MAIASP. 2020. No. 12

O.A. Tuminskaya (Saint Petersburg, Russia)


DOI: 10.24411/2713-2021-2020-00032 

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Pages: 10391054

This article focuses on the exhibition history of collections of the Christian Antiquities Section (1898—1914), the Antiquarium (1914—1918), the Old Russian Art Section (1918—1925) and the First Section of the Art Department of the Russian Museum (1925—1928), where items of civil and religious heritage of Old Rus' were exhibited to public. Artifacts and icons of Byzantine origin held a special of place among the exhibits. By the time of inauguration of the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III, which took place in March 1898, the exhibitors realized that the entire array of items should be allocated among the rooms not just chronologically, but also taking into account the aspects of their creation and provenance. Thus, objects of Byzantine origin were considered as part of Christian culture and a preliminary stage of ancient Russian art. In 1928, for the first time, Byzantine art appeared as an independent phenomenon and one of the halls of the first floor of the Russian Museum was called the “Byzantine Room”. The importance of this unique exhibition is evidenced by the surviving archive photos. Such an exhibition would be impossible nowadays for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Russian Museum has lost its Byzantine collection. In the 1930-s, Italo-Greek and Byzantine icons were transferred from the Russian Museum to the State Hermitage, where some of them are exhibited permanently.

Key words: Byzantine art exhibition, the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III, Christian Antiquities Section, the Antiquarium, A.P. Smirnov, L.A. Matsulevich.

Received July 25, 2020

Accepted for publication August 10, 2020

About the author:

Tuminskaya Olga Anatolyevna (Saint Petersburg, Russia). Dr. habil. (Arts), State Russian Museum