Museum Lends Konovalenko Gem Carvings to Kremlin for Temporary Exhibition

DENVER― July 12, 2016 ― The Denver Museum of Nature & Science recently visited Russia to lend three gem carvings from the Museum’s collection to the Kremlin for an exhibition about the Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko. The Konovalenko sculptures will be on display at the Patriarch’s Palace of the Kremlin Museum in Moscow until August 31.


Stephen Nash, the Denver Museum’s curator of archaeology and interim vice president for research and collections, and Museum photographer Richard Wicker, wrote a book about the Russian artist’s work called “Stories in Stone: The Enchanted Gem Carvings of Vasily Konovalenko” (published by the University Press of Colorado, Boulder), which is now for sale in the Museum Shop.


Nash and Wicker traveled extensively — collaborating with the artist’s family and doing some sleuthing — to track down and photograph nearly all of Konovalenko’s work. “There is such an interesting history behind Vasily Konovalenko and his sculptures that Rick and I wanted to explore it further, and share it with others,” said Nash. “Interestingly, by lending the three sculptures to the Moscow Kremlin Museum, we help fulfill a 42-year-long project because a similar exhibition was planned for the Kremlin Museum in 1974 but was canceled at the last minute for political reasons.”


The Denver Museum of Nature & Science typically houses 20 Konovalenko sculptures, which are on public display in a gallery on level 3 and in Coors Gem and Mineral Hall on level 1. The sculptures have been on continuous display since 1984 and constitute the largest and best public display of Konovalenko sculptures outside of Moscow. The artist died in 1989.


The three gem carving sculptures loaned to the Kremlin were created by Konovalenko in the early 1980s. They are entitled “Bosom Pals,” “On the Stroll,” and “Wanderer (Old Believer).” This summer, these three sculptures have been temporarily replaced with three sculptures from the artist’s family collection. The Museum has an additional two sculptures temporarily on display that are on loan from a collector in Denver. Nash will return to Russia on Sept. 4 to escort the sculptures back to Denver. In addition to the Museum Shop, the book is available for sale at Amazon.


About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. Our mission is to be catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Museum envisions an empowered community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world. As such, a variety of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum, visit, or call 303-370-6000. Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities

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