I am pleased to announce the launch of the web exhibition: “Beneath the Covers: The Art of the Imperial Russian Book.” The majority of the books in this exhibition present a visual survey of publications that received official and elite sponsorship during the reigns of Peter the Great (r. 1696–1725) to Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917). Often printed for special occasions, these titles mirror the major cultural events and movements in tsarist Russia.
The exhibition presents examples of middle of the nineteenth century printing and illustration technologies—primarily chromolithography—which allowed for oversized, illustrated volumes and large print runs.
The viewer is invited to explore these works through eight categories, including secularization of Russian society, travel and exploration of Russia and its empire, architecture, antiquities, royalty, and the military. The exhibition features a chronological overview, bibliography, and information about the printing techniques used. The categories emerged from the common themes featured in the selections, which are drawn mainly from art libraries in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding region.
“Beneath the Covers: The Art of the Imperial Russian Book” was made possible by the American Association of Museums’ International Partnerships Among Museums (IPAM) and the Washington Art Library Resources Committee (WALRC) and is hosted by Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.
Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives
Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646