Aleksandr Krylov, Honoured Painter of Russia and Professor of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts
Aleksandr Krylov, Honoured Painter of Russia and Professor of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, saw self-interest in the museum staff who oppose the transfer of items back to the Church. “Contemporary curators are strikingly unlike their predecessors. Some of them wage a dogged and desperate struggle against the return of relics back to the Church, claiming that they can better preserve them. They need ‘Exhibits’… for it is a lucrative business for our museums to ‘loan out’ our collections of national art”, Professor Krylov wrote in an article published in” Живом журнале (Living Magazine). He said that precious artworks suffer harm during transportation, “there are cases of damage, known to a narrow circle of museum staff, but the information is not made public. This Irresponsible exporting of our artworks for foreign exhibition is profitable to the nomenklatura and top museum officials… there are hefty fees paid for major exhibitions abroad. Money and profit for the museum are placed before the [welfare of] priceless cultural treasures and relics of the people”, the article stated. Professor Krylov pointed up signs of “Satanism in relation to relics. They are deliberately desecrated, turned into exhibits and monuments… transformed into commodities for foreign exchange sales, the subject of ‘analysis’ or the ideological speculations of self-seeking art critics, they are exposed to unequivocal abuse”, Professor Krylov wrote. He drew a parallel with the times of militant atheism, “Things were selected at that time as ‘special physiological types’; they were used in the 1920s to promote Bolshevism, to bolster destructive forces whose aim was to prevent the resurgence of Orthodox Culture”. Krylov indicated that, particularly in the academic and curatorial spheres, there is a long-established point of view on the subject of assessing ecclesiastical items. “Its antiquity, rareness, and aesthetic features are the principal points in its evaluation. Moreover, and tellingly, the concept of the ‘sacred’ does not register at all, mentioned only in the form of historical anecdotes, philosophising theories, or reduced to an arrogant ironic comment”, he complained.
10 June 2010