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    MOSCOW (RIA Novosti culture analyst Maria Tupoleva).

    * St. Petersburg is hosting the "Iran in the Hermitage. The creation of collections" exhibit, which features over 300 Iranian paintings, sculptures and applied art works that chronicle the development of Iranian culture and art from ancient times to the end of the 19th century. The exhibit shows how the Iranian collection in the Hermitage was acquired over many years and the museum's current research. The pieces are organized chronologically. The first part of the exhibit contains the remarkable country's ancient art and culture monuments, then comes the early medieval period till the 7th century, when Iran became a Muslim country. The second section contains art of the medieval Muslim period. A special section is devoted to Iranian art and culture during the Qajar dynasty (1785-1925), which was influenced by the West. The final section features Russian-Iranian diplomatic relations.

    One of the pieces in the exhibit, an eagle from the Siberian collection of Peter the Great, is a symbol of ancient Iranian art and the magnificence of the Achaemenid state.

    The exhibit will also feature, "The Review of the Troops by Abbas-Mirza" by Allah Verdi Afshar, one of the two large format multi-figure compositions that were taken to St. Petersburg from Iran in 1828 after the conclusion of the Turkmenchai Peace Treaty. These paintings once decorated the palaces of the Qajars.

    * The "Poeta Pingens," or the Writer Who Draws, exhibit at the Moscow State Literature Museum will attract art and literature lovers. The exhibit coincides with the museum's 70th anniversary and will close on September 1.

    Many Russian writers were also talented artists. In the 19th century, noblemen were traditionally taught painting, music and foreign languages. Therefore, authors of classic Russian literature also created many remarkable drawings and paintings.

    Today, many writers and poets are also talented artists. This collection of rare sketches and paintings by famous writers from the 18th and 19th centuries provides more information about them. The exhibit features portraits, self-portraits, cartoons, interiors, landscapes, book covers, illustrations and drawings in albums and in the margins of manuscripts.

    Most of the over 500 paintings and drawings in the exhibit have never been shown before. Drawings by Vasily Zhukovsky, Mikhail Lermontov, Taras Shevchenko, Konstantin Batyushkov, Leonid Andreyev, Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Maximilian Voloshin, Mikhail Kuzmin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burlyuk, Vitaly Kamensky, Andrei Voznesensky, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Vladimir Sookin and many others are included in the album-catalogue that the museum's experts compiled. The catalogue contains articles, a scientific description of the collection of drawings, myths connected with some works and biographies of the authors.

    * The "Graphic Colossus" exhibit -- from Alexander Ivanov's sketches to Lev Bakst's posters --will be open at the Tretyakov Gallery until October 31.

    The exhibit features large graphic works that change traditional views of graphics as chamber art from the museum's rich collection.

    The exhibit reflects the search for large scales in Russian graphics in the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. About 50 works by Alexander Ivanov, Karl Bryullov, Ivan Shishkin, Nikolai Ge, Boris Kustodiyev, Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Vrubel, Valentin Serov, Ivan Repin, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, and Lev Bakst in coal, pastel, gouache and water color are displayed and represent the varied genres and types of graphic art. The pieces include sketches of large paintings and church frescoes, interior decorations, ceremonial portraits, and even posters. Graphic art is fragile and difficult to keep. Therefore, these pieces are unique and most of them are being shown for the first time.

    * The Jack of Diamonds exhibit opened at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The exhibit is devoted to the history of the Jack of Diamonds artistic group and the development of Russian avant-garde art at the beginning of the 20th century.

    It is the first large-scale exhibit of works from members of the group.

    The exhibit features 160 Russian paintings of the 20th century, most of which are not well known, from the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and 17 provincial museums.

    A group of Russian painters organized the Jack of Diamonds exhibit in Moscow in 1910. In 1911, the artists formed a group. Mikhail Larionov named the group and the other members included Natalia Goncharova, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Ilya Mashkov, Aristarkh Lentulov, Robert Falk and Alexander Kuprin. The group was one of the early trends in Russian avant-garde art.

    The name, "Jack of Diamonds," means "cheat and swindle" in gambling slang and therefore was a rather defiant title. The avant-garde painters juxtaposed their art with symbolism and introduced elements of parody, farce and grotesque in an attempt to remove the melancholy and refinement of symbolists from their art. The painters wanted to revive colors, lines, rhythm and surface beauty in painting. The group broke up in 1917.

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