Elena Varshavskaya, Ph.D.
- Currently overseeing SRAS's summer The Arts in Russia Program - EDUCATION
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Ph.D. in Art History and Art Theory (2002)
State Academy of Art, Institute of Fine Arts (Moscow), Russia.
Dissertation: Historic and Heroic Genre in Ukiyo-e Graphics (based on the series of prints by Kuniyoshi “Taiheiki eiyūden”); includes annotated translation of the texts from old Japanese on all fifty prints from the series.
M.A. in Art History and Museum Education (1976)
Art History Seminar, the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), Russia.
M.A. Teaching of English and German Languages (1974)
Herzen Pedagogical Institute, Leningrad, (now - St. Petersburg), Russia.
Department of Foreign Languages.
MAJOR AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Art history with the emphasis on Far Eastern, Central Asian and Russian art.
Exhibition curating, including formulation of the exhibition concept, selection of objects, research, devising accompanying educational materials and events.
Museum education: work with various age and social groups; visual perception and the principles of selection/organization of the presented material.
2003 - present
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Japanese Woodblock Prints of the 17th –19th Centuries
Oases on the Great Silk Road
Arts in Russia
Russian Art in Retrospective – Study Abroad Summer program hosted by the Hermitage Museum, Russia
2002 – present
Five College Center for Far Eastern Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Research and interpretation of the original ukiyo-e prints from the collection of the Center. Reading inscriptions on the prints, identification of the subject matter and putting prints into cultural context. Development of written materials to be used by middle, high school, and college/university teachers, as well as those involved in teacher training.
The Springfield Art Museums, Springfield, MA
Assistant Curator of Art
Research and evaluation of art museum collections, writing didactic labels for the exhibits, preparation and installation of exhibitions including planning, selection of objects, putting together exhibition brochures, providing in-depth presentations, consulting visitors to the curatorial department, responding to inquiries on art collections, lecturing to public/staff, providing docent training.
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Education Department and Oriental Department
Senior Researcher and Lecturer
Tasks included conducting seminars for the Hermitage Art History School, providing extensive in-depth lecture courses and workshops based on the Far Eastern, Central Asian, Archeological and Russian art collections at the Hermitage, composing manuals for beginners in museum education in the Far Eastern exhibitions of the Hermitage, lecturing for and testing of the beginners in the museum educational work, lecturing in art history and art theory for the Hermitage Education Department, developing outreach programs for high school and college/university students.
NC State University. Raleigh, NC
Course offered: Cultural History of St. Petersburg
This one-semester course focusing on art history explored how the Western cultural tendencies were conceived in the Russian territory. Emphasis was made on architectural styles in St. Petersburg and its suburbs, St. Petersburg art museum collections and the contribution of St. Petersburg to the Russian artistic, literary and philosophic heritage.
Wake County Community College. Raleigh, NC
Russian Language Instructor
The program included the beggining Russian.
St. Petersburg Art History Teachers’ Instruction Program, St. Petersburg, Russia
Lecturer on Far Eastern Arts
Three-semester lecture course for high school teachers in history and social studies examined historic development of major artistic phenomena in Chinese and Japanese traditional pictorial arts from their origin up to the early 20th century. Special emphasis was made on the influence of religion, philosophy and popular beliefs on the peculiar art forms.
Research work in Japan subsidized by The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies. Tokyo, Kyoto, Matsumoto, Japan
The grant was awarded to study the history of Azuchi-Momoyama period (l. 16th c.) to enhance understanding of this period’s reflection in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the mid-19th century.
St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA
Exchange Lecturer on the Arts in Russia
The course focused on Russian 19th century art and architecture; along with daily classes, it included three public presentations
1994 – 1995
Oriental Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia,
Lecturer on Japanese Art
One-year course examined the arts of Japan from the Paleolithic period up to the Meiji era. This survey program regarded the major artistic phenomena against historical background and in the cultural context (with special emphasis on the ideological sources of the artistic tradition).
North-Western Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Lecturer on Japanese Applied Arts
One-year course explored Japanese ceramics, lacquerware, woodwork, and textile. Particular emphasis was made on the formation of the aesthetical and technological traditions within each of the related mediums.
The Hermitage Student Center, Russia
Co-curated annual exhibition of RISD students' works Under the Hermitage Vaults, a grand finale of RISD Summer Program at the Hermitage; responsibilities included also preparation of the brochure, writing press-releases and giving interviews for broadcasting.
The Hermitage Student Center, Russia
Co-curated exhibition of RISD students' works Under the Hermitage Vaults, a grand finale of RISD Summer Program at the Hermitage.
