Moscow, 24 March 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
In 2011, Russia will be celebrating the year of Italy by highlighting the Italian language and culture. As a gesture of union between the two countries, Italy will also be celebrating the year of Russia. The Galleria Borghese in Rome has loaned the Italian Embassy in Moscow Raphael’s Dama col Licorno (Lady with a Unicorn). The work will be displayed until tomorrow and will then be exhibited at the Pushkin Museum until 10 May 2011.
The painting was made in 1505 and 1506 and was commissioned for a marriage. The artist did not finish the work and the woman was initially holding a dog. Once he had more artistic freedom, Raphael decided not to finish the dog and inserted a unicorn, the symbol of innocence. The artist then transformed the work by painting a shawl on the lady’s shoulders, thus depicting her as Saint Catherine of Alexandria. When the work was restored in 1935 to 1936, the painting was attributed to Raphael.
Dmitri Medvedev and Silvio Berlusconi recently organised opening ceremonies for the Russian-Italian year. The project is a cultural one and will feature festivals, theatre productions, concerts and meetings between writers and linguists. The aim is to develop the relationship between the two countries and encourage both nations to learn the other’s language. Medvedev underlined the influence of the Italian Renaissance on important Russian artists such as Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky.
Dama col Licorno precedes a major exhibition on Michelangelo Buanarotti in Moscow. In Italy, the first exhibition of the portrait series of artist Alexander Deineka (1899 – 1969) will be held.