. Two of them came from the world's first geographical atlas, created by the Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius. The other one, compiled by diplomat and researcher Isaac Massa, presents the Northern part of Russia in the first half of the 17th century, including Obdoriya region in Siberia, which has been included to the list of lands stated within titles of the Russian sovereigns since the 16th century. The growth of interest to cartography in the 17th century is revealed through outstanding artworks bearing various images of cities, maps of newly discovered lands. For example, one of the exposed items — the golden snuff-box — is decorated with a miniature portrait of Empress Catherine the Great holding a map in her hand.
Two Easter eggs, presented at the exposition, were produced by the famous Fabergé firm. The one with a model of Trans-Siberian express inside is engraved with a map of the Russian state showing the Trans-Siberian Railway. The other one, commissioned to a renowned craftsman H. Wigström to commemorate the tercentenary of the Romanov House, contains a rotating globe with silhouettes of Russia of 1613 and 1913, demonstrating the extension of its boundaries throughout several centuries.
The Map of Russia. Milestones in History Exhibition runs until 15 March, 2015, in the Exhibition hall of the Assumption Belfry of the Moscow Kremlin.
Russian Sovereigns Portrayed in Steel Engravings Topic: Exhibitions
On 18 December, 2014 a unique exhibit featuring steel engravings opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg. The famous Zlatoust steel engravings are from the collection of the Zlatoust Museum of Local Lore, the Zlatoust arms factory and private collections in the Urals.
Zlatoust steel engraving – Russian folk art craft that originated at the beginning of the 19th century, in Zlatoust (Chelyabinsk region now). They absorbed rich traditions of Russian and Western European gunsmiths of the 7th-18th centuries, but soon the Ural engravers created their own original style of decorating weapons. Zlatoust weapons gained popularity not only in Russia but far beyond its borders. In the late 1830s, the factory began decorating the household appliances – a variety of caskets, trays, knives for cutting paper, cigarette holders, cigarette cases, hunting knives and hatchets, engraved tableware sets
Original art of Zlatoust steel engraving uses the miraculous properties of the metal, which can be detected by special processing. Used for decoration engraved tableware sets with pure gold, silver, nickel give products unique charm, grace, beauty.
The Ekaterinburg exhibit includes mainly items created between the 1930s to 1960s, plus works by contemporary artists. These include paintings on steel depicting nature scenes of the Urals, a variety of panels, various household items, jewellery boxes, picture frames, and unique engravings of the emperors and empresses of Russia.
The exhibit runs from 18 December, 2014 to 22 February, 2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg.
Exhibition: Unrivalled Wedgwood Opens in Moscow Topic: Exhibitions
The large-scale exhibition of the masterpieces manufactured by Wedgwood, a legendary British company, opens on 15 November in halls of the All-Russia Decorative Art Museum. The exhibition is a part of official program of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. The White Hall of the museum with the floor area of more than six hundred square meters will present artworks from the Lady Lever Collection (Liverpool) which never travelled abroad before, and unique and rare exhibits from collections of the State Hermitage, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. S. Pushkin, palace museums of Moscow and St. Petersburg suburbs (Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Peterhof, Ostankino, Kuskovo, Kolomenskoye estates). The main idea of this display is to show the impressive experience of Josiah Wedgwood, to illustrate the importance of innovative thinking in spheres of art, science and entrepreneurship. Visitors of the exhibition will be able to see original objects of impeccable taste, high quality, elegance and style produced by the Wedgwood Company which will be displayed in Moscow for the first time.
The exhibition will put together more than three hundred objects of highest esthetical value: jewelry, furniture pieces, costumes, works of painting and graphics from the XVIII – XIX cc. Among the unique exhibits of the display the visitors will discover one of the three marble fireplaces with Flaxman blue jasper plaquettes in its original form, porcelain plates with paintings by animalist George Stubbs, two oval medallions with portraits of Catherine II and Peter I (the unique nature of these porcelain plates and medallions is in their size and sophisticated manufacturing technology), pieces from the famous Green Frog service of Catherine II comprising almost a thousand of objects. Besides that, the exhibition will feature one of the most perfect reproductions of the famous Portland vase (the antique Roman original of it made in color glass was owned by Barberini Family, by Dukes of Portland – now it is kept in the British Museum) made in black basalt. A masterpiece of late Thomas Gainsborough, the Portrait of the Duchess of Cumberland, is another unique exhibit from the collection of the Lady Lever Collection, amazing in its virtuous performance, exquisite color scheme and noble model, one of the inimitable beauties of the period. Only one work of this master is represented in Russian collections.
Josiah Wedgwood, the creator of ceramic artworks, was simultaneously an artist, an inventor and a businessman. Wedgwood products came to symbolize British culture and turned into a standard of style. His business abilities and personal character helped him to launch a flourishing business, and support of influential persons helped to shape a brand which is still inseparably associated with such notions as “superb taste” and “English traditions” today. The exhibits of our display will cover an extensive range of topics associated with culture, science and organization of production: emergence of the company in 1759, manufacturing of products in ancient Greek and Roman styles, experiments with color and form, introduction of innovative technologies, issue of new pottery and creation of fashionable jewelry.
The Unrivalled Wedgwood exhibition in our museum will coincide with the Music of the Earth festival conducted by Boris Berezovsky, a piano player. The festival will become an annual event, and it will be devoted to musical cultures of different countries. The festival will form a sort of a musical accompaniment for the exhibition during the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. It will open on November 26 with a gala concert at the House of Music, and then four unforgettable recitals of star performers from Russia, England and Ireland will continue its program during the next four days at our museum.
Visitors of our exhibition will also be able to participate in the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 intense program which will accompany the main exhibition: lectures and round-table discussions, watching of films about Wedgwood, its time and fate, recitals of British literature works popular in the XVIII century, master classes, presentations of the Russian and the English tea party traditions, educational quizes. A special souvenir shop offering Wedgwood products will be open during the exhibition.
Unrivalled Wedgwood runs from November 15, 2014 – February 1, 2015 at the All-Russia Decorative Art Museum, Moscow.