Monday Lectures

Zoom lecture



24 January 2022


 The Abramtsevo Colony:

Arts and Crafts in late Imperial Russia

With Cynthia Coleman Sparke


In this lecture, we will trace the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement as it developed in the Art Nouveau period in Russia. We will see how key artists and patrons attempted to define and preserve a Russian national style against the forces of Western industrialization.


We will travel to the artistic colony at Abramtsevo new Moscow, where some of the Empire’s most distinguished artists – Ilya Repin, Mikhail Nesterov, Mihkail Vrubel, Valentin Serov, Feodor Chaliapin, Konstantin Stanislavsky ¬– gathered to share their beliefs and collaborate on joint projects: Architecture, music, theater, painting, textile, woodwork and ceramics expressed new turn-of-the-20th century ideals, as Russia hurtled towards Revolution and the end of Empire.


Cynthia is an independent researcher, author and lecturer on Russian pre-Revolutionary decorative arts, most notably on the House of Fabergé. She has run the Russian Department for Christie’s in New York and also worked for Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington DC. She also took part in the restoration project of the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Nicholas II’s last residence. Her book Russian Decorative Arts was published in 2014 by the Antique Collectors’ Club.

Mikhaïl Vroubel,

Volga Chimney, 1899

Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

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