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14 October 2017 - 26 January 2018

State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum and Heritage Site ‘Tsaritsyno’, Moscow

Organized by: State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum and Heritage Site ‘Tsaritsyno’


The Moscow Kremlin Museums participate in the exhibition organized in the Bread House of the ‘Tsaritsyno’ Museum and Heritage Site. The display is dedicated to one of the movements in orientalism—“Turkish style” (turquerie) in the Russian art. The layout includes more than 500 rare pieces of art from the collections of the leading Russian museums, libraries and private collections, which are mostly presented to the public for the first time. The aim of the exhibition is to show the historical distinction and artistic features of this phenomenon in the Russian culture. Its basic appearances are related to the time of the reign of Catherine II and the epoch when Russian romanticism flourished in the first half of the 19th century. 

The Moscow Kremlin Museums gave on loan unique works of art made by the Turkish masters.

Sabre presented at the exhibition was acquired by Emperor Alexander I in Constantinople in 1806. It is a fine example of the Turkish arms of the late 18th – early 19th century and at the same time—one of the fake antiques of that time, which were creating an image of mysterious, ancient, luxurious and beautiful Orient among Europeans, being sometimes far from reality.

An epee blade is a fine example of the combination of European forms and best achievements in Eastern technologies in the metalwork and arms decoration. It was presented to Emperor Alexander I by a native of Vyborg Ivan Marshal in 1820. Oriental blades were highly praised in Europe and Russia for their beauty and legendary quality.

Among the exhibits combining European techniques and elements of decoration with artistic Turkish traditions and tastes of the local elite is the watch with gold chain and gilded key. It was made by maker Nikolaki, likely Greek by origin and an apprentice to one of the Swiss watchmakers, a significant number of which settled down in Istanbul as early as in the 16th century, due to a great demand for clocks and watches in Turkey.

Another masterpiece is gold Panagia. Its central part was executed in Istanbul in the second half of the 17th century, while its top in the shape of an imperial crown and three silver-gilt pendants were made by the Russian masters in the second quarter of the 18th century, that confirms the existence of such works in Russia.

A silver basin on a low base is a quite rare sample of Oriental utensils made of precious metals. Basins of that kind made of silver or precious metals were traditionally used in the Turkish bath, hammam, along with another exhibit—wooden shoes, an appearance of which was to demonstrate living standards of their owners.

This exhibition continues series of successful projects by Tsaritsyno, dedicated to mutual relations between Russia and Eastern countries and opens pages in the history of the Russian–Turkish relations.