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The Russian Museum

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03 December 2014 - 23 March 2015
Benois Wing

The exhibition, which presents about 600 works, is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the opening of the "Drevlekhranilishe" (Archive of monuments of Russian icon-painting and ecclesiastical art) in honour of Emperor Nicholas II. By the moment of presenting the Archive to the public Russian Museum already possessed a large collection of works of religious art and antiquities, which have been formed since the creation of the museum. The largest part of this collection was the big group of monuments from the Museum of Christian Antiquities of the Imperial Academy of Arts, which was given to the Russian Museum in 1897 with its full complement. In the followong years significant private collections of V.A. Prokhorov, V.V. Vereshchagin, A.A. Vasilchikova, P.V. Sinitsyna and others were taken for the conservation in the museum. In 1909, when P.I. Neradovsky took up the post of the chief curator of the Art Department, numerous expeditions to the monasteries and churches were arranged, and in 1912 the collection of icons and objects of applied arts was presented to Nicholas II by antiquarians and restorers from Moscow.

The exhibition is aimed to illustrate the main stages of collecting monuments of ecclesiastical art in Russian Museum in 1897-1914. The exhibition brings together masterpieces from different collections, received and acquired in this period. The pieces are exhibited in groups, according to the collections they came from, while the design imitates the atmosphere of the first museum exhibitions of 1898 and 1914. For the first time after the opening of the Archive a single exhibition brings together monuments that were shown in 1898: an ancient wooden carved pulpit, carved Royal doors, copper lampad of Korsun from Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod, a chapel-icon case from the Resurrection Cathedral in Romanov-Borisoglebsk (XVII cent.) and sculptures of the "elders" from ancient monasteries in Novgorod. Another room represents the view of the "Drevlekhranilishe" in 1914, with iconostasis, polycandelon, lecterns and candlestocks, as well as archival photographs of the Archive halls.

The exhibition is supported by Sistema Charitable Foundation