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15 February – 15 May 2022

State Hermitage Museum 

Organized by

The State Hermitage Museum


Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg), State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg), V.I. Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute, The Moscow Kremlin Museums, Russian Geographical Society (St. Petersburg), St Petersburg branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Front page water-colour drawing to the “Condensed Information about Greek- Scythian Antiquities Found near Kerch in 1830” manuscript written by A.N. Olenin in 1832

The Moscow Kremlin Museums take part in a large-scale exhibition "In Search of the Ancient Bosporus. In Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Mikhail Rostovtzeff", organized by the Antiquities Department of the State Hermitage Museum, the project is dedicated to the study of cultural artefacts of the Cimmerian Bosporus — the ancient state of the Northern Black Sea region. Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtseff (1870-1952) was one of the researchers of the ancient Bosporan Kingdom, an outstanding world-known historian, antiquities scholar, specializing in the Ancient Black Sea region studies.

The exhibition features unique archaeological finds, graphics, documents and publications on the ancient Bosporus.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums gave on loan thirty-two drawings of the "Kerch and Phanagoria" antiquities, executed in the 1830s by a well-known artist and archaeologist Feodor Grigorievich Solntsev (1801-1892). His drawings of the Russian state antiquities, most fully represented in the graphic collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, are studied and published. That is the first exhibition to show ancient pieces of art, unique in their historical and artistic value.

Feodor Solntsev depicted antique archaeological discoveries mainly from Kerch — the ancient Panticapaeum. They are true rarities found in the tomb of the Kul-Oba mound in 1830, finds from the royal "burial with a golden mask" discovered in 1837 and several other archaeological items of the ancient Bosporus. The discovered objects entered the collection of the Imperial Hermitage, where they are kept to this day. Some of them can be seen at the exhibition with their images in the magnificent drawings by F.G. Solntsev. Before the advent of photography, his effort on recording ancient art pieces was unusually relevant for scientific, artistic and educational purposes. Alexey Nikolaevich Olenin, the director of the Imperial Public Library and president of the Academy of Arts, guided and supported the artist in this work. Alexey Olenin as an archaeologist and historian was involved in scientific research of Old Russian and ancient cultures, in particular, the ancient Kerch artefacts.

In 1882, Feodor Solntsev's drawings of antiquities and his "Antiquities of the Russian State" collection of drawings were transferred to the Armoury Chamber from the State Archive, located in the Moscow Kremlin. His paintings are characteristic of high artistic level and executed in watercolour using other techniques, making them different from classic watercolour paintings. The artefacts in these works are represented from different angles, with details, plot and decoration, which gives the most complete impression of ancient archaeological artefacts.