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Russian distaffs

6 july 2001—15 september 2001
This exhibition acquaints the public with the museum's rich collection of distaffs from various regions of Russia. The collection was created by several generations of keepers at the Russian Museum. Distaffs are sticks traditionally used to hold the fibres for spinning. The display includes works from north-west Russia (St Petersburg, Novgorod and Olonets Provinces), north Russia (Archangel Province, Onega Peninsula and the River Mezen) and the vast hinterland of Vologda Province along the River Sukhona, Northern Dvina and their tributaries. Another major region of distaff manufacture is the Volga region - Yaroslavl and Nizhny Novgorod Provinces - where traditional distaffs were made as works of art. The manufacture of distaffs was largely confined to local districts. Master carpenters and joiners made distaffs for their wives and daughters. Young girls received their first distaffs from their fathers. Fathers presented future brides with specially decorated works, lovingly made with their own hands or commissioned from a local master. The distaff was also a popular present from a husband to his wife, expressing his love and gratitude. Old distaffs were treasured as mementoes of late mothers and fathers. Surviving works are now monuments of folk culture and art, chronicling the former way of life of the Russian countryside. Incorporating the rich traditions of rural workmanship and ornamentation, distaffs are often supplemented by images of festive and genre scenes. Each work is unique; similar distaffs are not even encountered within the bounds of a single type.
Exhibitions
Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life

Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life

16 december 2022—12 june 2023

The Russian Museum exhibition project Artists on War and Peace can be seen as a diptych comprised of two exhibitions: Images of Military Life in Russian Art of the 16th to 20th Centuries and Home and Family. Images of Peaceful Life. They explore two existential aspects of human life perceived as polar opposites. The first half of the diptych features scenes of everyday life during wartime, while the other focuses on the theme of the home and family as guardian of the moral values of the Russian people.

Images of Military Life in Russian Art from the 16th to the 20th Centuries

Images of Military Life in Russian Art from the 16th to the 20th Centuries

20 october 2022—9 may 2023

Images of Military Life is an extensive exhibition featuring icons, paintings, sculptures, and applied and decorative artworks from the 16th through 20th centuries, most of them extracted from the museum’s repositories. It continues the Russian Museum’s time-honoured tradition of offering the public, from time to time, a broader perspective on its treasures and the magnitude of its collections.

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Collection highlights
Collection highlights

The collection of masterpieces, chosen by the Russian Museum will allow you to make a first impression of the collection of the Russian Museum.

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Virtual tours

Russian Museum - one of the world's largest museums and is perhaps the only country where such a full treasure of national culture are presented.
Virtual tour of the museum complex. 2009 (Rus., Eng., Ger., Fin.)

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