On 17 September 2021, the Moscow Kremlin Museums will launch the exhibition France and Russia: Ten Centuries Together as part of the cross-cultural year between Russia and France, highlighting their interregional cooperation. The project, dedicated to the centuries-long history of cultural and diplomatic relations between the two countries, will showcase over two hundred exhibits: memorial objects, archival documents and artworks from national Russian and European museums.

The exhibition staged by the Moscow Kremlin Museums will explore the history of Russian-French relations through intertwining fates of outstanding personalities: prominent statesmen, scientists, writers, artists, and craftsmen. The chosen approach aims at reconstructing the character of the relationship between the two countries as an immediate, multifaceted, somewhat contradictory, but an ultimately fruitful process for both parties.

The show opens with a unique charter, dating back to 1063 and recalling the important political event of the 11th century: the dynastic marriage of Princess Anna Yaroslavna, daughter of the Great Prince Yaroslav the Wise, to King Henry I of France. The charter, provided by the National Library of France, is believed to be the only surviving document, which bears the handwritten sign of the cross and monogram of the King Philip I with his mother's authentic signature ‘ANA RHNA’ (Queen Anne) placed underneath in Cyrillic letters. The visitors will also enjoy the rare opportunity of seeing the Reims Gospel – a unique illuminated manuscript of great cultural and historical significance. Generously offered for the exhibition by the Municipal Library of Reims, it will take centre stage among the key objects on display.

Among the later period pieces, featuring at the exhibition, is a drawing by artist J. Desmarets capturing Peter I and Louis XV in Paris on May 11, 1717 and presented to the Soviet leaders as a diplomatic gift in 1944, thus, commemorating the visit of Charles de Gaulle, the Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, to Moscow.

The development of the 18th century political dialogue between Russia and France is chronicled through paintings and sculptures, weapons, textiles and jewellery, commissioned for the Russian Imperial Court from famous French masters or created by prominent French artists invited to Russia. The passion for French art is evidenced by luxurious tapestries; the ceremonial dress of the young Emperor Peter II; the exquisite lacework adorning the gowns of Russian monarchesses; the pieces from the silver Paris set owned by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna; and the magnificent weapons, including a pair of pistols belonging to Emperor Peter II and made by the Arquebusier du Roi (royal gunmaker) Jean-Baptiste Laroche.

Portraits from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts will recreate a gallery of outstanding political and cultural figures from the reigns of Empresses Elizaveta Petrovna and Catherine the Great. The section on Catherine the Great's reign will showcase pieces from the legendary Orlov porcelain service executed by the Parisian silversmiths Jacques and Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers along with the precious desk clock with inkstand – the work of a Parisian master – that belonged to the Empress. Unique pieces from the collection of the Pavlovsk Museum and Heritage Site will hark back to Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna’s tours of Europe. The years preceding the Great French Revolution are epitomised by the rare memorial objects and are captured in the portraits painted by Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Queen Marie-Antoinette's favourite artist.

A special section of the exhibition is devoted to relations between Russia and France during the reign of Emperor Alexander I. Here, visitors will see a magnificent cased set of weapons made by the famous French gunsmith and bladesmith Nicolas-Noël Boutet – the gift presented to the Russian governor-general of Paris, Baron Fabian Gottlieb Fürst von der Osten-Sacken from the grateful Parisians. Another exhibition highlight is the Olympic porcelain service produced at the Sèvres porcelain factory and presented in 1807 by Napoleon to the Emperor Alexander I in commemoration of the Treaty of Tilsit. The star of the Order of the Holy Spirit, awarded to Alexander I by King Louis XVIII after the former’s victory over Napoleon and the restoration of the monarchy in France, is another showpiece not to miss! The exhibition will introduce visitors to the history of ‘Russian Nice’ and feature stories of the World Exhibition that took place in Paris in 1867. It will also offer insights into the process of strengthening of Franco-Russian friendship and formation of the Franco-Russian Alliance at the turn of the 19th century.

You can book your exhibition and lecture tickets on the Kremlin Museums website tickets.kreml.ru

The exhibition will run from September 17 – January 09, 2022

Further information
Contact the Moscow Kremlin Museum Press Office:

+7 (495) 695-41-87