Calligraphy on a Wing of a Fly and on a doorframe

Russia’s only Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy celebrated its first anniversary receiving a World Famous Mezuzah, a gift from Jerusalem, and organizing the calligraphy session to the accompaniment of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.

This museum was established by a private enterprise and is now located on the Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre premises. The museum does not have a permanent exhibition, but a pretty impressive collection has already gathered. This collection the owners presented on the first anniversary. To be precise, the matter concerns the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy, i.e. the current forms of this old art. Contrary to popular opinion, the ability to finely write words on paper is in demand even in an era of laser printers, which perhaps, gives it a special glamour. With great gusto hundreds of artists around the world write verses from the Quran, poems from the Poetic Edda, the Buddhist mantra, and the Orthodox troparia using goose-quill pens or squirrel brushes.

There is no one special motivation for this activity, of course.

Some people just keep the millennial traditions passed from generation to generation (especially the Chinese and Japanese who accept calligraphy as naturally as air). Others are trying to renew the lost skills of their ancestors. Some people are attracted with the meditative and secret nature of this art which contrasts with the bustle of everyday life. Anyway, calligraphy is experiencing a genuine renaissance in recent years; however, it is not always noticeable to those who are not involved.

The Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy is called upon to promote this art.

The period of the funds' primary accumulation includes the “going out” to the outside world. For example, in October of this year Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre will host a major international exhibition of calligraphy, launched by the museum.

The presented collection also has an international character; the exhibits were brought from 60 countries. Russian authors are dominating, of course, but there are entire sections devoted to Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Indian works. The collection also features works of Jewish and Arab calligraphy schools; runic, Church Slavonic, baroque writings, as well as numerous variations of modern script fonts that are quite far from the usual Times and Courier fonts.

There is also a rarity in the collection: Taiwanese Chen Forng Shean managed to make an inscription on a wing of a fly, one that can only be made with a lens.

From the aforementioned it is easy to say that sacred calligraphy is still one of the most powerful and influential arts. A bright example of calligraphy, the World Famous Mezuzah listed in the Guinness Book of Records and executed by a famous calligrapher Avraham Borshevsky, the museum received as a gift from Israel. According to the Jewish mores, scrolls with texts from the Torah are put into a decorative case and affixed to the doorframe. Thus a mezuzah protects the house from misfortune.

The World Famous Mezuzah is the world's largest scroll of this kind.

As the rabbi presented this gift to the audience, the Muslim priest gave a Sura of the Quran, performed in Arabic script; and the Orthodox priest presented a psalm afterwards. The masters from China, South Korea and Russia were performing on-line with improvisations to the accompaniment of the Moonlight Sonata in order to make the celebration of the old art even more international. Everyone created something unique, which was not really related with Beethoven’s music, but demonstrated the ability of national schools.

The handwritten copy of the National Anthem of the Russian Federation executed by calligrapher Yevgeny Drobyazin in a co-authorship with an Italian calligrapher Barbara Calzolari was proudly demonstrated by the organizers.

The masterpiece of their collaboration Silvio Berlusconi recently presented to Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 summit in L'Aquila. Since the beginning of time calligraphers work by the authorities” requests, as the art has always been elitist. Today, however, professionals are seeking a way for a more general audience to know the art. A good package does not guarantee the preservation of tradition.