ASailing Russian Ark to the New World

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My dear child! You’re heading to a place where many different people live in comfort and prosperity. They are very busy people, very proud people.

Many of them have little interest in what is vitally important for you, many of them know very little about your homeland, and almost none of them understand your language…

But those people have achieved a great deal in their lives–they have built a great, young country, they have thought a great deal about justice and peace, they are young and, as a result, filled with an astonishing energy and a wish to lead world civilization, a wish that they are managing to accomplish…

My dear child, be careful, don’t force your convictions or your tastes upon those people. Behave well and keep your quiet. Don’t talk too loud and don’t dispute with the Americans. Put your faith in God’s will and in the aid of your native Hermitage–let our God, the Hermitage, in its own quiet voice, with its wise soul and its long, difficult, persecuted life, speak for itself…

And tell of the fact that a museum is a home for living art, and that dead art doesn’t exist!

And that a man only lives through art, if he is, of course, still alive…

And that the time has again come for people to build arks and that there must be no delay, and that the Russians have already built their Ark, but not just for themselves–they will take all with them, they will save all, because neither Rembrandt, nor El Greco, nor Stasov, nor Raphael, nor Guarenghi nor Rastrelli will allow an ark such as this to disappear or people to die…

Those that will be together with them, at least, will definitely go to heaven.

If one loves and protects these gods, then only to heaven…

My child, my Russian Ark, tell them that it is good in heaven…

And another thing, my dear Ark! Ask the Americans to open their hearts and to seal their lips, ask them to humbly spend an hour and a half in the semi-darkness of the cinema where they will be rewarded, and tell them that nothing will threaten them in that time, apart from their own hard-heartedness…

–St. Petersburg, Russia


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