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Culture news, 13.07.2004 13:25

Iran in the Hermitage. The creation of collections

iran_hermitage In the Peter Gallery of the Small Hermitage there are on display more than 300 paintings, sculptures, and works of applied art of Iran from ancient times to the end of the 19th century. Many items are being shown for the first time. At the same time the exhibition touches on a number of subjects relating to the history of Iranian culture that are being very actively pursued at present.

The material is organized by chronological order in four sections. The first section presents ancient and early medieval monuments that were created before Iran was drawn into the group of countries where Islam is the predominant religion (7th century), which brought about cardinal changes in the culture.

The second section of the exhibition displays works of the medieval, properly speaking Moslem period. The third section is devoted to the culture and art of Iran during the rule of the Qajar dynasty (1785-1925), when a strong Western influence was felt.

The fourth and final section presents works by Russian and also Western European artists who worked in Russia reflecting Russian-Iranian diplomatic relations.

Within the several sections the exhibits are grouped together either by type of material (paintings, various forms of applied art), which makes it possible to demonstrate most clearly how the collections in the Hermitage were assembled; or by common subjects, which makes it possible to show the main directions which study of Iranian art in the museum have followed..

The relations between Russia and the Iranian world are reflected in the Hermitage collections in all their diversity. The prehistory of Iranians cannot be understood without the unique Scythian monuments. An eagle from the Siberian collection of Peter the Great is one of the most vivid symbols of ancient Iranian art and of the magnificence of the Akhemenid state.

The Early Islamic Period is represented by excellent examples of metal chasing. The Seljuk Period is represented by a splendid collection of ceramic tiles decorated with cobalt and lustrous highlights that once were on mausoleums.

Diplomatic gifts and military trophies explain the appearance of a unique collection of Qajar art in the Hermitage. Of special interest are two monumental paintings brought from Iran to the Winter Palace in 1828, following the conclusion of the Turkmanchaisk Treaty. Essentially these are the only surviving examples of large format, multi-figure compositions that once decorated the palaces of the Qajars. One of them – The Review of the Troops by Abbas-Mirza, by Alla-Virdi Afshar - is included in the exhibition.

The exhibition puts on public display for the first time P.Ya. Pyasetsky’s painting Panorama of Persia on the route of Russia’s Extraordinary Embassy headed by A.N. Kuropatkin traveling from the city of Enzel to Teheran, 1895.

The Exhibition will go off till 22 August 2004

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