Oriental Russia

The Groninger Museum in Groningen presents an exhibition about the unknown Russia and the wealth of its nineteenth century Orient, that had developed before the destruction of this high culture by Communist rule. Various paintings and drawings will elucidate the influence of the Russian Orient upon painting of the nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries. While simultaneously the work of the painters that these oriental counties produced will be shown. The exhibition tells the story of the (art-) historical link between Russia and its southern neighbours: Uzbekistan (formerly Turkistan), the Caucasian countries (Georgia, Armenia) and the Crimean peninsula – a link that is characterized by fascination for oriental traditions and a succession of wars of conquest. Of course, these countries also had their own contemporary artists, who displayed their interpretations of the rich traditions of their country, which continued to develop during Russian rule. The themes featured in this exhibition are: allegory (the way in which Russia saw its neighbours), travel impressions, war reports, everyday life in the Russian Orient and the biblical East. It also puts the relevant relations and possible political tensions into perspective.