Apr 8, 2021, 12:00 pm1:30 pm



Event Description

 “We always imagine Russian culture in the form of a diptych, in which one wing is Petersburg and the other Moscow,” the critic Abram Efros wrote in 1921. “In the field of Russian collecting the type of the Petersburg and the Moscow collector was created in the same way.” Efros might well have been describing the two leading icon collectors of the late imperial era: the St. Petersburg scholar and diplomat Nikolai Likhachev and the Moscow painter Ilya Ostroukhov. If Likhachev’s vast and heterogenous accumulation of icons was a “laboratory” for scholarly investigation, Ostroukhov’s choice distillation epitomized the icon’s emerging status as sublime work of art. This lecture explores the binary positions assigned these two collections in the fierce polemics of the Moscow and St. Petersburg art world on the eve of World War I. It also considers the enduring impact of the Moscow-Petersburg rivalry on early Soviet debates about the collecting and treatment of icons as national patrimony.  



Born in New Zealand, Wendy Salmond received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin and now teaches art history at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Her publications on Russian art include Arts and Crafts in Late Imperial Russia, Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia’s Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938, Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs, and most recently, “Eternity in Low Earth Orbit: Icons on the International Space Station.” She is currently editor of the Journal of Icon Studies, published by the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton MA.

Wendy Salmond is a scholar of Russian and early Soviet art, architecture, and design. She is particularly interested in exploring the intersection of diverse cultural traditions in Russia and in the formation of national identity. She has written and lectured extensively on the Arts and Crafts movement, on Art Nouveau, and on Russian modernism.  Her current project is a book tracing transformations in the perception and function of icons in Russia, from objects of devotion to works of art.

Professor Salmond has been a visiting curator at Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington DC and a guest curator of exhibitions at Hillwood (Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs, 2004) and The New York Public Library (Russia Imagined, 1825-1925: The Art and Impact of Fedor Solntsev, 2006).  She is a prolific translator of texts on Russian art and culture, and has edited volumes on the sculptor Sergei Konenkov, the Bolshevik sales of Russian art in the 1920s and 1930s, and the reception of Art Nouveau in Russia.