Piecing things together

Piecing things together

The Year of Germany in St. Petersburg begins with a challenge.

Published: September 19, 2012 (Issue # 1727)


Residents of St. Petersburg assemble the world’s largest puzzle on Sunday.

The program of the Year of Germany in St. Petersburg 2012-2013 was officially presented in the city last week.

The Year of Germany in Russia represents the Russian half of a cultural exchange between the two countries that began in June.

German Consul General in St. Petersburg Benedikt Haller and Alexander Prokhorenko, head of City Hall’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the city would host more than 100 different events in the spheres of politics, economics, culture, science, education and other fields of collaboration between the two countries.

Haller said that for the German Consulate, the realization of the St. Petersburg program had a special significance, as this year the Consulate will mark the 40th anniversary of its opening in the city.

Prior to the beginning of the cultural exchange, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko visited the German state of Bavaria, where the two sides signed an agreement on mutual collaboration.

Most of the events of the Year of Germany in Russia will take place in St. Petersburg and Moscow this year, spreading to other Russian cities in 2013. Around 1,000 events in total will take place in Russia as part of the cultural exchange.

The program of events in St. Petersburg began with the assembly of the world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle, an image of German artist Albrecht Durer’s picture “Self Portrait in a Fur Coat” on Palace Square on Sunday.

The idea of assembling jigsaw puzzles depicting masterpieces by eminent artists first appeared in the German city of Nuremberg eight years ago. A puzzle of the picture “Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman” by Nuremberg native Durer, one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, was put together by residents of the town. The event proved so popular that the puzzle then went on tour in Italy, Poland and China.

The “Self Portrait in a Fur Coat” puzzle was produced especially for the Year of Germany in Russia. The painting, the original of which is kept in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, is one of Durer’s most daring works. Durer painted himself in a frontal pose, a remarkably bold move, as at that time only icons with the image of Jesus Christ were painted that way.

The puzzle is recognized as being the biggest in the world and measures 15 by 20 meters. It consists of 1,023 pieces, each measuring 70 by 40 centimeters and weighing 800 grams.

The jigsaw puzzle’s journey across Russia began in Moscow on June 20, and in August it was assembled by the residents of Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk.

The next major event of the Year of Germany in St. Petersburg will be a performance by opera diva Christine Schafer on Sept. 20, followed by an exhibition of drawings and engravings by German artists at the State Hermitage Museum.

The list of other events also includes art exhibits, theater performances, discussions and conferences.

The Year of Germany is intended to strengthen Russian-German partnership, offer ideas for solving global issues and open the way to a future of mutual cooperation between the two countries.

Germany is St. Petersburg’s second-biggest trade partner in terms of export and import. According to the Russian-German Chamber of Commerce, there are about 700 companies with German investment registered in the city.

For more information about the cultural program of the Year of Germany in Russia, visit www.germanyinrussia.ru

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