Feature Articles

February 2011

Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, Features Russian Art Collection

The Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery is presenting its newest interactive exhibition at its satellite location, M&G at Heritage Green in downtown Greenville, SC, as part of its 60th anniversary celebration this year. As one of the few American museums collecting Russian art in the mid-1900s, M&G reveals six centuries of Russian culture through a beautiful display of art from the Golden Age of Imperial Russia through its exhibition, Rublev to Fabergé: The Journey of Russian Art and Culture to America, which will be on view through Jan. 2013.

Of the more than 50 objects on display, 45 are part of M&G’s collection with more than 20 of the museum’s works once owned by members of the royal Romanov family and formerly displayed in their palaces, private rooms, and chapels. These hand painted, jeweled icons and unusual objects - once gifts to and from the Tsars, gracefully introduce a modern audience to a long lost era of Russian history, simultaneously revealing the unique avenue of how Russian iconography was gradually imported into the American culture of the 1930s.

A highlights of the show included an Imperial Fabergé Egg (a first for the SC Upstate), designed by the “Jeweler to the Tsars,” Carl Fabergé, a Fabergé icon and Fabergé frame with a picture of the last Romanov family from the Marjorie Merriweather Post collection at the Hillwood Museum & Gardens, and icons from some of America’s earliest collectors of Russian objects found in collections including Allegheny College, Rochester, and St. Louis art museums. The egg, on loan from the Cleveland Museum of Art was on display through January 2012. As M&G curator, John Nolan, notes, “The egg’s inclusion in this exhibit was especially appropriate since it is the only Imperial Easter Egg designed with a painted icon inside.” Fabergé’s Imperial Eggs are famous worldwide for their delicate craftsmanship, and with only 42 of 50 known to exist in the world, visitors to M&G at Heritage Green will gaze upon a rare work of art designed for the very highest of royalty - the Tsars of Russia.

The shocking deaths of the Russian Imperial family in 1917 generated strong artistic interest in aesthetic pieces belonging to the Romanov household. Ironically, the Soviet Government was eager to sell these national treasures, allowing the apex of Russian Imperialist art to be preserved by American collectors. M&G at Heritage Green presents a rich part of this priceless legacy, with works ranging from the gilt-silver icon The Resurrection (a gift to Tsar Nicholas I) to the radiantly-colored Commemorative Triptych, presented as a gift to Tsar Nicholas II in memory of his service in World War I.

This special exhibition is organized on a timeline that encompasses early 14th-century iconography beginning with Russia’s “Leonardo da Vinci,” Andrei Rublev and culminates with the 20th-century opulence of the Fabergé firm and his equals like Pavel Ovchinnikov.

Beyond experiencing the art, patrons of all ages immerse themselves in Russian culture through the interactive, engaging displays and vignettes on the second floor where guests experience and discover for themselves the traditions, personalities, language, and creative investment of some of Russia’s greats in literature, science, and the visual and performing arts.

M&G at Heritage Green is pleased to present a truly singular opportunity for every guest - an astonishing and beautiful glimpse of 600 years of Russian iconography, art, and expansive cultural impact.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for students. Children under the age of 12 attend free.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 864/770-1331 or visit (www.bjumg.org).


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