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May, 20 - August, 01, 2011

the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
   the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Ministry of cultural heritage and environmental conservation of Florence 

01# Coat of arms of the Medici - the heraldic bearings of Dukes of LorraineThe display, presented in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, is one of the gala performances organized within the series of exhibition projects, which are intended to present the world famous collections in the Moscow Kremlin. It introduces our visitors to magnificent rarities of the XVth-XVIIIth centuries from the Medici treasury. Today its major part is preserved in the Silver Museum in Florence, located in the in the Palazzo Pitti. For many centuries this palace has been the chief residence of the powerful dynasty. The Medici, having been both the ruling family of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737 and generous patrons of culture and the arts, initiated a phenomenon, that we now call "collecting", and managed to assemble a vast collection of precious artifacts, which has become a model for the succeeding generations of sovereign collectors as well as a prototype of future European museums. The fact that the flourishing city of Florence was considered to be an artistic capital of Italy during several centuries was to a large extent the merit of the Medici family. Without their patronage it is impossible to imagine the development of art collecting as well as the development of the Italian art from the Renaissance to the Age of the Enlightenment.

The foundation for the Medici treasury was laid by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici (1360-1429) and Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), who were the first members of the family to increase the wealth and political power of the dynasty. In their attempts to strengthen their position and settle public conflicts the Medici managed to operate with cultural heritage and artistic tradition as valuable political instruments and means of enhancing their popularity. Such a model of correlation between the authority and the arts, introduced by the Medici and used by the Popes of Rome later on, became a standard for almost all European sovereigns.

The exhibits, presented in chronological order, reveal an unsurpassed aspiration for the arts and "collecting" of all the Medici generations, from Cosimo I to Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, the last scion of the House of Medici, who handed the preserved Medici treasuries over to the authorities of the city of Florence.

The project was intended to explore the process and tendency of the development of the Medici’s collection, which turned out to contain a great number of artworks of high artistic merit, ranging in date from the time of the antiquity and Byzantine Empire to the epoch of Baroque. Each of the masterpieces represents not only the certain style and level of craftsmanship but also the mythology of the certain period.

The exhibition offers just a small part of the Medici rarities kindly lent by the above-mentioned museums. Portraits, depicting the representatives of all generations of the noble collectors, are displayed together with masterpieces of Dutch, Flemish, German and Italian jewelers. The art of stone carving is presented by ancient gems and imperial cameos, samples of glyptic art of the Renaissance masters, vases carved of lapis lazuli, porphyry and chalcedony. Last but not least should be mentioned the famous Florentine mosaics. Their manufacture was under the special patronage of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

Surrounded by such memorial and delicate exhibits brought from the famous Florentine museums our visitor have an opportunity to feel a special atmosphere of the "artistic capital" of the XVth-XVIIIth centuries, to learn more about the epoch and the very Medici family, members of which were both proficient politicians and prominent connoisseurs of art.

General partner of the project is Vnesheconombank