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The unique exhibition from the Hermitage collection opened in London's Somerset House
The unique exhibition from the Hermitage collection "Around a square: avant-garde chinaware from revolutionary Russia" opened in London's Somerset House. It features the great variety of colors, subjects and styles. About 300 china articles and 70 sketches of 1918-1930s are presented in Great Britain for the first time, Rossiiskaya Gazeta said. The exhibition is organized by the Hermitage, the Courtauld Institute and the Russian Financial Corporation URALSIB. "The British are interested in the revolutionary period in Russia's history and are friendly with Russians," said Lord Rothschild, head of the Hermitage Development Trust. The highlight of the exhibition are showpieces from the porcelain museum, a new branch of the State Hermitage based on the prestigious historical collection of the Lomonosov porcelain factory. It was based in 1744 by Empress Elizabeth, Peter the Great's daughter. During Catherine II's reign it was named the Imperial porcelain factory. A museum was created to mark the factory's 100th anniversary in 1844. According to professor Mikhail Piotrovsky, State Hermitage director, during the 1917 revolution crowds of avant-gardists came to work at the factory, which formerly invited only traditional artists. Thus, the traditions of the Imperial factory and avant-gardism were blended. Suprematist artists Kasimir Malevich and his followers Nikolai Suyetin and Ilya Chashnik emerged at that time. Abstract geometrical figures, squares, circles and crosses, were used to decorate chinaware. Malevich's famous white porcelain cups with rectangular handles are presented at the exhibition. According to Dr. Alexandra Gerstein, experts at the Courtauld Institute, the plate "Cubical Moscow" by Ivan Alekseyev and porcelain figures of the series "Months" by Vasily Kuznetsov are the pearls of the exhibition. A special section of the exhibition is dedicated to the propaganda art. It includes works by Sergei Chekhonin and Zinaida Kobyletskaya ("Lenin's Portrait", "Decembrists" etc.). "The most important aspect of this exposition is the preservation of legacy and traditions. The porcelain propaganda is relative because these articles were never sold in Russia. They were meant for the western world and were exported overseas," said professor Piotrovsky. However, he believes that this unique collection demonstrates "the triumph of traditions, which survived the revolution and got some new features". The exhibition will be running until July 31, 2005.
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