The State Museum of CeramicsRussian: Gosudarstvennyi muzey keramiki or Государственный музей керамики is the only ceramics-themed museum in Russia, boasting one of the best collections in the world. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of ceramic art in all its diversity. The museum’s collection displays artwork from ancient Greece and Rome, the ancient Near East, along with Western European and, of course, Russian creations. The museum takes special pride in its unique assortment of porcelain produced by Russian manufacturers Gardner, Popov and Safronov, and at the porcelain factories of GzhelRussian: Гжель.
Housed in KuskovoRussian: Кусково, one of Moscow’s most impressive 18th century estates, the exhibition is on display in the Big Stone OrangeryRussian: Bolshaya kamennaya oranzhereya or Большая каменная оранжерея, which is the largest pavilion in Kuskovo. Mass-produced items by Russia’s leading factories, creations of renowned masters, and unique artworks are all on view here. Exhibited items illustrate how aesthetic ideals changed over time. Today, the Museum boasts a collection of over 40,000 items.
THE EXHIBITION’S HIGHLIGHTS
A unique Empire style ‘Egyptian Dinnerware Set’ (1804–1808) from the Napoleon era produced by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory is one of the best known 19th century porcelain ensembles of the Museum’s collection. Dedicated to Napoleon’s French campaign in Egypt in 1798, images on the dinnerware and centerpieces are based on sketches and prints by a participant of the Egyptian campaign, Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747–1825), who was also a scholar, writer and painter, and the founder and first director of the Louvre. The Egyptian Dinnerware Set was originally intended to be used during special receptions at the Tuileries Palace in Paris, but it ended up in Russia by a quirk of fate: after Napoleon’s historical meetings with Russia’s Alexander IEmperor of Russia from 1801 to 1825 in Tilsit and Erfurt, the service was presented to the Russian Emperor as a gift to celebrate France’s newly forged alliance with Russia. The set remained in the imperial storehouses for over a century and was probably never used for its intended purpose.
The Museum hosts world famous, rare Chinoiserie-style pieces of work, produced at the Meissen factory and characterised by the implementation of Chinese medieval artistic motifs and techniques into European artwork. Another highlight of the Ceramics Museum is the world’s largest unique dinner set decorated with exotic sceneries and fanciful animals by German painter Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck (1714–1754).
The oldest dated Russian porcelain piece, a candy dish, was manufactured by the inventor of Russian porcelain, Dmitry Vinogradov in 1748 at one of Russia’s leading enterprises, the Imperial Porcelain FactoryRussian: Imperatorskiy farforovyi zavod or Императорский фарфоровый завод in St. Petersburg. Other items produced at the same factory and now on view at the Museum include pieces of early dinnerware sets intended to be used in imperial palaces or by dignitaries, such as pieces of a dinnerware set owned by Empress ElizabethEmpress of Russia from 1741 until 1762 and a gorgeous porcelain piece that belonged to Count Grigory Orlovthe favorite of Empress Catherine the Great (1734–1783), along with more recent porcelain figurines from the ‘Peoples of Russia’ series.
Some of the most valuable items ever acquired by the Museum include works by members of Mir IskusstvaRussian: Мир искусства, or World of Art, a Russian artistic movement (1898-1924), Russian avant-garde art and Suprematism, including M. Dobuzhinsky, K. Malevich, W. Kandinsky, B. Kustodiev and others, as well as ceramic works by renowned painter Mikhail Vrubel.
Of special importance is the collection of the Ceramic Art LaboratoryRussoan: Khudozhestvennaya keramicheskaya laboratoriya or Художественная керамическая лаборатория that was affiliated with the Museum during the late 1920s and early 1930s, which carried out experiments with new forms and technologies used in ceramics.
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THE CREATION OF THE MUSEUM
A collection of Russian porcelain of over 2,600 items, which belonged to A. Morozov before its nationalization in 1918 formed the basis of the Museum. The Museum’s modern glass and ceramics collections grew during the 1920s and 1930s, with exhibits having being purchased or received as gifts from artists and collectors and acquired at art exhibitions or major porcelain, ceramics and glass factories in Leningrad, Dmitrov, Dulevo, Dyatkovo, amongst others. The de facto founder of the Museum, Alexander Morozov (1857-1934), was an outstanding collector. A descendant of the widely known Old Believer merchant family of Morozov, he started to build his collection as soon as he came into his inheritance. He was fascinated with porcelain, Russian engraved portraits, icons, and other works by Russian artists. The entire Morozov HouseRussian: dom Morozova or дом Морозова on PokrovkaRussian: Покровка (21 Podsosensky LaneRussian: Podsosenskiy pereulok or Подсосенский переулок) was filled with various works of art. Morozov was not only a collector but also a researcher: he personally ensured the authenticity of nearly every item in his collection. From the outset of his work as a collector, Morozov dreamt of compiling a socially important collection and offering it as a gift to the City of Moscow.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com