DARMSTADT.- The comprehensive cultural and historical review entitled Russia 1900. Art and Culture in the Empire of the last Tsar with numerous masterpieces from the realms of painting, sculpture, arts and crafts, architecture, furniture, stage design, fi lm and photography is the exhibition event marking the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 on Darmstadts Mathildenhöhe.
This exhibition allows us to experience one of the most exciting chapters of cultural history at the turn of the century: Russia of the last Tsar, an empire in full cultural fl ower, vast in extent, dynamic in economic power, yet dedicated to decline. The great cultural and historical arch of this international exhibition spans the period from the crowning of the Tsar in 1896 to the October Revolution of 1917, with treasures on loan from St. Petersburg, Moscow, London, Berlin, Strasbourg and Paris. Famous works but unexpected ones too, from Repin, Vrubel and Kandinsky to Tatlin and Malevich, tell the story of a period as spectacular as it was dramatic. In the reign of Nicholas II., cultural life is permeated in a unique way by suspenseful movements of renewal: the artistic spectrum ranges from the stressing of cultural roots in the neo-Russian style, through Western-infl uenced Art Nouveau to the international avant-garde of stage design that sets pictorial beacons alight in a time of radical upheaval.
The unrepeatable panorama on Darmstadts Mathildenhöhe reveals close dynastic ties between the Grand Duchy of Hessen and the Russian ruling family. The Russian church on Mathildenhöhe is in this respect both historic testimony and an artistic jewel of inestimable quality.