St. Petersburg is ready to celebrate the end of the year holidays: the 30-meter tree is already in its place and decorated in Palace Square. Festive street lights and decorations appeared on the Moika River, around the central plazas and along Nevsky Prospekt. What better time to visit the Venice of the North?
Treat yourself to a gift: “The Nutcracker” at the Mariinsky Theater
Treat yourself to an evening of classical ballet at the Mariinsky Theater. The famous “The Nutcracker” with a choreography by Vasily Vainonen on the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky will be performed on several occasions at the end of December and the beginning of January with stars of international renown (Maria Khoreva, Alina Somova, Vladimir Shklyarov, original Xander Parish British) take turns on stage. You can also consider Johann Strauss’s festive operetta “Die Fledermaus” (sung in Russian) or Rodion Shchedrin’s modern opera “A Christmas Tale” (also in Russian with subtitles) as an added bonus. For more information and tickets, see the site here.
See Albrecht Dürer’s prints and engravings at the Hermitage Museum
A major exhibition dedicated to the 550th anniversary of the birth of this great engraver opened at the Hermitage Museum on December 7. The exhibition includes more than 400 works, mostly from the museum’s own collection, but with pieces on loan from the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts. and the State Tretyakov Gallery. The exhibition is housed in Nicholas Hall where in 1971, 50 years earlier, another exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth took place.
All of Dürer’s most important prints and series are on display, including his “masterful engravings”: “The knight, death and the devil”, “Saint Jerome” and “Melancholy”, as well as “The rhinoceros”, “Adam and Eve, ”Series“ Apocalypse ”,“ Great Passion ”and“ Life of the Virgin ”. There are also drawings and portraits of his teachers and apprentices there to place the collection in a larger context, as well as some decorative and applied art objects.
You can purchase tickets for tours 1 and 2, both of which include the exhibit here. Note that the museum is closed on January 1 but has extended working hours on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
For something quite special, you can listen here to pieces by MusicAEterna resident composers Alexei Retinsky and Andreas Moustoukis written specifically for meditative moments in front of particular engravings. Theodor Currentzis also promises to organize an educational program around the exhibition; see the MusicAeterna website for more information.
Be stylish with fashion photography
A very trendy show has just opened at the Hermitage Museum’s staff. Organized in collaboration with the Still Art Foundation, it presents the history of fashion photography from the second half of the 20e century and features original prints by photographers such as Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts. Fashion historian Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the Hermitage’s contemporary art department, organized this exhibition, which takes place in an all-white maze aptly called the White Room. The photographs range from famous black and white prints to lesser known recent fashion photos. Warning: it might be full of young bloggers and instagramers. Tickets are purchased at the General Staff building.
Get to Know Dostoyevsky Really at St. Michael’s Castle
At the Château Saint-Michel, you can visit an exhibition dedicated to the 200e birthday of the writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The exhibition, which was created by the Dostoevsky Literary and Memorial Museum, joins Dostoevsky’s biography in a very direct geographical sense, since he spent five years within the walls of the castle as a student of the School of ‘engineers. The concept of this exhibition is to recreate Dostoyevsky’s ideal museum and the works important to his work. Many of them, like Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” and Hans Holbein’s “Dead Christ”, are in European collections, so their reproductions are here. Besides the art that was close to his heart, there are objects that belonged to Dostoevsky as well as excerpts from his reflections on art and pieces of art criticism. If you want to understand the writer’s connection to art and gain new insight into his work, this is the place to go. You can buy tickets here, by clicking on Château Saint-Michel.
What is cosmism? To discover at the Russian Museum
This is an unusual exhibition featuring visionary works by Russian artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It features paintings and drawings by Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Pavel Filonov, Nicholas Roerich as well as lesser-known artists including Lithuanian Mikalojus Čiurlionis, whose works are presented as video projections at the interior of a spaceship. The works came from various sources, such as the Moscow Astronautical Museum. The show allows you to immerse yourself in the cosmic visions of painters and their models of how life on Earth and on other planets will develop in the future. There are drawings of cosmic cities and interplantar inhabitants, landscapes as well as abstract art linked to cosmism.
Many of the painters exhibited here have emigrated; those who remained in the Soviet Union were persecuted. It appears that fantasies about other planets were limited by official canon and otherwise were not welcome.
Tickets can be purchased on the Russian Museum website here; choose the Benois wing. Note: the museum is open evenings on Thursdays.