The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Presents The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts under the Romanovs

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This highlights two hundred years of decorative arts under the Romanovs from the time of Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century to that of Nicholas II in the early twentieth century.  Many of the more than 150 objects in the exhibition were designed for public or private use of the tsars or other Romanovs. Others illustrate the styles that were prominent during their reigns. The Tsars’ Cabinet is on view through April 27, 2013.
“The Cummer is thrilled to share this important collection of Russian decorative arts with our community,” said Chief Curator Holly Keris.  “This exhibition encapsulates the rich tradition of porcelain, glass and enamel work that was prized by the Romanov dynasty. It also showcases the impressive luxury that was a crucial part of life at the Russian court.”
The items demonstrate the evolution of style from the European Classicism of the court of Catherine the Great, to the rich oriental motifs of mid-nineteenth century Russian Historicism of the Kremlin and the enamel work of Fedor Rückert and the firm of Ovchinnikov.
The exhibition includes many pieces from significant porcelain services made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, from the reign of Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great to Nicholas and Alexandra.  Visitors will see items featured at state banquets at the Kremlin and other Imperial Palaces, as well as items designed for the tsars’ private use aboard the Imperial yachts.  Among the rare items are two pieces from a service Catherine the Great ordered for her grandson, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, as well as pieces from services presented by Augustus III of Saxony and Frederick the Great to the eighteenth century Russian tsarinas.
The exhibition also features two hundred years of glassware, from a beaker from the time of Peter the Great to a vase made by the Imperial Glass Factory that the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna kept on her desk in Denmark after the Russian Revolution. Russian enamels from the late nineteenth century include a major jewel casket made by the Ovchinnikov firm and presented to Tsar Alexander III’s Minister of the Interior, as well as the work of Fedor Rückert and the work masters of the Faberge firm.
The objects exhibited provide a rare, intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of the tsars. The collection brings together a political and social timeline tied to an understanding of Russian culture. In viewing The Tsars’ Cabinet, one is transported to a majestic era of progressive politics and dynamic social change.
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