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UGA professor to discuss Russian art connection to Aiken

September 23, 2018

What connection does Aiken have with 19th-century Imperial Russia?

Dr. Asen Kirin, a professor of art history at the University of Georgia, will talk about this surprising link, along with an exploration of the Belosseslky-Belozersky Collection currently on exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art in two upcoming lectures at the Aiken Center for the Arts, according to a news release from the center.

Kirin will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday and at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the center at 122 Laurens St. S.W. The lectures are free and open to the public and will be held in the Brown Performance Pavilion.

The first lecture, “The American South and the Imperial Court of Saint Petersburg,” concentrates on the 19th-century Russian works of art and memorabilia preserved in two prominent Southern families, members of whom served as ambassadors to Saint Petersburg.

The first of them was Henry Middleton, a planter and political leader from Charleston and the 43rd governor of South Carolina from 1810 to 1812.

The second, Francis Wilkinson Pickens, was the U.S. minister to the court of Saint Petersburg from 1858 to 1860. The ambassador’s wife, Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens, published travel notes and wrote diaries and letters – all of which will be considered here. During this presentation, attendees will learn about Aiken’s connection to Imperial Russia through the Pickens-Salley House, located on the campus of USC Aiken.

The second lecture, “‘One Heart, One Way’: The Journey of a Princely Art Collection,” will explore the Belosseslky-Belozersky Collection.

The collection includes works of both fine and decorative arts dating from about 1660 to 1952. In its present form, the collection includes works that have never been published or seen outside their owners’ homes.

In contrast, some of the portrait paintings gained fame through publications in the 19th and early 20th centuries, since then they have been considered lost in the turmoil of Bolshevik Revolution, according to the release.

These works of art have just been introduced to the public at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, in the exhibition “‘One Heart, One Way’: The Journey of a Princely Art Collection” on display through Jan. 6, 2019.

For more information on these lectures, visit aikencenterforthearts.org.

Want to go?

WHAT: Lectures on art of Imperial Russia

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Aiken Center for the Arts, 122 Laurens St. S.W.

COST: Free

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit aikencenterforthearts.org.

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