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11 October 2016 – 10 January 2017

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Organized by:
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

3# Nautilus Shell Standing CupThe Moscow Kremlin Museums participate in the exhibition “Fascination of Reality. Dutch Burgher House Interior of the 17th Century” which will be held at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition is dedicated to the burghers’ house and its special role in life and culture in the 17th century Holland. On display are paintings by masters of the Dutch Golden Age, gold, silver, porcelain and glass artworks, as well as pieces of furniture – as all these things were an essential part of a burghers’ house and object of their owners’ passion and vanity.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums gave on loan three items created by Dutch makers of the 17th century, i.e. tazza, dish and standing cup. This piece was made in 1647 by Cornelis Meyer, a silversmith from Amsterdam. The shape and name of the tazza derived from Italy, where it was used as a wine cup, while in Holland and other countries of Northern Europe it was used for serving fruits and sweetmeats. The tazza on display is the only artwork of this master preserved in the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums.

A silver dish adorned with chased images of birds and flowers was created by Hendrik Plappart in 1662. This master was born in Nuremberg in 1622 and worked in Amsterdam in 1656-1680. Dutch silversmiths used designs and ornamental motifs of engravings and albums with drawings of flowers and birds which were popular in the art world. Images of birds were also to remind of a ‘poultry yard’ – a favourite subject of the 17th century Dutch artists. The exhibit from the Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collection belongs to the type of a dish for serving food or presents. It was acquired by the treasury of Russian tsars as a gift from the Dutch Embassy of 1665 which is testified by engravings on the reverse side of the object.

A nautilus shell standing cup with a figure of Andromeda on a cone of a shell is an excellent example of an exotic material used to create jewellery pieces. Thanks to the Geographical Explorations of the 15th – early 16th centuries, Europeans got to know the flora and fauna of the Orient, Africa and America. Thus, pieces executed of exotic natural materials came into fashion. As a result, this naturalia gained its place among precious stones and was widely used by jewellers creating ceremonial artworks and different kinds of palatial interior decorations. These rarities, in particular, were a pride of the first ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ (Wunderkammer) which appeared in the palaces of kings and nobility. They were luxury pieces representing the owner as a wealthy and educated man. Along with other artworks, the nautilus shell standing cup belongs to a beautiful collection of vessels with sea shells of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. The collection was formed over the years and is tightly linked to the tradition of accumulating rarities in the royal treasury. A major part of artworks of the 16th – 17th centuries were created by German and Dutch masters and brought to Russian tsars as diplomatic gifts from Europe.