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When Clay Comes to Life

When Clay Comes to Life
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27 September – 17 October.
10:00 – 21:00
room 306

A book and illustration exhibition "When Clay Comes to Life" demonstrating ceramics and porcelain images from the collection of graphic documents of the National Library of Belarus is on show in the Fine Arts Reading Room (room 306) from September 27 to October 17.

The history of world ceramics is extremely varied and fascinating, it impresses with the number of discoveries and achievements, it surprises with the abundance of types and techniques, the wealth of heritage created by masters of different epochs and countries. After all, ceramics (from the Greek “keramos” – clay) have been known since ancient times, when people began to master clay, which is the basis of the entire range of porcelain and ceramic products and comes to life in the hands of a skilled craftsman. Not afraid to experiment, the ancient Egyptians and later ancient craftsmen boldly used new techniques. A real revolution in the history of ceramics came from the Chinese in the 4th–6th centuries: rich deposits of kaolin (Chinese clay) allowed the invention of porcelain, a type of fine ceramics created from a mixture of different types of clay and translucent glaze, which are subjected to high firing temperatures. By the eighteenth century, Chinese products had spread widely in Europe and contributed to further discoveries around the world. Today, it is difficult to imagine our life without ceramic and porcelain products – utensils, vases, teapots, figurines, candlesticks and many more decor and interior items that are not only used in everyday life but are also collectibles.

The exhibition presents albums of reproductions, postcards, encyclopaedias, exhibition catalogues, articles on the history of ceramics and porcelain around the world. With the help of illustrative documents, users will trace the entire development of ceramic and porcelain products from antiquity to the present day; enjoy the masterpieces of the famous porcelain factories of Meissen and Sevres, ceramics by Pablo Picasso, Russian imperial porcelain and products of private factories, among which are Franz Gardner's and Leopold Bonafede's, Gulin Brothers Factory, Kuznetsov Partnership.

The exhibition allows you to compare ceramic and porcelain products from different countries, including China and Korea, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia. Visitors will be delighted to see images of porcelain figurines from the Soviet past, which were once in almost every family, and now continue to attract many collectors. The reproductions of propaganda porcelain are also worth a look, as are the creative experiments of the workshops of Kazimir Malevich and Sergey Chekhonin.

The images representing the work of Belarusian ceramicists are deserving of attention: Mikalaj Mikhalap, Mikalaj Pushkar, contemporary masters, including Anatol Kantsub, Mikalaj Bajrachny, Valier and Maksim Kaltyhins, Liudmila and Valier Kavalchuk, Mikalaj Nestsiareuski and others.

The exhibition is complemented by books about the variety of types of ceramics and the specifics of the technology used to create them. Colourful encyclopaedic editions help visitors to understand the special features of fine and coarse ceramics and learn to distinguish between porcelain and faience, majolica and glazed tiles.

The opening hours of the exhibition correspond to the library’s opening hours.
Admission is by the library card or by the Social and Cultural Centre ticket.

For more info: (+375 17) 293 27 53.

Special Collections Service Department.



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