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November, 30, 2012 - March, 04, 2013

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (the Dresden art collections), Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe), Royal Palace (Residenzschloss)

Organized by:
the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (the Dresden art collections)

Half-length portrait of Tsar Peter the GreatThe exhibition covers the period from 1547, the time of Ivan the Terrible's accession to the throne, to 1712, when a new capital was established by Peter the Great in Saint-Petersburg. It is intended to reveal main features and peculiarities of the Russian XVIth and XVIIth century court life with its own ceremonials and etiquette. As the Russian state has been developed under the influence of West European and Eastern countries and due to expanding political and trade relations with foreign countries the Russian court was regarded as a crossroads between western and eastern cultures. Most part of the exposition is occupied by the production of the Kremlin workshops of the XVIth-XVIIth centuries, which represents a specific combination of European and Oriental tastes with ancient Russian artistic traditions. The group of masterpieces includes the behterets (a type of plated chain mail) of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich.

The exposition incorporates arms, armor, ceremonial horse trappings, jewellery pieces crafted in Turkey and Iran in the XVth-XVIIth centuries and brought to Russia as diplomatic gifts to Tsars. Articles worthy of particular note are those from the set of "Grand Attire" – the saadak (bow case and quiver) and sabre.

A special place within the exhibition is occupied by the collection of West European silverware. Having been made of precious metals and finished with various techniques these artworks were used for interior decoration and representation of the Tsar's wealth and power at the court. Here you can observe the German silver vessels, brought to Russia as diplomatic gifts from the European monarchs. Placed in a special cupboard-dresser "postavets", the precious utensils served much the same purpose as did the state regalia of the Russian sovereigns. In a way, the German masterpieces have introduced European artistic tradition and styles of metal processing to the Russian craftsmen, which influenced the development of jewellery-making and arts-and-craft in the country.

Exhibits of great historical and artistic value are the implements intended for official state ceremonies, church utensils, sacral objects as well as memorial items, which had belonged to Tsars of the Romanov dynasty, and personal belongings and vestments of the clergy.

The exposition also includes two outstanding exhibits from Germany – a golden drinking laddle (dipper) of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, which nowadays is being preserved in Dresden, and an amusing sapphire in the form of a nose, which had been granted by Tsar Peter the Great to Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony.

Such remarkable exhibits, represented together, illustrate one of the most interesting pages in the history of the relations and interactions between Russia, East and West.