Konovalenko Project's Trip to Moscow: Days 1-2

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Steve Nash, Curator of Archaeology and Rick Wicker, Museum photographer

We arrived in Moscow on Saturday, March 23rd, and spent Sunday getting oriented to the beautiful city that will be our home for the next tend days. It was a typical winter day in Moscow-- really cold, snowy, and windy, but after a full day of sitting on airplanes, we simply had to get out and see the sights. What a remarkable town!

In the morning, we walked around Red Square and St. Basil's Catherdal as well as the city to the north of the Kremlin but within the various boulevard rings that encircle the city. We enjoyed surveying the culinary landscape, but were slightly startled to see a number of Amiercan fast food chains. Perhaps not too surprising are the fact that McDonald's is nearly ubiquitous and Subways are quite common. What is more surprsing is that we saw KFC, Chilii's and Sabarro as well. We took our lunch in a really cool high-end food store from which we could pick and choose a number of delicacies. After a brief rest, we went in the afternoon to Ms. Anna Konovalenko's house for an early dinner and to make plans for the week, which include lots of photography at the State Gems Museum and appointments with local experts to discuss the nature and meaning of the Konovalenko sculptures.

While at Ms. Konovalenko's, we got to see several of her husband's sculptures, most notably Tsar's Henchman. It is a perfectly wonderful rendition of a cruel man who would have been Ivan the Terrible's (16th century Russian ruler) protector and security guard. Anna and her son-in-law Alan explained tha tthe the hand cuffs represent his level of control over the population; his left eye, made of beautifully faceted diamond, symbolizes the fact that the man sees everything; there are no secrets. His shirt if made of ruby; the lower reaches of his coat malachite. Rick will work his photographic magic on the henchman later in the week.

Tomorrow is our first day at the State Gems Museum. Keep your fingers crossed!

Steve and Rick

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