On September 6, 2017, the State Historical Museum and ANNA NOVA Jewelry House opened an exhibition dedicated to the 205th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino. Unique set of interior chess “Year 1812” is presented at this exhibition.
Chess “Year 1812” is a jewelry masterpiece, representing real participants of the Patriotic War. This work consists of 32 chessmen, including Emperors Alexander I and Napoleon I Bonaparte, their retinue – Kutuzov, Barclay de Tolly, Bagration, Platov, Murat, Davout, Ney, Poniatowski, as well as pawns – soldiers of the Life-guards Preobrazhensky Regiment, grenadiers of the Imperial Guard (Old guard) and military musicians. Weapons, orders, signs and ribbons of the personages, match their status and correspond to historical patterns. Elaboration of jewelry is so subtle that tiny swords and hatchets can be taken out of the scabbard, pistols and guns have the cocked triggers.
Chessmen of 12 sm high are made of niello silver and gold and set on jade pedestals. They are decorated with 6,687 diamonds, 9,363 rubies and 3,245 sapphires of various colors, fixed in the most complicated technique of pave.
Work on chess was carried out about three years; twenty-five specialists took part in it: artists, designers, jewelers, stone cutters, founders and engravers. Masters of ANNA NOVA Jewelry House demonstrated proficiency in finest sculptural plastics, complex jewelry techniques and bold design ideas, seeking to show not only portrait likeness, but also similarities of the chosen persons’ characters. It was highly appreciated by professional community.
This set also includes a chess table, a pair of chairs and a drawer for storing chessmen made in the style of Empire. The chess board – a table-top of white and black jade – is another achievement of this project. It took more than six months to make it. Many experts agreed that it was impossible to produce a board of this size, but the author put together several hundred details of carved stone with perfectly smooth sides and angles showing outstanding craftsmanship.
For the first time chess “Year 1812” was presented to public in 2009 in the museum-panorama “Battle of Borodino” in Moscow. In 2010 this work was highly appreciated by Princess of Kent, who patronized the exhibition of jewelry and stained glass windows at the International Festival “Imperial Gardens of Russia”. In the same year chess became the main exhibit of the “War and Peace” exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum of St. Petersburg. Within the framework of the exhibition, famous chess player Mark Taimanov held a symbolic match with the cultural attaché of the French embassy. The match ended with the victory of the famous Russian grandmaster.
Since September 6, 2017 residents and guests of the capital will be able to see unique chess in the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812; the exhibition is on till March 31, 2018.