2003, December – 2004, April
The RISD Museum, RI
Co-curated exhibition Happiness and Longevity. Deities of Good Fortune in Japanese Prints, from the collection of RISD Museum.
Installation of temporary exhibition of Russian icons Windows into Heaven: Holy Art of Imperial Russia
The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
Included research, docent training and lectures.
Installation of Japanese prints’ exhibition
The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
A Way in the Snow, including planning, selection of objects, research, composing didactic labels, putting together gallery brochures, and providing docent training and gallery talks.
Installation of the Japanese print exhibition
The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
Tales of the Warrior, including planning, selection of objects, research, composing didactic labels, putting together gallery brochures, and organizing two seminars.
Installation of the exhibition of the Chinese cloisonné Style and Symbol
The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
Included selection of objects and composing didactic labels.
1983, May - June
The Hermitage, Russia.
Participation in the installation of the Japanese prints and netsuke exhibition, including planning, selection of objects, research, composing didactic labels, writing an introductory paper for the catalogue, providing in-depth lectures.
· 2004, April. Forty-seven Loyal Retainers in Japanese prints (based on collection of the Five College Center for Far Eastern Studies). Seminar for Rhode Island art- and social science teachers.
· 2004, February. Happiness and Longevity: popular deities of good fortune in Japanese prints. Gallery-talk at RISD Museum for Rhode Island art- and social science teachers.
· 2003, October. Classicism in St. Petersburg Architecture. Guest speaker for the course Russian Culture: the Modern Age. Yale University.
· 2002, March. Japanese woodblock prints by the Utagawa artists (from the collection of the Five College Center for East Asian Studies). North East Regional Conference on the Social Studies. Boston, MA.
· 2002, February. The secret folk hero (image of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the collective consciousness of townspeople). The Annual B. B. Piotrovsky Memorial Conference. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia.
· 2001, June. Wrathful deities of Buddhism and the influence of their iconography on the formation of the heroic genre in ukiyo-e graphics. International conference “The East – Russia – The West”. World Religions and Art. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia.
· 2000, December. Japanese woodblock prints by Kuniyoshi. Museum a la carte program. The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
· 2000, October. Unification of Japan through the lens of “Taiheiki eiyu den” series. Seminar on warrior prints by Kuniyoshi. The Springfield Art Museums, MA.
· 2000, January. A set of Japanese woodblock prints as a specific art form: to the problem of composition. Far Eastern Seminar. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia.
· 1998. Martial attributes in the warrior prints by Kuniyoshi. Kuniyoshi Centennial Exhibition. International Symposium. Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
· 1997. The Hermitage in the 20th century. The College of William and Mary. Williamsburg, VA.
· 1997. Back from Confinement: 74 unknown, missing or forgotten masterpieces revealed at the Hermitage. UNC-Chapel Hill, NC.
· 1996. The land of Scythians and the Silk Road oases: a periphery of the great ancient civilizations of the east. Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA.
· 1995. Ritual elements in tea ceremony. Conference “Temple in Culture”. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia.
· 1995. Russian excavations along the Great Silk Road.Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C.
· 1995. The history of the Far Eastern and Central Asian collections in the State Hermitage Museum in Russia. The Asia Society, Washington Branch. Washington, D.C.
· 1995. The deserted city of Khara-Khoto. USA National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C.
· 1995. A portrait of a military commander Takenaka Shigeharu by Kuniyoshi. V. F. Levinson-Lessing Memorial Conference. The Hermitage, Russia.
· 1994. On one Russian private netsuke collection. Paris - Edo Netsuke Convention. Paris, France.
· 1994. Two heroes of the Japanese civil wars of the end of the 16th centuries in the prints by Kuniyoshi. The Annual B. B. Piotrovsky Memorial Conference. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia.
Legends of Samurai Valor from “The Tale of Grand Pacification”. (The book is based on dissertation). Kaliningrad, 2006. 235 P.
Heroes of the Grand Pacification. Kuniyoshi’s Taiheiki eiyūden Hotei Publishing, the Netherlands. 2006. 192 pp.
Protagonists of the late 16th century historic drama in woodblock prints by Kuniyoshi. Accepted for the collection of articles In Memoriam of V.N. Goregliad. Institute of Oriental Studies. Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg division. December, 2004
The secret folk hero. The image of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the collective consciousness of townspeople. The Annual B. B. Piotrovsky Memorial Conference. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia. Proceedings. 2002, pp. 32-35.
The influence of the Esoteric Buddhist Iconography on the development of musha-e, the military genre in ukiyo-e graphics. International conference “The East – Russia – The West”. World Religions and Art. The Hermitage. St. Petersburg, Russia. Proceedings. 2001, pp. 27-31.
