This Weekend in St. Petersburg: December 8-9

Now that we’re approaching the thick of December, there are more and more winter events on the horizon. Here’s our separate overview of those, but for the time being, we’re proclaiming our weekend guide an (almost) festive-free zone (you’re welcome). On this weekend’s agenda, art exhibitions by the truckload, one very lustrous festival, an observation of the Sun, and some niche holiday shopping!

Credit: vk.com/vmeza

Art

‘Serene humanism’, dexterous command of geometric forms, and funky perspective that is almost surrealistic in its bluntness: given his enormous artistic talent and ingenuity, Piero della Francesca can be easily named as one of the most accomplished artists of the Early Renaissance. One of the most celebrated, too, both in his time and today, having been included by Giorgio Vasari in his seminal 16th-century treatise Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, aka ‘the first important book on art history’. Sadly, the great master hasn’t had that much of a reach in Russia, partly because there are no works of his in our museum collections.

Serenity, embodied: Annunciation from Piero della Francesca's Polyptych of Perugia. Credit: wikiart.org
Serenity, embodied: Annunciation from Piero della Francesca's Polyptych of Perugia. Credit: wikiart.org

Up until now, at least: a major monographic exhibition of Piero della Francesca is about to open in the State Hermitage on December 7, putting on view his most famous oeuvres (including his beau idéal of Madonna di Senigallia) scouted from all over Italy, Spain, Portugal and Britain. An event not to miss if there ever was one. The State Hermitage tickets start at 300 rubles (but are completely free for students, hip hip hooray).

The face-off: portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza by Piero della Francesca. Credit: wikiart.org
The face-off: portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza by Piero della Francesca. Credit: wikiart.org

And while you’re there, make sure to drop by ‘Believe not thine eyes.’ Trompe l’oeil in Art exhibition starting from December 8 in the Manège of the Small Hermitage. An impressive display of around 700 items is full to the gunwales with illusory reproductions of real-life objects made with special art techniques that play games with your mind and perception. Isn’t that great? Tickets cost 300 rubles, free for students, you know the drill.

Is this the real life, is it just fantasy? A trompe l'oeil. Credit: streetartnews.net
Is this the real life, is it just fantasy? A trompe l'oeil. Credit: streetartnews.net

Also on the cards is the Red, Yellow, White exhibition hosted by the Russian Museum of Ethnography. Dedicated to coral, amber, pearls, nacre and shells, the event explores the material and immaterial role of such tchotchkes in the traditional culture of the peoples of Eurasia, emphasizing their ancient archetypal meanings, religious interpretation and usage in everyday rites. The artefacts will be complemented with an informative interactive program recreating the concise history of the organic stones’ arrival to the Eurasian continent. Highbrows and gem lovers ahoy. Tickets cost 300 rubles for everyone and 100 rubles for students.

A trinket with a meaning. Credit: ethnomuseum.ru
A trinket with a meaning. Credit: ethnomuseum.ru

Light

Teeny-weeny twinkling lights, delicate wreaths and minimalistically monochrome tinsel? No thank you. This is how we do winter festivities in Russia: on December 7-8, the St. Petersburg Babushkina Park will become home to a fiery pyrotechnic-laser show Vmeste Zajigaem. Lighting pros from all over Russia will gather in St. Pete to show off their mastery and magic, in a gleaming flow of performances featuring flame, sparks, flashlights, and other such pizzazz. There will also be a big interactive zone and a no less impressive food court for you to play with and pig out on, and you’ll be able to launch an illuminated balloon in the sky as part of a flash mob (and it will be flashy). Tickets cost 500 rubles and can be bought on the event’s VK page.

Dazzling. Credit: vk.com/vmeza
Dazzling. Credit: vk.com/vmeza

Craving some sun? Held on December 8 from 1 to 3 pm, a tour through the historic Pulkovo Observatory will help you get that elusive fix of vitamin D: touted as a star attraction of the program is the observation of the Sun via the venue’s powerful telescopes.

Reaching for the stars: the Pulkovo Observatory. Credit: okoguide.com
Reaching for the stars: the Pulkovo Observatory. Credit: okoguide.com

You’ll also pay a visit to the Observatory’s Museum, which boast a unique collection of astronomical tools of past and present, as well as ancient clocks, illustrations, and other space-related curios, gaze at the wintry St. Petersburg from the skydeck of the Observatory’s Central Tower, and discover more of our Universe through the informative films and documentaries screened as part of the event. Tickets cost 550 rubles and are available here.

High сlassicism: that's how observatories look in St. Petersburg. Credit: Philipp Chistyakov on Flickr
High сlassicism: that's how observatories look in St. Petersburg. Credit: Philipp Chistyakov on Flickr

Shopping

Our ‘hint-hint, time to buy Christmas presents’ malarkey continues with two rather niche shopping-spree opportunities that will allow you to stock up for goodies for the hard-to-buy-for folks in your life, all in the same place of St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex.

Antique heaven. Credit: vk.com/kollekcionerspb.ruyarma
Antique heaven. Credit: vk.com/kollekcionerspb.ruyarma

Happening on December 7-9 from 11 am to 8 pm is the Antique Fair, a large scale event chock-full of heritage porcelain, glass, bronze, silver collectibles, as well as drawings, clocks, and other trinket-y stuff that is sure to melt the heart of even the most pernickety lover of all things vintage. Tickets cost 180 rubles.

Aaall the records, lines and lines of 'em. Credit: theunderdogrecords.com
Aaall the records, lines and lines of 'em. Credit: theunderdogrecords.com

And if you decide to pop by said venue on December 8, you’ll also happen upon a fair of vinyl records, which will also include retro and modern record players, turntables, accessories, and posters. There will be ABBA, there will be Bowie, there will be The Beatles, possibly something latter-day and some top-drawer jazz, and with for-a-song prices as well. December 8, from 11 am to 6 pm; be there or be square.

Have a great weekend! Yours truly, ITMO.NEWS

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