by SARA FARIZAN
CLINTON- What was supposed to be a fascinating look at Russian works of art is being cut short by Russian’s Minister of Culture who has decidedly issued a “force majeure”, ordering 37 paintings and artifacts, on loan to the Museum of Russian Icons, be returned immediately to Moscow.
The Museum of Russian Icons is located in Clinton Massachusetts with 400 pieces of Russian art, the largest private collection outside of Russia and one of the biggest collections of Russian works in North America. Many of the works on display have significant historical meaning and the collections itself spans six centuries.
The Treasures from Moscow exhibit was scheduled to be dismantled this morning though the exhibit was to be displayed until July, 25th. The pieces to be returned are on loan from the Andrey Rublev Museum and curator Oxana Smrinova has been sent to the U.S. to supervise the dismantling and return of the exhibition.
There has yet to be a reason stated by the Minister of Culture as to why the works need to be returned, however a court ruling by Federal Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, D.C. on July 30, 2010 may be a reason to make the Russian government nervous. Judge Lamberth’s ruling supported the ability to seize “all Russian property not covered by diplomatic immunity”.
Gordon B. Lankton, founder of the Museum of Russian Icons said, “We are very disappointed the exhibition must be disassembled, depriving our visitors of the opportunity to see these outstanding icons. To maintain our cordial relations with the Andrey Rublev Museum, we intend to comply with the Russian Minister’s order to return the icons”. The museum has been in Clinton, Massachusetts since 2006 and serves as a nonprofit educational institution.
The museum will continue to be open and display many great works- unfortunately its latest exhibit will be evacuated from the United States as quickly as possible. For more information on the museum visit www.museumofrussianicons.org.