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On the 1st of June 2016 The Moscow Kremlin Museums open the exhibition "Vasily Konovalenko: A Sculptor of Gems" in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace. On display are gem-carving masterpieces by Vasily Konovalenko (1929-1989), a remarkable artist, sculptor, stone-carver and jeweller. The visitors will see his works from The Moscow Kremlin Museums, the "Samotsvety" (Gems) State Museum, the Gohran (Russian State Precious Metals and Gems Repository), the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (Colorado), as well as the pieces from the artist’s family collection in Vienne and New York and different private collections displayed in one place for the first time.

Vasily Konovalenko was the pioneer craftsman honoured with a personal exhibition at one of the leading state museums in the Soviet period. His first exhibition was held in the State Russian Museum in 1973, and aroused public, media, writers and artists’ great interest. Now, more than 40 years later, the Moscow Kremlin Museums pay tribute to the master, who had revived traditions of making sculptures from hard stones, like the famous House of Fabergé and Alexey Denisov-Uralsky. Vasily Konovalenko’s talent is often compared to Carl Fabergé. Their artworks are always original and have a unique Russian sense as well as virtuosity of technique. The artist worked as a stage designer at the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Theatre in St. Petersburg, producing sets for classic operas and ballets together with the renowned Simon Virsaladze. The ballet "Stone Flower" by Sergey Prokofiev inspired him to start working with Russian precious and semi-precious stones. Having discovered the best qualities of gems, Vasily Konovalenko created a series of remarkable characters, both historical and folk. He was eager to understand a mysterious nature of stones, considering that "one could learn art from them".  Gems gave him ideas either of design or themes for his sculptures. With a remarkable love the artisan was creating villagers occupied with their daily routine. Vasily Konovalenko didn’t appeal to theoretical ideas of socialism, rather to simple and expressive everyday life of common people seen by the sculptor in his childhood in a small village.

Vasily Konovalenko had to immigrate to the United States in 1981, where he became popular and had solo exhibitions. His masterpieces are preserved in museums and private collections of New York and Los Angeles as well as in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the United States' largest museum of natural sciences.

On display are more than one hundred works by Vasily Konovalenko, including stone sculptures, drawings and theatrical sketches. Besides, the visitors would have a chance to see the "speaking" fragments of the master’s unfinished works, such as Vladimir Lenin’s cap and boots.

The exhibition will be held from 1 June 2016 until 31 August 2016.

 
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