Ancient heritage in European culture.
Today, the international scientific conference “Ancient Heritage in the European culture of the XVIII century” is coming to an end in the Ostankino Museum-Reserve. The first to divide the ancient world into Asia and Europe was Herodotus. In the center of Europe, the ancient Greek historian put his own homeland. Most world culturologists call the modern European civilization the direct successor of the ancient one. The participants of the conference used the topic of the forum to offer their answer to the ever-relevant question about the degree of kinship between Europe and Russia. For more information, see Culture News.
In conversations about European culture, they often mention Russia. For the participants of this conference, the answer to the question “Is Russia Europe or Asia?” is obvious. Since Peter the Great cut through his famous window, Russia has begun to look into the future in a new way, sometimes still looking back at the past. The closest look into the depths of the centuries, into antiquity, is recorded in the second half of the XVIII century.
One of the participants of the conference – Professor of the Academy of Architecture of the University of Italian Switzerland Christoph Frank says: “In the era of Elizabeth Petrovna and especially Catherine the Second in Russia, the interest in Roman and Greek culture has increased enormously. First of all, this was due to the political structure. The ideas of Greek democracy and the Roman republic greatly fascinated the Russian empresses.”
The sovereigns were in no hurry to put democratic ideas into practice, and women, far from power, quickly joined antiquity. To begin with, they updated the wardrobe. “Simple clothing has come into fashion – tunics, high – waisted dresses, like those worn in Ancient Greece and Rome,” says Anne Poole, a participant in the conference from the United States, director of the Frick Collection gallery. “They’ve replaced the fancy, elaborate costumes. The whole of Europe has changed.”
The very perception of the era of antiquity in the XVIII century changed. The first excavations began in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Material evidence has emerged that antiquity is not a fairy tale, not a myth, but a reality.
Sergey Karp, head of the center for the study of the XVIII century at the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says: “If you could ask a question to some Russian nobleman, who, of course, made a trip to Europe in the second half of the XVIII century, visited different countries and returned, he would be asked: “Look, are ancient ruins part of your culture or not?” He would say, ” Of course.”
Count Sheremetev considered ancient culture his own. His entire estate is a hymn to antiquity. The director of the Ostankino estate museum, Gennady Vdovin, who is taking part in the conference, says: “Instead of a vague idea of a certain beautiful statue in general, a person entering Ostankino saw an ancient Roman, ancient Greek statue at arm’s length.”
As it turned out, you can even adjust the landscape to the antique frames. Until 1792, there was no slide at all, it was specially poured and named in the ancient style – Parnassus. At the top, a gazebo was built – the temple of the Muses. The Sheremetyevo Palace is also a tribute to the ancient tradition. This is a masterpiece of Russian classicism, and in the XVIII century, antiquity was considered a classic. It was from antiquity that the triangular pediment, colonnade and strict symmetry came to architecture.
Varvara Rakina conducts a tour inside the palace. Invites you to the print gallery, which opened after a 20-year restoration. Each exhibit there confirms that it is difficult to imagine a more suitable place for holding a conference on antiquity than Ostankino in Moscow. The statues are ancient images. And Venus, and Hermes, and other gods. Engravings – on ancient subjects. The furniture is not antique, of course, but it has experienced the influence of that era.
Varvara Rakina, deputy director of the Ostankino Estate Museum, says: “The table top, which, in a rare case, is made of a pattern of malachite. Malachite is not a solid slab, but is included in the pattern. To the theme of antiquity – it was the most popular meander pattern.”
In the next room, scientists from seven countries of the world make reports on the influence of antiquity on European literature, philosophy, education, architecture, argue, give evidence. The most irrefutable ones are outside the window – the estate of the XVIII century and its history, which is impossible to read and understand outside the context of antiquity.