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20.March 2003

Black and White Petersburg
[Julia Demidenko, Alexander Kitaev]

foto: Alexander KitaevExhibition "Black and White Petersburg" opened on 19 March at the Leighton House Museum in London. Engravings, prints and black&white photographs show the changing images of the city of St. Petersburg over three hundred years, including examples of the detailed topography of St. Petersburg, the consecutive evolution of architectural styles and the principles of city building, as well a change in the perception of the city - from a dream of earthly "paradise" in the times of the Peter the Great to nostalgia for old St. Petersburg at the end of the 20th century.
The exhibition of Black and White Petersburg is part of an international program to celebrate the 300-th Year since the founding of St. Petersburg on the 27-th (16-th) May 1703. It is dedicated to a celebrated city as a tribute to a remarkable event, revealing St Petersburg in a form and medium that most compliments it. From the fixed historical panoramas to the poetic metamorphosis of the city, the viewer is transported back through the black and white mediums that reflect the misty, monochrome texture of the city's palette.
St. Petersburg has always been renowned for its graphic arts tradition. At the beginning of the 18-th century, gravures of the time of Peter the Great, first made as topographical maps, became the first art of the new capital.
Throughout the 18-th and 19-th centuries, the elegant classical lines of the city and its silhouette were imprinted by the finest skills of the artists from the Academy of Fine Arts, the first native Russian Art School. The advent of photography transformed the artistic presentation of the city's landscapes and architecture, emphasizing the pace and objectivity of real life. Today, contemporary black and white art forms compete with one another in an attempt to reveal the myth and reality of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The exhibition is organized jointly by the Luke and A Gallery of Modern Art, London and the National Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, Russia.

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