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Still-life in the Avant-garde Style

The Fabergé Museum has acquired a very special piece for its collection - a stone-cut jeweled still-life that is made in the avant-garde style. It shows a fragment made of silver depicting the newspaper, Vedomosti SPB gradonachalstva, dating from 18 October 1905, and with a brick made of red jasper. This date is significant because the famous October Manifesto by Czar Nicolas II was published in the newspaper on 17 October 1905. The Manifesto was at the time considered as a prototype to the first Russian Constitution; and in this document Nicholas II announced the establishment of a two-chamber parliament in Russia (the State Duma), and he guaranteed constitutional rights and freedoms to all citizens: the right of choice, freedoms of speech, religion and worship.

Next to the newspaper are leftover foods: a fried egg sunny-side up with the yolk made of amber, and the egg-white made of white enamel; two fish (silver), one is still whole, while the other has only a skeleton left. Also, there is an unfinished glass of vodka (rock crystal) and an unfinished cigarette butt (quartz, silver). Two exquisite flies (silver) appear to be crawling over the leftovers, and they complete the picture of frowziness and a hangover mood.

The authors leave the interpretation of the work to the viewers. Obviously, this is a political caricature reflecting pronounced skepticism. At the time, the "October Manifesto" was largely criticized by monarchists who considered it unacceptable to let the foundation of the Empire be shifted in favor of so-called "democratic elements''. For their part, democratic forces criticized the Tsar for failing to democratize society enough. Each person can draw his own conclusions. For us, the staff of the Fabergé Museum, the most important fact is that we are able to exhibit another masterpiece by Carl Fabergé, who unceasingly allows us to discover his work from a new and unusual perspective and who delights us with perfection.



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