The Museum of Russian Art exhibition of exquisite gold and ceramic relics dating from the Neolithic age to the Byzantine era unearthed in present-day Ukraine closes on Feb 19 . Over the ages, the territory of Ukraine has been a major trade route where objects from many eras and civilizations have been found.
The exhibition’s storyline follows a chronological sequence, starting with the Trypilian culture dating back to 5,400 BC. Pottery decorated with red and black paints, sacred symbols, as well as temple models and animal sculptures, will be on display. The lost world of this sophisticated matriarchal society comes to life in the fascinating figurines of the Great Goddess and in the highly stylized patterns decorating Trypillian earthenware.
Gradually displacing the agricultural Trypillians were the nomadic Scythians of the Ukrainian steppe, who are known for their beautiful stylized animal-shaped ornaments. The fertile soil of the region attracted Greek settlers as early as the 7th century BC. Greek presence lasted well into the Hellenistic period (around the 2nd century BC), represented here by a dazzling array of bronze sculpture, exquisite gold jewelry, extraordinary rhytons (drinking cups partially in the shape of a ram), black-slip pottery, and amphorae.
Rome’s influence reached the Black Sea—and the shores of Ukraine—as early as the 1st century BC. We see Roman presence reflected in art forms that blend traditions from both Greek and Roman worlds. Among the items on display are bright red and orange pottery, transparent glass, bronze and silver vessels, and jewelry incorporating precious stones, filigree, granulation and inlays.
The exhibition ends with treasures from the Byzantine Empire, the ancient Slavic state of Kyivan Rus’, and various steppe nomads, spanning the 5th through the 13th centuries AD. Utensils, relics, chalices, kolts, pendants, rings, bracelets and necklaces provide an idea of the array of objects used by the inhabitants of medieval Ukraine.
“TMORA has previously featured art from various regions of the former Soviet Union including Estonia and Central Asia, and now we’re pleased to offer visitors insights into Ukraine,” said museum Director Brad Shinkle.
This exhibit is presented by the Foundation for International Arts & Education of Bethesda, Maryland in cooperation with the The Museum of National Cultural Heritage PlaTar in Kiev, Ukraine, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council and with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States and the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.