Fabergé as Headline Anxiety therapy

I feel so little and powerless when I think about Ukraine. The stoics say it is pointless to worry about things you can’t control so I have been trying not to get too absorbed by it. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.” (Marcus Aurelius). Coincidentally, I had tickets to the Fabergé exhibition in London the other day, while the world was falling apart. Probably not the most suitable way to take my mind off it, given that Fabergé jewellery was stolen and used by the Bolsheviks to finance the Russian Revolution (see this beautiful propaganda) (for context, I have cried at documentaries on the Russian Revolution). But shouldn’t I tick more items on my bucket list if a nuclear war is to start? Seeing Fabergé eggs is definitely on my bucket list. On my way to the V&A on an otherwise quiet sunny Saturday, the tube was full of protesters. What are you protesting about? We want peace! Yes, we all do. Doesn’t every Miss Universe want peace? Even Putin wants peace, believe it or not. I love protests, but I hate protesters. Most of them have no clue what this is all about, but by the time they would understand the history of what they are protesting about, the war would be over anyway so I can’t hold their ignorance against them. Don’t worry about things you can’t control, Natalia.

The Fabergé exhibition was breathtaking. It reminded me of Sokurov’s Russian Ark, one of the films I’m most fond of. The exhibition comprises art and craftsmanship as well as economics, history and politics in various degrees. It’s the perfect fit of those pieces of the puzzle that makes the exhibition so thoroughly enjoyable, especially for those “jack of all trades, master of none” like myself. It starts off like any other exhibition only to reveal itself in the final room, which I noticed is a trick they like to use at the V&A. When I left the exhibition I felt like I had just woken up from a dream. I could have spent ages in that final room, but I probably couldn’t have stopped myself from smashing the glass just to hold a Fabergé egg in my hands. The thought that 7 of them are still missing makes me want to go on a julesvernian trip to find them and heroically bring them to the V&A – hoping that history won’t repeat itself and the Left won’t finance another revolution on my beloved Fabergé.

The Hymn of the Cherubim, if I remember correctly, was one of Tsar Nicholas II’s favourites and because the last room of the exhibition is playing it, I’ll probably always associate it with that day when the war just started but Fabergé managed to take my mind off it for a day.

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