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October, 24, 2012 - January, 27, 2013

the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
the Moscow Kremlin Museums in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum of London 

01# Portrait of King Henry VIII of EnglandThe exhibition, placed in the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, introduces the artistic heritage of the most flourishing and outstanding period in the history of England – the epoch of Tudors and Early Stuarts, who made a significant contribution to the development of the English state, nationality, culture and arts.

The project covers the history of the XVIth – early XVIIth century, the time of the the emergence of the royal court as an unparalleled center of power, ceremony, patronage and culture under the Early Tudors. The exhibition traces the main forms of the English court life with its etiquette and artistic taste, the development of which was closely related to the evolution of contemporary political and esthetic ideas, perceptions of power and the "style-ofrule" in Tudor and Stuart England. Ceremonial portraits of the distinguished rulers of the period – Elizabeth I, Jacob I and Charles I - are presented within the display.

As the most part of precious masterpieces from the royal collections of England were lost, sold or even melted down in the result of the mid XVIIth-century English Civil War, the exhibition in the Moscow Kremlin, which incorporates the extant historical monuments serving as "reflections" of the refined élite culture, is of great interest to the Russian audience.

The exposed masterpieces, revealing peculiarities of the everyday life and artistic tradition at the English royal court, were lent by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Collection, the Royal Armouries, National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery of London, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers of London, and several private collections. 

Among them are heraldic figurines, silver tableware, pieces of jewellery, antique clocks, ceremonial vessels, precious pieces of interior decoration.

The project explores the role of heraldry, precious silver plate, jewellery, expensive tapestries and sumptuous clothes as major forms of display of wealth and power at court. Arms and armour, the symbols of a social status, nobleness and might, are presented in the context of chivalric ideals, value system and the notions of honour in Tudor and Stuart England.

The most fascinating and unique form of visual art in the VIth–XVIIth century England - the portrait miniature – is also represented within the display. The "pictures in little", featured as highly personal, "secret" art, accentuating the sense of privacy, served as an ideal vehicle for the glorification of monarchs and demonstrated their subjects' loyalty.

The exposition also presents tapestries (arrases), embroideries, men’s and women’s costumes, accessories, drawings, textiles, rare books and prints by famous court poets and playwrights, including the first edition of Shakespeare’s works, the so called "First folio". The presented items are the delicate works of Italian Renaissance art and Baroque masterpieces, which give an insight into various aspects of the English court culture of the epoch.

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