Russia's Unknown Orient tells the story of Russia's (art-)historical bond with its southern neighbours: Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia and the Crimean peninsula. It was a bond that was characterized by a fascination for oriental traditions. The word 'Orientalism' has been in use since the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was a genre in painting which focused on themes such as the Middle East and North Africa.
Many topics are covered in this exhibition, including allegories, travel impressions, everyday life in the Russian Orient and the biblical East. The exhibition presents more than a hundred works by Vasili Vereshchagin, Martiros Sarian, Vasili Polenov, Niko Pirosmanashvili, Aleksandr Volkov, A. Nikolaev, Pavel Kuznetsov, Evgenii Lanseray and others.
In the past, the Groninger Museum has devoted several exhibitions to Russian art. In 2001 the Museum presented the extremely successful exhibition entitled Ilya Repin. Russia’s Secret, which was followed by Russian Landscape (2003), Working for Diaghilev (2004) and Russian Fairytales, folk stories and legends (2007).
To accompany the exhibition, a catalogue will appear with contributions by Dr Inessa Kouteinikova (guest curator) and by specialists from Russia, Canada and Europe, among others.