Tales of the warrior: Japanese prints by Kuniyoshi. Springfield Library and Museums Quarterly. Autumn, 2000, pp. 8-9.
Letter to the Editor. Impessions, No. 22, no p. The Journal of the Ukiyo-e Society of America, Inc.
Pictorial formulae of martial attributes in warrior prints by Kuniyoshi. Andon (Bulletin of the Society for the Japanese Art, The Netherlands), v. 60, 1998, pp. 3-22.
Celestial Globe as an Attribute of a Military Strategist. Ibid, v. 55, 1996, pp. 17-25.
A portrait of Takenaka Shigeharu by Kuniyoshi. V. F. Levinson-Lessing Memorial Readings. The Hermitage, Russia. Proceedings. 1995, pp. 44-47.
Three prints from the “Taiheiki Eiyu Den” series by Kuniyoshi. Andon (Bulletin of the Society for the Japanese Art, The Netherlands), v. 52, 1995, pp. 18-29.
Two heroes of the Japanese Civil Wars of the end of the 16th century in the prints by Kuniyoshi. The Annual B. B. Piotrovsky Memorial Conference. The Hermitage, Russia. Proceedings. 1994, pp. 16-19.
On some Japanese titles of erotic pictures. Collection of articles "Kunstkamera", Published by: St. Petersburg Oriental Studies. St. Petersburg, 1994, pp. 72-89.
"The V.P. Sukachev Art Museum, Irkutsk". Chapter The Far Eastern Arts. Ed. and translation by E.Varshavskaya. ARS publishers, LTD. St. Petersburg, 1993.
w/ M.Uspensky. Catalogue of the temporary exhibition of the Japanese woodblock prints. Introductory paper, Leningrad, 1982, pp. 52-69.
SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS
· Massachusetts Cultural Council, 2000 Malden, MA
· Ota Memorial Museum for Ukiyo-e Studies, 1999 Tokyo, Japan
· The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, 1996 Kyoto, Japan
· Attingham Society Scholarship, 1992 London, UK
· Ukiyo-e Society of America New York, NY
· Society for Japanese Arts Amsterdam, the Netherlands
· Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. Associate in Research Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
I hold an ME from Herzen Pedagogical Institute of St. Petersburg (Russia) and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts of the State Academy of Art, Moscow (Russia).
Prior to coming to live in the USA several years ago I had been working as a senior researcher and a lecturer at the State Hermitage Museum for over two decades. My areas of specialization include Russian, Central Asian and Far Eastern Art. My research and educational work resulted in developing lecture courses, publishing articles in Russian and foreign periodicals and participating in national and international conferences.
I have published a book called Heroes of the Grand Pacification, which is based on my disertation concerning Kuniyoshi's Taiheiki Eiyuden (Hotei Publishers, the Netherlands, 2006). It is devoted to the representation of the Japanese civil wars of the late 16th century in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the mid-19th century and concerns the treatment of the forbidden historic subject matter in the arts in a society with strictly controlled ideology.
As a lecturer, for years I had regularly given tutorials of various art collections of the Hermitage. My audiences ranged from high-school students to college students to teachers to simply interested adults, both domestic and foreign. The classes embraced gallery talks, slide presentations and systematic in-depth courses, which, when needed, were provided English. Along with working at the Hermitage museum, I had always extensively lectured in art history at many of St. Petersburg educational institutions, such as universities and teachers’ training programs.
While still in Russia I already had a chance to acquire some professional experience in the USA. Starting in 1990s for about a decade I lectured on multiple occasions on an exchange basis at the museums, universities, colleges and schools in the USA, including The Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, Mt. Holyoke College, UNC at Chapel Hill, the College of William and Mary. I also taught comprehensive courses on the arts in Russia (1995, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA) and on St. Petersburg cultural history at NC State University (1998).
In 2000 I worked for a year as an assistant curator at the Art Museums in Springfield, MA. There I curated two exhibitions of Japanese woodblock prints and participated in preparation of a number of shows, one of them on Russian icons (Windows into Heaven, 2001). I also gave many public talks and provided training sessions for docents.
Since 2003 I have been teaching art history as a part-time lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI (RISD). My courses there are: "Arts in Russia," "Oases on the Great Silk Road," and "Japanese Woodblock Prints."
For the Summer Semester I lead a Study Abroad course "Russian Art in Retrospective" hosted by the Hermitage Student Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. I also direct The Russian Art and Language Institute (RALI) that offers classes in Russian language, art history and studio art in St. Petersburg, at the Hermitage Museum and Herzen Pedagogical University. RALI works in close collaboration with SRAS.