On Wednesday, the State Architectural Museum /SAM/ on Wednesday opens a new exhibition called "Music for the Eyes." Timed to coincide with the 250th birth anniversary of the famous artist Pietro Gonzaga /1751-1831/, the exhibition is a joint project organised under the aegis of the Italian Culture Museum and uniting the Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum, the Military and Historical Archives and the Bakhrushin Theatrical Museum, a SAM official said. The name of the exhibition, "Music for the Eyes," was taken from a treatise by Gonzaga, who made a valuable contribution to the history of theatrical scenery. A prominent representative of classicism, he is equally cherished in Italy, the country where he was born and achieved his first success, and Russia, where he spent almost 40 years. An architect, scene-painter and author of park ensembles and monumental paintings, Gonzaga worked at La Scala and painted scenery for 300 performances staged in Rome, Genoa, Parma and other Italian cities. He travelled to Russia in 1792 and acted as the head decorator of the country's imperial theaters until 1828. The exhibition features sketches of plafond decorations that grace the Throne Hall of a palace in Pavlovsk, a town outside St. Petersburg. However, the Gonzaga's best-known creation is situated outside Moscow -- in 1810, Prince Nikolai Yusupov, the artist's friend and patron, asked him to design a theater for the Arkhangelskoye Estate. The artist painted 12 sets of stage decorations -- the sketches to some of them are now being exhibited alongside a drawing of the theater building, which looks both harmonious and austere. 4 original decorations painted by Gonzaga and the theater's curtain have survived and can be found in modern scale models. Sadly enough, they cannot be viewed due to the fact that the building is in a critical condition and close to collapsing. The World Monuments Watch has included it in its list of the world's 100 objects of cultural heritage that need immediate reconstruction.
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