The first International Exhibition of Calligraphy in Russia was held in St. Petersburg from September 16th till September 21st, 2008. The ancient halls of the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg served as the venue for this unique event.
For centuries the halls of the Academy have welcomed Russian and foreign masters’ largest exhibitions, but: collections of calligraphic artworks; rare handwritten books and documents; writing materials and utensils and applied calligraphy items were exhibited here for the first time ever.
Designers and technical services had to work hard to prepare stylish decoration for the exquisite exhibits.
Sixty-eight artists from twenty-six countries displayed their works at the show. There were examples of: fine European calligraphy samples; Arabic lettering, ancient Chinese hieroglyphs; Cyrillic writing and abstract calligraphy paintings. Almost any trend was represented at this outstanding international project.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, continuously drawing everyone’s attention, was the unique handwritten copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The opening ceremony was far from «official». Music and calligraphy pervaded the atmosphere. The illustrious masters of calligraphy from Russia, Germany, Israel, and China were improvising; inspired by Dmitry Shapovalov’s cello and the Terem-quartet band performance.
The opening ceremony was attended by many distinguished guests, representatives of diplomatic corps and renowned men of science and culture. The show was opened by Mr. Pyotr Chobitko, Chairman of the National Union of Calligraphers and Mrs. Valentina Orlova, Chairman of the World Club of St. Petersburgers.
The welcome telegrams from Mr. Sergey Mironov, Chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and from Mr. Avdeyev, the Minister of Culture of Russia, were read aloud.
The Anthem of the Russian Federation performed by the Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral sounded especially significant in the ancient halls of the Academy.
It is well-known that the most curious things happen after the official speeches are over. The doors to the exhibition halls were thrown open and the visitors were finally able to thoroughly study each and every skillfully and mysteriously illuminated exhibit.
The first international exhibition of calligraphy in the country charmed and enraptured the guest residents of Russia’s «northern capital». The queues stretched up to the visitors’ book. All the more so that the guests were asked to write with goose-quills.
«The atmosphere in the museum was incredible. It was the fusion of mystery and magic. The music was admirably beautiful. Fresh flowers were everywhere; the air was filled with their aroma. Calligraphy is a true art. It is not merely a well-written text. Those were real paintings. The paintings made of letters, lines, and curlicues. A butterfly, sun or rain — all made of letters!» : wrote one of the visitors in what might be suggested as a very accurate description of the show.
The exhibition featured a vast and vivid topical programme of master classes. Calligraphy is equally interesting for experts and for the younger generation. Everyone can try one’s hand in this fine art, can find something intimate, become a part of this miraculous art, and experience the joy of creation.
During six exhibition days the show was attended by seventeen thousand people nine thousand of which were children. More than two thousand people attended twenty-seven lectures and master classes.