I vividly remember the day that the Berlin Wall came down. As I watched those incredible images of Berliners breaking the wall apart, I was keenly aware that this literal and figurative breakthrough signaled the end of the Cold War.
The Cold War was really all I had ever known of Russia. As a kid, the movies I went to were filled with moustache-twirling Communist villains, and Russian history in our American textbooks more or less began with the 1917 Revolution.
So when I visited the Bob Jones Museum and Gallery at Heritage Green
this week, their new exhibit was something of a revelation.
Rublev to Fabergé: The Journey of Russian Art and Culture to America, traces 600 years of Eastern European history in an exhibit featuring the museum’s stunning collection of Russian icons.
The exhibits are displayed along a timeline that not only traces key historical events but the creation of Russian culture. The exhibit begins with the work of a master iconographer born in the 14th century, Andrei Rublev, and ends in a Russia ruled by the ill-fated imperial family, the Romanovs, who were summarily killed in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
The highlight of the exhibit hails from the romantic era of the House of Romanov: Fabergé’s Imperial Red Cross Easter Egg. The famous Fabergé Imperial Easter eggs were created by craftsman Carl Fabergé and were given by Alexander III and Nicholas II as gifts to their wives and mothers at Easter. Only 50 of these priceless eggs were made, and only 42 of them survived the revolution.
This rare egg was created in 1917, during World War I, and is uniquely unadorned. While most of the Fabergé eggs are lavishly bejeweled and decorated, this one is much more plain, in keeping with a feeling of wartime austerity. Similarly, the Red Cross theme honors the war effort and the contributions the Grand Duchess had made to the organization. The egg is also notably (and perfectly suited for this exhibition) the only Fabergé egg that includes a Russian icon.
As with all of the Heritage Green exhibits at Bob Jones Museum and Gallery, the upstairs exhibit space is filled with fantastic hands-on, interactive exhibits connected to the main theme. Kids and adults will have fun learning about the Ballet Russe, life in a traditional Russian home, and the artistic conventions of the haunting faces of Russian icons.
Bob Jones Museum and Gallery on Heritage Green is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students, and free for children 12 and younger. If you have the time, ask about a joint ticket that also includes an admission to the larger museum on the Bob Jones campus.
for more information.