Special project of the XXXIV Russian Antique Salon
In memory of the 400th anniversary of Romanovs Dynasty. Lunch at the Highest presence.
Exhibition of art menus of 1870s – 1910s from the collection of Sergey Ustinov.
Traditionally the Antique Salon presents non-commercial expositions aimed at preservation of national cultural heritage. The special project of the present Salon is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the election of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov to the throne. It presents one of the specific types of applied graphics - Russian artistic gala dinner menus of 1870s - 1910s. Growing fashion for this type of graphics (the first examples of which appeared in Russia in the late 1830s,) gives to both contemporaries and descendants a special type of gift that reflects a chronicle of historical events and celebrations of the last three reigns of the Romanov dynasty. Historical content and memorial value of these monuments are no less significant than their artistic merit.
The central section of the exhibition presents menus of coronation dinners, dedicated to the coronations of Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, which became a model for this form of art. Their motifs, created by the famous artists of that time - Viktor and Appolinariy Vasnetsovs, Albert Benois, V.Polenov, N.Karazin – embody the image of a fabulous feast “for the whole world”. Highest presence sanctified this all-social-estate holiday and made it a historic event. Next to each dinner set lay a menu that guests took as a keepsake of personal involvement in the historic dinner. Thus, the menu became a collectible at its very birth.
But by tradition, every Russian grand dinner was prepared as a feast for the whole world, and every guest was happy to recall it in the way “I was there, honey-beer drinking”. Beside the menus of the coronation lunches and dinners in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913, the exhibition will feature examples of artistic menus of almost all types of Russian gala dinners of that time: regimental, corporate, private, wedding, anniversary, farewell and welcoming, birthdays, Easter, diplomatic, student. Along with works of professional artists - A.Sharleman, N.Samokish, M.Zichi, L.Lagorio, I.Petrov-Ropet, E.Lipgart, I.Bilibin, B.Zvorykin, E.Bem, S.Yagouzhinskiy, I.Nivinskiy – there will be the works of the unknown artists and regimental artists, who created, at times, no less entertaining menu compositions for gala dinners.
The exhibits come from the collection of menus and small applied graphics of Sergei Ustinov.
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