Stephen E. Nash, Curator of Archaeology and Rick Wicker, Museum Photographer
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Today, we finished our work at the Samotsvety. In total, we have high quality images of 24 sculptures (20 originals and 4 duplicates/variants) and 2 stone butterflies. In order to finish the work on Thursday, Rick put in a long day at the Museum; Steve had to leave for a town hall meeting at the U.S. Ambassador's residence followed by dinner with James Brooke of Voice of America. On Friday, we simply went to the Samotsvety for a final meeting with the director, Dr. Anvar Yusipov, our host, Dr. Igor Mikhailov, and our guide from MIR Group travel agency, Irina. We celebrated with traditional Russian foods (pickled herring, blackbread, pickled mushrooms, etc.) and we toasted to Vasily Konovalenko, his legacy, and the hope of our working together in the future. The picture in the slideshow has Rick, Dr. Yusipov, and Steve from left to right, and then Dr. Mikhailov and Steve examining Grandma and Grandpa in the Samotsvety galleries.
As for the sculptures, Rick took wonderful shots of Warrior, which is built similarly to Tsar's Henchman, but has a different set of characteristics, features, etc. Rick also took photographs of Tea Drinker and Picking Mushrooms, the latter of which Konovalenko made for Leonid Breshnev, who used to like to gather mushrooms with his grandchildren. The slides show a detail face shot of the man in Picking Mushrooms, another detail shot from Tea Drinker shows the Konovalenko's tiny signature and the date he made it-- 1971. Awesome.
Tomorrow, we go to Ms. Konovalenko's house to photograph three more pieces she has-- a copy of Tsar's Henchman, a malachite platter with a copy of Bosom Pals on it, and an enamel punch bowl called Kovsch.
On Monday, we're off to the Gokhran, a.k.a. the Reserves of the (Kremlin's) Diamond Fund, to photograph two more sculptures, including one that to our knowledge has never been photographed before. We can't wait to see it, photograph it, and share it with you!
Steve and Rick