Large-scale Russian-French cultural arrangement in St. Petersburg

A large-scale Russian-French cultural arrangement devoted to St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary starts on Tuesday in Paris.

According to the organising committee of the arrangement, it is being patronised by the two countries' Presidents.

The exhibition "Paris-St. Petersburg. 1880-1830. When Russia spoke French..." will be a central event.

Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Sergei Mironov, French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and other officials and heads of the largest museums of France and Russia are expected to participate in the opening of the exposition, which will start in the Cathedral of the Paris Nursing Home.

The exhibition will display a total of 300 exhibits from the collections of the Hermitage, Kremlin museums and State Historical Museum including paintings, drawings, furniture, china works, bronze and silver goods as well as weapons of the first third of the 19th century. Many of the works of graphic and applied art, which are to be exhibited in six chapels of the Nursing Home's Cathedral, around the Napoleon tomb, will be represented in France for the first time.

According to organisers, the exhibition's main objective is to show the similarity of the Russian and French art, give a picture of the two countries' art and intellectual closeness, embodied in the works of art. Among the most significant exhibits there is "The Portrait of Napoleon on the Imperial Throne" painted by Ingres, the vast vase "Russia" over two metres high, which was created by Russian and French masters at the Imperial porcelain works in St. Petersburg and the monumental painting "Invalid giving a petition to Napoleon during the guards' parade in front of the Tuileries Palace in Paris" by Horace Vernet.

Besides the exhibition, the programme of the arrangement will also include a presentation of the French-Russian dictionary of art terms. The well-illustrated ten-thousand-word edition is not only interesting for experts but also for a wide range of readers.

The day of the exposition opening will also see Yuri Bashmet's concert in the St. Louis Church. Later the Church and the Honorary Saloon of the Nursery Home will host a big cycle of famous Russian artists' performances.

The exhibition is scheduled to run for three months in Paris and then it will be transferred to St. Petersburg and exhibited in the Hermitage.

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