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Unashamedly Traditional and Unapologetically Beautiful

Tomorrow, March 24th, an intimate exhibition of architectural watercolor renderings by the New York based architectural husband-and-wife team Irina Shumitskaya and Anton Glikin opens at the Gelabert Studios Gallery (255 W 86th Street, NY). The opening reception starts at 5.30PM, complimentary tours by the artists take place on Friday, March 27th, Tuesday, March 31st, Thursday, April 2nd, from 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm.

Shumitskaya and Glikin studied at the St. Petersburg’s Architecture & Construction Institute in the 1990’s, where they took advantage of its traditional training in the art of architecture. The Academy was founded in 1757, hundred and nine years after the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and thirty six years before the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The three schools were the focal points of Europe’s artistic education.

During the late 18th century, the Academy’s program was closely modeled after the École, subsequently even surpassing the École’s model in some aspects. As the result of this educational evolution and the element of isolation in St. Petersburg, by the 1990’s the Academy offered some of the most flourishing and sophisticated living tradition of architectural rendering.

“Alas,” say the artists, “the cultural crisis that went hand-in-hand with the Russian economic recession has destroyed this last bastion of traditional education. Essentially, the Academy followed the tragic fate of École, which closed its traditional program in 1968.” Shumitskaya and Glikin share their (living and practiced) memories of the Academy in this exhibit which pays homage to the traditional education it once offered, with a wistful eye to the ease with which such a tradition can and did succumb to fads that don’t always--in fact: rarely--replace adequately what is lost with the old. If H.R.H., The Prince of Wales’ stance on architecture--admirable at the very least for not being afraid of being called musty (or worse)--appeals to you, this will, too.

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