Between 30 November 2019 and 8 March 2020, the exhibition 'Peter the Great. Collector, Scholar, Artist' will take place at the Moscow Kremlin Museums. The show is expected to become a major international collaborative project between Russian and European museums holding the objects closely associated with the person of Peter the Great. The exhibition will become a first nationwide project to coincide with 2019-2022 celebrations of Peter's 350th birthday across Russia.
The era of Peter the Great has been traditionally associated in the public mind with major government and administrative reforms, the establishment of the regular army and navy, victories in the Great Northern War and radical transformations in the life of the Russian society. To a much lesser extent, Peter I is known as the patron of sciences and arts, a collector, and founder of the first Russian public museum.
For the first time, the exhibition mounted by the Moscow Kremlin Museums will focus on the significance and revolutionary nature of Peter's reforms in the field of art and sciences patronage, providing visitors with a new opportunity to learn of amazing new worlds that Peter I discovered in the course of his travels. The activity and initiatives of the first Russian Emperor gave Russia the opportunity to look afresh at the world and its place in it.
The exhibition will feature about 200 exhibits: mementoes, unique archival documents, regalia, ceremonial arms and armours, outstanding jewellery masterpieces, paintings, graphics, sculptures, glyptics, as well as medals and coins. All these works will set the viewers on a journey to discover new character traits in the personality of Peter I. Visitors will be shown scientific instruments once owned by the Russian Emperor, items from his “Chinese” and “Siberian” collections, as well as rare printed folio editions and drawings chronicling the scope of Peter's artistic and scientific collections which became the core of his newly founded Kunstkammer (or Kunstkamera) collection. Moreover, the exposition will highlight Peter’s incontestable leading role in the establishment of the Academy of Sciences. Personally handcrafted objects and works of art produced by Peter the Great, now held in the museum collections across Russia and Europe, will also prominently feature on display.
Additionally, the exhibition will offer a vibrant comprehensive programme of educational and cultural events including lectures, seminars, interactive learning sessions for children and adults. A music festival Ambassadorial Gifts will take place for the whole duration of the exhibition and will be dedicated to the Tsar Reformer and his time. The programmes of the four festival concerts will feature performances of not solely musical but also literary works of the 18th – 20th centuries.
The objects on display were kindly offered by the Green Vaults Museum (Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden, Germany), the Amsterdam History Museum (Holland), the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, UK), as well as by such Russian museums, archives and libraries as the State Hermitage Museum, the Naval Museum (St. Petersburg), the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography named after Peter the Great (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg), the State Museum of Ceramics at the Kuskovo Estate, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, the Archives of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Academy of Sciences and the Library of the Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg).