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June, 19 - July, 19, 2013

The Armoury Chamber

Organized by:
 the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Embassy of the Republic of Italy in Moscow

Saint GeorgeGuests of the Armoury Chamber have a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty and artistic merit of one of the most celebrated paintings of Andrea Mantegna - "Saint George", which is on loan to the Moscow Kremlin Museums from the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice. The exposition presents a remarkable masterpiece, created by the leading painter of the Early Renaissance in Northern Italy, recognized as a master of perspective and foreshortening, whose artworks have never been housed by any Russian museum.

The project has been initiated and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Italy in Moscow thanks to the activity of Mr. Antonio Zanardi Landi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Italy in Russia.

The subject for the exposition has been chosen in accordance with the Russian perception and adoration of such a highly venerated image of saint as that of the Saint George. Representation of the saint, passed down through the generations, has been widely distributed all over Russia since the time of the Golden Horde. At the close of the XIVth century the warrior, riding a horse and slaying the dragon by a spear, became a symbol of power and authority of the Moscow Principality. And nowadays the heroic image of Saint George still serves as an emblem for the coat of arms of Moscow.

The Mantegna's Saint George is depicted against the stony landscape; his figure within an incisively drawn outline is rendered with perfect perspective in the steady glare of light. Having been passionately interested in Antiquity the artist shared the philosophical ideas of Renaissance humanism; through his works he glorified a special type of a hero, honourable and fair-minded, physically developed and intelligent. His aesthetic intentions and particular expressive qualities of his paintings can be traced through the interpretation of the Saint George’s image. The painting is considered to have been created in the late 1450s, when Mantegna moved to Mantua and entered the service of Marquis Ludovico, thus becoming the official painter of the Gonzaga family; according to other theories the artist completed his “Saint George” in the early years of 1470s, after his visit to Tuscany in 1466. The names of the first owners of the painting still remain unknown. The painting was acquired by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1856 from the Manfrin collection and then transferred to the Venice Gallerie dell'Accademia.

The exposition with a masterpiece of one of the most distinguished artists of the Early Renaissance art, who made a significant contribution to the development of the unique style of the North Italian school of painting, is definitely worthy of visiting.