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8 September 2017 – 14 January 2018

Kaliningrad, Museum of the World Ocean

Organized by: 
The Moscow Kremlin Museums
The Moscow Kremlin Museums

05#Икона «Богоматерь Одигитрия» (Обрадованная)

The Moscow Kremlin Museums in the framework of a joint programme with PJSC LUKOIL created an exhibition dedicated to both Supreme and Royal patronage of seafaring and seafarers, especially for the Museum of the World Ocean in Kaliningrad. Over a hundred unique items of the 15th to the early 19th century from the Moscow Kremlin Museums' collection will be on display. The display is remarkable for a substantial variety of pieces—icons, tapestry portraits of the emperors, awards, cold arms, precious vessels, medals, coins, watches, snuffboxes, calipers, inkstands as well as blankholders from the cabinet of Emperor Alexander I.

The ideas of heavenly patronage upon the voyagers are reflected in the devotional art works of the 15th–19th centuries. Before departing for a long journey, people usually prayed before the image of the Saviour. A small-scale Deesis tier could be a travelling icon, accompanying the owner in dangerous sea voyages. More commonly, the prayers for the intercession in sea voyages were addressed to Our Lady. The earliest image of Our Lady, presented at the exhibition, dates back to the last third of the 15th century. It belongs to the Hodegetria type of icon, literally 'She who shows the Way' from Greek. One of the key points of the exhibition is images of St Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the patron of the travellers and sailors.

In the epoch of Peter the Great, which is the late 17th to the first half of the 18th century, the veneration of St Andrew, the First-Called, was of particular importance. The first Russian order was named after the Apostle, whom Tsar Peter Alexeevich considered to be his patron saint. The display presents items of that epoch’s reforms, i.e. a banner bearing the original design of the image of the badge of the Order of St Andrew, two banner pommels and the company officer’s badge with St Andrew’s Cross.

Another section of the display is dedicated to the Royal will to create the Russian Navy, as well as to the patronage of the seafaring. It includes periods of the reign of Peter the Great, Catherine II and Alexander I. Of particular value are the portraits of Peter I and Alexander I, made at the Saint Petersburg Tapestry Manufactory in the 18th–19th centuries, and a unique medallion with a carved amber portrait of Empress Catherine II.

The section devoted to Peter the Great presents commemorative medals; the tradition of making them was established during his reign. The appearance of commemorative medals was closely related to the creation of the Russian Navy, to military campaigns and victories, including the ones upon the seas. Of no less interest are the rarest samples of cold arms for sea battles, executed in different Russian armoury workshops.

A small group of exhibits is related to an outstanding event in the history of Russia and the country’s contribution to the development of geographical knowledge viz the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe under the command of Admiral I. F. Krusenstern and Yu. F. Lisyansky in 1803–1806.

The display is completed with the items from the Olympic service, one of the most perfect works created at the Imperial Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. Classical mythology provided subjects of the painting, and thus the name of the service. Napoleon Bonaparte presented this valuable porcelain set to Emperor Alexander I in 1807 to mark the conclusion of the Treaties of Tilsit.

This exhibition is a significant event for both Kaliningrad and the district in general, which history is closely related to the sea. Visitors will undoubtedly admire genuine masterpieces of Russian and foreign art, capturing the origins of the Russian naval glory.