Holy Rus from the Adoption of Christianity to the Reign of Pyotr Veliki… such is the name of an exposition that will open at the Louvre in Paris. It shall concern itself with the history of the development and advance of Christian art in Russia. This exhibition in Paris, one that is expected to become one of the most significant events of the Year of Russia in France, will open in 2010. This monumental museum project shall give visitors a chance to learn more about the distant past.
After embracing Christianity at the end of the 10th century, Old Rus became a Christian state. The first blossoming of Christian art was during the time of 14th to the 15th-century. It is linked to the development of important centres of that time such as Novgorod, Pskov, Tver, and Moscow, where artists working in the monasteries later became well-known all over the world, including Monk Dionysius, Greek master Feofan, who lived and worked in Russia, and his great disciple St Andrei Rublyov.
The 16th century, when Russia became a powerful centralised Christian power, is regarded as the “golden age” of sacred art. Moscow, the capital of Russia, was often referred to as the “Third Rome”. Its historical mission in the world was the preservation of the Orthodox Church. The idea of the “Third Rome” found reflection in the architecture of churches. Besides, the exhibition provides information about the rule of Peter the Great, who carried out the radical reform of the Russian Orthodox Church, which led to other secular priorities in state policy. The opening of a “window into Europe” promoted the interaction between the Russian and the European cultural and spiritual traditions.
Russian and French representatives discussed the details of this project in the residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow. Patriarch Aleksei made a proposal to actualise the idea of the exposition. “The ideal of Holy Rus has not lost its actuality today. As before, it is regarded today as a moral and cultural landmark for millions of Russian Orthodox believers in this country and abroad”, the patriarch emphasised.
For his part, Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre Museum, said, “I’ve been in love with Russia for many years now, and it is very important for me that I can offer information about a great world we know so little about. There are only a few Russian facilities in France, and the lack of Russian art in Louvre is a great shock to me”. M Loyrette said that the first step to fill the gap shall be the exposition, Holy Rus from the Adoption of Christianity to the Reign of Pyotr Veliki.
26 March 2008
Voice of Russia World Service