On Saturday, August 13th, Dr. K. Andrea Rusnock presented “Pictures in Thread: Late Imperial Russia and Needlework” as a part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday online lecture series.

Needlework played a key role in nineteenth century Russian culture and art across all social classes, from the peasantry to the urban elite. Women plied their needles to create and embellish household articles, personal items, and interior décor. In addition to the actual objects themselves there was a plethora of publications relating to needlework produced at the end of the Imperial period. In her presentation, Rusnock examined the intersection of these varied elements of needlework in the waning years of the Russian Empire.

Rusnock presented examples of various needlework techniques and materials, and explained how work created by peasants differed from that of upper classes. She also spoke about the role of needlework in the lives of women in imperial Russia, the traditions associated with needlework, and the documentation of this art by art historians such as Vladimir Stasov. Rusnock used numerous objects from the Russian History Museum’s collection to illustrate her presentation.

About the Speaker

K. Andrea Rusnock received her Ph.D. in art history at University of Southern California under the mentorship of Dr. John Bowlt. She is a professor of art history at Indiana University South Bend with areas of expertise in Russian and Soviet art and material culture as well as Russian Imperial and global needlework. Her first book was on art during the Stalinist era, and she currently is working on her second book, which analyzes images of Soviet women during WWII. She has published articles on Russian needlework in several journals as well as having been the guest editor of the journal Experiment, in the edition focused on Russian and Soviet fashion and needlework.