Museum of Stone
The exhibition displays the material so magnificent and beautiful, as if nature has created it to offer us the opportunity to enjoy this paragon through ages. The beautiful stone inspired people to creative activity, set them looking at it more attentively, fathoming its secret. Decorative peculiarity and firmness of stone determined the ways it was used. Stone is widely employed in housebuilding, architecture, sculpture, jewellery and decorative art. Theophile Gautier, the 19th century French writer and journalist wrote: ”…stone works, inaccessible for the shattering influence of time, will stay for ages as monuments of art, culture, and as a magic mirror, whose polished surface reflects the movement of time”.
The exhibition shows
– articles from the depository of St Isaac’s Cathedral State Museum, that are being displayed for the first time, showing the high mastership of the 19th century stonecutters,
– the part of the unique collection of the Mining Museum of the University of Mines,
– worship objects and icons from the depository of The State Museum of the History of Religion,
– works of art made of amber – the 1:200 model St Isaac’s Cathedral and monumental amber icons by A.M. Krylov, made in mosaic technique and representing a new direction in amber processing skill.
Color, pattern, and structure of stone, as well as high skilled implementation of architectural ideas of St Isaac’s Cathedral and Resurrection Church (Saviour on the Spilled Blood) arouse admiration of St Petersburg dwellers and guests for over a hundred years. Several kinds of semiprecious stones were used for the decoration of these churches. The examples of these stones are displayed at the exhibition, such as jasper from the Revnev mountain, porphyry from Korgon (Altai), lapis-lazuli from Afghanistan and Transbaikal, marble and porphyry from Shoksha ((Karelia), rhodonite and landscape jasper from the Urals, the Ukrainian labradorite and multicolored Italiam marble from Siena and Seravezza.
Besides the interior decoration of churches, the creation of decorative and applied art items became the vivid example of technical and artistic achievements beginning from late 18th century. Seals decorated with skillful stone carving, plaques and paper-weight made in Florentine mosaics technique adorn the exhibition.