From: Vivat Celebration Limited Edition: 2 Exhibition: Vivat St. Petersburg Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 30" x 99" (76cm x 251cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Peter the Great was passionate about bringing culture and art to Russia. In 1703, he founded St. Petersburg and set out to build a “window to Europe.” He recruited European architects, engineers, scientists, and other professionals to lend their talents. Widespread immigration of intellectuals and artists quickly transformed the city into the cultural hub of Russia. In 2003, Baltimore launched Vivat! St. Petersburg – a celebration of St. Petersburg’s tricentennial, 300 hundred years of great art, literature, theatre, music, and dance. This banner promoted the dozens of exhibitions, performances, lectures, and other events. Why Baltimore? For one, Maryland has a “sister” relationship with St. Petersburg.
Vivat! St. Petersburg was a multimedia celebration of St. Petersburg’s 300th birthday in Baltimore. The idea for the citywide experience in 2003 was attributed to Yuri Temirkanov, who at the time doubled as the musical director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. His conception blossomed into the collaboration between more than 40 Baltimore cultural institutions. “Total cultural hedonism” was how Gary Vikan, then director of the Walters Art Museum, described Vivat! to the Baltimore Sun.
Events covered a wide gamut: the Baltimore Opera Company performed Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; the Ballet Theatre of Maryland staged Inspiration of the Ballets Russes in conjunction with the Baltimore Museum of Art’s “Art of the Ballets Russes;” the Walters Art Museum had two exhibitions, including “The Faberge Menagerie;” the B&O Railroad Museum offered a lecture on the role Americans played in building the Moscow-St. Petersburg Railway; the Great Blacks in Wax Museum sponsored Afro-Russian Thursdays; and the Jewish Museum of Maryland gave tours of the Russian-Jewish immigrant community’s synagogue. Many other special events occurred throughout the city sponsored by colleges and universities, Russian Orthodox churches, libraries, restaurants, and other organizations.
St. Petersburg attracted all kinds of professionals, intellectuals, and artists. Its port served as a gateway for business, trade, and Russia’s navy. The city is home to the State Hermitage, one of the world’s largest museums. It was here that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky graduated from the first class of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Alexander Pushkin penned his famous poem The Bronze Horseman, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote Crime and Punishment, Dmitry Mendeleev created the periodic table of elements, and Ivan Pavlov conducted his famous experiments on the salivary functions of dogs.
The banner used to promote Baltimore’s St. Petersburg celebration features charming, storybook illustrations with a contemporary spin on Russian folk themes. The illustrations are of unknown origin. The front side has traditional Russian tiled domes at the top with “VIVAT ST. PETERSBURG” in dark purple on a white background in the center, and horses at the bottom. On the opposite side, onion church domes, snowy scenes and pine trees top “A Festival of Russian Art, Music & Culture/Feb. 13 – Mar. 2” in red. Below is a troika, a sleigh drawn by three horses, pulling colorfully clad Russians.
This banner was displayed around the Baltimore area between February 13 and March 2, 2003. Similar St. Petersburg celebrations occurred in neighboring Washington, D.C. at the same time.