Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Exhibition of Russian Art from the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Collection Opens Near St Petersburg

Galina Vishnevskaya (1926- ) and Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007)


An exhibition of Russian art collected by the renowned Russian musicians Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya opens today at Konstantinovsky Palace outside St Petersburg. The grand Konstantinovsky Palace, once belonging to the Russian imperial family, is now a residence of the Russian president. It regularly hosts events of national and international importance and functions as a museum. Maestro Rostropovich’s widow, the celebrated opera diva Galina Vishnevskaya, approved of the exhibition venue. Konstantinovsky Palace is a perfect place for the display, she said, its premises allow for a most remarkable showing.


Mstislav Rostropovich performing Popper’s Dance of the Elves


The collection of 17th to early 20th century Russian art collected by the celebrity couple consists of nearly 900 items, including artworks by Karl Bryullov, Ilya Repin, and Valentin Serov, samples of antique furniture, and applied art works and jewellery. The collection of porcelain alone presents enough material for an encyclopaedia. Maestro Rostropovich and Ms Vishnevskaya started the collection in Paris, which was their home from the mid-70s, when they left the Soviet Union, until the 90s, when they returned. After the death of Maestro Rostropovich in 2007, Ms Vishnevskaya prepared the collection for sale at Sotheby’s, as was previously agreed with her husband, but, she was stopped by Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, who bought the lot complete and presented it to the state.

12 May 2008

Olga Bugrova

Voice of Russia World Service


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