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This lecture will follow the geographical evolution of the Russian state between the 16th and the 19th centuries, taking in the 14th and the 15th centuries as crucial for the formation of the geographical nucleus of Russia. The key stages and events in the complex, many centuries-long geo-political history of the country shall be examined through the agency of artefacts, exceptional in their significance and meaning, from the collections of the Moscow Kremlin. We shall look, in particular, at the Crown commissioned to commemorate the annexation of Kazan Khanate on River Volga (16th century), the standard, featuring the lion and the unicorn, of Ermak Timofeevich, the explorer of Siberia (16th century), at the medals, first of their kind, commemorating the victory in the long Northern War (18th century), as a result of which Russia restored control over her old territories in the north-west, an Easter egg, created for the Romanovs in 1900 and illustrating the extent of the Empire through a depiction of the Trans-Siberian railway, and others, equally revealing and capturing imagination with their air of danger, peril, courage and patriotism.
Dr Elena Kashina studied for her MPhil in Mediaeval Viking and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Oslo, following an award of a scholarship by the Research Council of Norway and gained her PhD in the History of Art at Leeds in 2007. Her scholarly interests include changes of traditional iconographies in sixteenth-century Russia, in their political and cultural context, and the history of artistic patronage, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current research focuses on contributing to the edited collection on A Obra de Arte Total: Um conceito para todos os tempos e lugares (The Gesamtkunstwerk: A concept for all times and places), to be published in 2015.