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Bolshoi News>Bolshoi Digest>Bolshoi Digest of 07 April 2014, Monday

07 April 2014, Monday

April 8th - media preview of the exhibition "Fyodor Fedorovsky (1883-1955). Legend of the Bolshoi Theatre"

The exhibition will be open from April 9th till August 3rd 2014
Krymsky Val, 10, exhibition halls 80-82

Accreditation for mass media representatives at the State Tretyakov Gallery press office. Phone: 8 495 957 07 92
Phone/fax: 8 495 953 33 75

The media preview will take place on April 8th at 5 p.m.

The name of Fyodor Fedorosvky, just like the names of M. Petipa, F. Chaliapin, A. Nezhdanova and B. Pokrovskiy, represents a whole epoch in the history of the Bolshoi Theatre. During his lifetime Feodorovsky was really famous, which is unusual for a set designer; however, in recent decades his name has remained familiar only to specialists. His first solo exhibition is organized by the Tretyakov Gallery together with the Bolshoi Theatre Museum and The A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum. Just like the previously organized exhibitions of designers, who worked together with S. Diaghilev - N. Goncharova, K. Korovin and A. Golovin - the project presents an exposition that unveils path-breaking tendencies in the decorative art of the first half of the 20th century.
Almost everyone is familiar with Fedorovsky's art: he is the one, who created the model of ruby stars on the Moscow Kremlin towers, his sets are still used for such operas, as "Boris Godunov" and "The Tsar's Bride", and from 1935 till 2005 many generations adored the famous red-and-gold curtain, based on his sketch. Still, the general public is not familiar with the major part of his works. This exhibition aims to familiarize visitors with the best examples of theatre decorative art, created in the first half of the 20th century by the set designer, who became a Bolshoi Theatre legend.

In terms of Russian painting at the turn of the 20th century, Fedorovsky took after K. Korovin and M. Vrubel, who were his teachers at the decorative department of The Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Arts. In 1910 - 1920, as he combined working at the theatre and teaching at VKHUTEMAS, Fedorovsky experimented with various schools of fine art.
The first part of the exposition features examples of sets, created by Fedorovsky for Russian and European operas and ballets. These include sketches and models of sets for the Moscow Zimin Opera Company (1907-1917), S. Diaghilev's enterprises (1913-1914) and the Theatre of Moscow Council of Workers', Peasants' and Red Army Deputies (1917-1920, former Zimin Opera Company). Works, created by Fedorovsky during his first decade at the State Bolshoi Theatre are also presented. In 1921 Fedorovsky was appointed head of the stage production team at the Bolshoi Theatre; he worked there for more than 30 years and held the position of principal designer for more than 25 years out of those 30. Bright, optimistic and uplifting sketches for "Carmen" (1922), sophisticated and graphic sketches for "Faust" (1924), which remind one of medieval miniatures, as well as ironic and grotesque sketches for "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" (1929) are the best examples of Fedorovsky's early works.
The next halls feature his works of 1930-1950s. That was the period when Fedorovsky devoted himself to creating sets for Russian musical classics; this enabled him to work on heroic and epic topics. He created sets for such operas, as "Boris Godunov", "Khovanshchina", "Prince Igor", "Sadko", "The Maid of Pskov" and "The Tsar's Bride"; for many years productions of those operas used to be trademarks of not only the Bolshoi Theatre, but also the Soviet theatre art in general. There were many productions that the designer created sets for several times in different years; the exhibition gives an opportunity to see the master's creative evolution.

Sketches, costumes and props are examples of stylization, which was Fedorovsky's main method when it came to historic and cultural plots. The master introduced the most characteristic details that were the easiest to recognize in the modern interpretation; this allowed him to create a convincing image that matched the time period well and to avoid direct historic and ethnographic reconstruction. As he was working on the general atmosphere of the production and bringing it to life, Fedorovsky contributed to developing various ways to use painting and dimension in set design.
A student of famous architects F. Shekhtel and I. Zholtovskiy, Fedorovsky he created sets for the main celebratory events at the Bolshoi Theatre and in the Red Square for 30 years, starting from 1918. As he worked with the stage space, he paid great attention to design of mise-en-scenes and the way dimensional parts of the set co-sited; he also took into consideration the laws of architecture and plastique as he worked on costumes. The talent of Fedorovsky the painter showed in his sets. He knew when to use bright and expressive colors and based the overall color scheme of a production on the precise balance of colors and their shades; he was also very careful when it came to the painting qualities of such materials, as gold and silver.
The creation of the maquette workshop at the Bolshoi Theatre, chemical-dye shop, props department, spinning department and other departments are associated with his name. In 1918 it was Fedorovsky who initiated the creation of the Bolshoi Theatre Museum that would store sketches of costumes and sets, as well as the best examples of ready costumes and props, which young masters would be able to use in their studies. The designer himself left to the museum a vast collection his works that mostly date back to 1933 and 1943.
Fedorovsky's heritage at the Tretyakov Gallery is a part of the unique fund "Set Design and Cinema Decorative Art", established in 1984. This fund, which is quite unusual to find at a classical museum, includes pieces, created in the 20th century, when professional designers and artists started working on theatre productions, films and cartoons, and sketches for those productions and films started to be treated as a separate genre. The exposition has more than 150 works by Fedorovsky: sketches of sets, costumes and make-up, genuine costumes and a model of the Bolshoi Theatre curtain, based on the designer's sketches. The diversity of genres will enable spectators to imagine what those drama productions were like; musical images were accompanied by the visual imagery which was active, harmonious and impeccably tasteful.
The way this exposition is designed serves the same purpose: the stage space has a podium and backdrops, the parapet of the top halls of the exhibition is similar to a theatre box, the walls are painted ochre, and crimson color fabric, which looks like velvet, is used. This helps to re-create the atmosphere of the Bolshoi Theatre, thus enabling viewers to experience all those emotions that Fedorovsky's works provoke.

Main Stage 1 Teatralnaya ploschad (1 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia
New Stage Bol'shaya Dmitrovka Street, 4/2, Moscow, Russia
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