Fabergé Gallery Renovation
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,
THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS holds one of the foremost collections of Fabergé objects outside of Russia with over 150 pieces including five Imperial Easter eggs. Previously housed in a much smaller square room, the redesign of the Fabergé Gallery celebrates this significant collection by expanding and reorganizing the collection into five gallery spaces. Each of the gallery spaces showcases specific assortments from the collection, from enamels to hardstones to Russian icons. These are housed largely in recessed picture window display cases. The Imperial Easter eggs are the centerpiece of the new permanent exhibit at the museum. Arranged in a round room, the eggs are displayed in individual cases so that the visitors might appreciate the intricate splendor of these objects from all sides.
The architecture of the space was designed to support the detailed quality of the objects, articulating the space with a classical motif of painted columns, cornice and trim. The detail of the trim work increases as you move through the exhibit, from simply wainscoting and cornice in the entry galleries to engaged doric pilasters and pedestals in the interior galleries. The detail grows to its maximum crescendo with three-quarter round fluted doric columns and an intricately detailed chair rail in the central round egg gallery. The central gallery is accentuated with a shallow, elliptical dome ceiling, bearing out some of the same drama that is revealed with the Fabergé eggs themselves when they are opened and unfolded. The simple color palette, warm stained wood floors, and symmetry throughout the galleries serve to complement the objects themselves and celebrate their artistry. The architecture of the galleries was designed in close collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s curators, lighting designer, and exhibition design staff to create an inspiring exhibition. Opened in October 2016, the result has been a dramatic success for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and their permanent collections.
Photos: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts