“Under the Mask of Venice”: taking the 1700s Venetian style to Moscow until August 29th

13 August 2021

Venice, 12th August 2021 – For more than two decades, the city centre of Moscow has been the theatre of the “Cherry Forest Open Art Festival”, in which exhibitions and shows of the great Italian masters of art, cinema, music and fashion are hosted. For years now part of the festival has been entirely dedicated to the promotion of events, exhibitions and projects with the aim of developing cultural relations and strengthening the historical existing bond between Italy and Russia. Mikhail Kusnirovich – founder of the Cherry Forest society and major shareholder of the Gum store in Moscow – is the head of the project. Kusnirovich is also the main sponsor of many Italian cultural events that take place in Russia, such as: the “Russian exhibition of Giorgio De Chirico (1888-1978)”, displayed at the Tretyakov Gallery in 2017. 

 “Under the Mask of Venice” is an exhibition entirely dedicated to the city, which this year celebrates the 1600 anniversary since its foundation (421-2021). It explores and investigates the venetian culture of the 18th century, which was shaped by the Carnival of Venice, by the art of painting, by the theatre and, last but not least, by the literature of the Enlightenment. These cultural influences made very clear the extraordinary connection between Russian and the Repubblica Serenissima in the 18th century. 

The Tsaritsyno Palace is the only one of the capital city composed of several picturesque palaces, bridges, pavilions, tiny lakes and gardens. For this reason, the palace has been chosen to display – for the first time – unique and rare antiquities on loan from the most ancient venetian museums. Among these, artifacts from the Museo Correr, Museo Ca' Rezzonico, Museo del Vetro of the Island of Murano, Palazzo Mocenigo e Museo del Tessuto e Costume veneziano. Moreover, artifacts and testimonies from the Pushkin Museum, the Moscow State Historical Museum and some other national collections will be included within the exhibition. 

The exhibition will include more than one hundred artworks of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. From April 27th until the end of summer, it will be possible to fully enjoy the 18th century venetian lifestyle, deep diving within the age in which the Carnival of Venice reached its peak and became a unique and popular event throughout Europe. As a matter of fact, this was the century in which the venetian character Giacomo Casanova lived. He was famous for introducing a bohemian lifestyle in Venice in the 18th century, when luxurious parties and richness characterized the everyday life in the city.

The exhibition will display carnival masks, costumes that date back to the period of the ancient nobility, glass artifacts from Murano, gondola decorations, game kits from the most famous venetian casinos, prints and paintings from Pietro Longhi in which daily life scenes are represented.

“Tsaritsyno Palace was established as a holiday residence in which it was possible to listen to music and admire fireworks display, which I believe is a proof of the typical atmosphere of the Carnival of Venice. We dreamed about telling the venetian story in our museum and I must say that our dream has come true!” – claimed Elizaveta Fokina, general director of the Tsaritsyno Museum when commenting on the decision to open the exhibition within the museum.

“The project will provide Moscow citizens and visitors with the opportunity to deep dive within the unique atmosphere of the city of Venice, which is characterized by love and freedom. With an imaginary walk through the calli and canals, a journey into the past and within the 18th century venetian culture – continues Edith Kusnirovich, executive director of the festival –. Through the exhibition, people who have never been in Venice will fall in love, while those who already know the city, will discover a new and astonishing version of it.