Fan of Empress Mariya Fedorovna.1880s.Painting by I. Kramskoy. Wood, silk, gold, mother-of-pearl, carving, oil painting.
The State Hermitage Museum.

An exhibition “A Magic World of Fan” from the collection of The Moscow Memorial Estate “Ostankino” and Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is being held in the halls of Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The author of the project is one of the senior members of Memorial Estate “Ostankino” Alexander Fedorovich Chervyakov who dedicated his life to study and development of the Russian culture.

The main part of the items consists of fans from the collection of The Moscow Memorial Estate “Ostankino” which keeps one of three largest collections of fans in the country. This collection is unique in its staff, diversity and value. It gives us the notion of fans having existed in the period between 18th and 20th centuries in Russia.

Nowadays the interest to antique fans grows not only as to the preserved rare objects of the previous times but also as to the great samples of applied art which reflect a life of certain historical periods.

There are two kinds of fans. The oldest type is “large fan” which looks like a flat screen fixed on a handle. A folding fan appeared in the East and consisted of separate plates connected together. Second kind appeared at the end of 15th¬beginning of 16th centuries in Europe. They were spread quickly and became a part of life of the high society levels.

“Language” which was invented especially for fan demanded a lot of efforts to achieve success even in part of it and was called “flutter” in Russia. Shortly this term became a synonym to “flirting”. Fan was so popular and important in life of ladies of fashion that it caused many epigrams, aphorisms, puns, poems and fables.
An increased demand for fans contributed to the growth of their import to Russia. Some of the fans are marked by custom stamps on their screens. Fans were very popular either in 19th or the beginning of 20th centuries. But at that time fan started to move from life of the nobility to life of lower-middle class, merchant class, clergy. Even rich peasant women began to use fans.

Craftsmen started to apply cheaper materials which imitated mother-of-pearl, tortoise-shell, ivory.

With time there were changes in the rhythm of life, in tastes of people; many objects which were witnesses of life of the previous periods had been vanishing. Well-known events at the outset of the 20th century which had changed people’s life abruptly contributed to it in Russia. Fan was among the objects which were no more in use.

It is a pleasure to note that in our time a value of fan as a peculiar memorial of history and an object of applied art is evident. And study of museums’ collections of fans has got scientific, cognitive and practical interest. Museums enlarge their sets with fans actively and enthusiastically. Investigations, exhibitions, special auctions dedicated to fans are being realized in Russia and other countries. Exhibition will be opened till April, the 1st

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Moscow, Prechistenka str., 12/2
+7 (495) 637 5674, 637 3256

Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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