Exhibition | Between Orient and Occident: Kremlin Treasures

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 15, 2012

Press release from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

Between Orient and Occident: Treasures of the Kremlin from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great
Royal Palace, Dresden, 1 December 2012 — 4 March 2013

Curated by Ulrike Weinhold

Lidded dish Kremlin workshops, 1694, © Moscow Kremlin Museums

Lidded dish Kremlin workshops, 1694
© Moscow Kremlin Museums

The Residenzschloss (Royal Palace) in Dresden is home to two world-class museums, the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) and the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), while the Rüstkammer (Armoury), one of the most important collections of its kind, also has a significant presence here, with its Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber). Before the Rüstkammer opens the outstanding new presentation of another part of its collection here in the Riesensaal (Giants Hall) on 18 February 2013, the Residenzschloss hosts a museum organisation of international stature, the Moscow Kremlin Museums. From 1 December 2012 to 4 March 2013, the exhibition Between Orient and Occident: Treasures of the Kremlin from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great is being shown in the State Apartments, in surroundings where reconstruction work is as yet unfinished. There could hardly be a more appropriate place to hold an exhibition with this theme: like the Kremlin, the Residenzschloss, the very heart of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, is a place of encounter between Orient and Occident. In this unique special exhibition, the first ever to highlight the significance of the Kremlin as a crossroads of eastern and western cultures, around 140 outstanding exhibits are displayed in an area of some 700 sq. m. in all. Masterpieces by European goldsmiths, superb ceremonial weapons crafted by Persian and Turkish armourers, precious objects, splendid vessels and opulent garments are displayed alongside exquisite pieces produced in the Kremlin workshops, but clearly showing influences from beyond Russia.

The exhibition focuses on a clearly defined period, from 1547, when Ivan the Terrible (1530–1584) was crowned as tsar, to 1712, when Peter the Great (1672–1725) designated St Petersburg as the new capital of the Russian Empire. Magnificent objects acquired by the tsars, and sumptuous gifts presented by foreign emissaries from both west and east impressively demonstrate to today’s visitors the great power and wealth of Russia, and the significant role it played in the political and economic structures of that time. Inspired by works of art from abroad, the Kremlin workshops created treasures which are a synthesis of European and oriental taste and ancient Russian traditions.

The current exhibition is to some extent a reciprocal visit: in 2006, before the Grünes Gewölbe moved back to its original home on the ground floor of the Residenzschloss, it presented an exhibition in Moscow, entitled The Jewel Cabinet of August the Strong, hosted by the Kremlin Museums. The SKD already have close scholarly and scientific working relationships of long standing with these Russian museums, as well as with the State Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. This special exhibition, Between Orient and Occident: Treasures of the Kremlin from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great, is a major contribution to the continuing exchange between the respective museums. Finally, but not least, it is also a contribution to the Year of Russia in Germany and Germany in Russia 2012/13.

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