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Art Collecting and the Female Nude in 18th- to Early 19th-century Russia

March 3 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Jordan Center’s Colloquium Series serves to introduce the most recent work of scholars within the Slavic field. Participants come from universities across the country and abroad, and work in disciplines ranging from history, political science and anthropology to literature and film. The colloquium discussion is based on a working paper which will be circulated prior to the event. On March 3rd, 2017, please join us for the next installment of our Spring 2017 Colloquium Series with Margaret Samu, Jordan Center Writer in Residence and an art historian who teaches at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, on “Art Collecting and the Female Nude in 18th- to Early 19th-century Russia”.

This colloquium will be devoted to the first chapter of a manuscript in progress. Titled Russian Venus, the manuscript examines the female nude as a subject in art in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia. The present chapter focuses on collecting, beginning with the era of Peter the Great, who imported the first nudes for display to an elite audience at his palace and gardens in St. Petersburg and Peterhof. Drawing on recent studies of the art market in St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as rare primary sources, it attempts to trace the patterns of collecting and display that emerge when this distinctly European subject arrives in Russia. It argues that the ready acceptance and popularity of these imported nudes created a demand that Russian artists sought to fill.

Margaret Samu, Writer-in-Residence at the Jordan Center, is an art historian who teaches at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. She works on 18th- and 19th-century European and American art with a special interest in the intersection between Russian and Western cultures. Her articles have been published in Iskusstvoznanie, Nineteenth-Century Studies, and Experiment, among other journals. The volume she co-edited, From Realism to the Silver Age: New Studies in Russian Artistic Culture, was published in 2014 by Northern Illinois University Press. She served as president of the Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture (SHERA) from 2013 to 2015.


Image: Hellenistic copy after Praxiteles, Aphrodite (“The Tauride Venus”), 2nd c. B.C.E., Marble, 167 cm high, State Hermitage, St. Petersburg
To receive a copy of Samu’s paper please contact jordan.russia.center@nyu.edu.


March 3
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
(212) 992-6575


NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
19 University Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003 United States
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