Natural Philosophy
16.02.2024 - 24.03.2024

Ruarts Gallery presents the exhibition ‘Natural Philosophy’, a visual series by the photographer Mikhail Rozanov dedicated to parks in Russia and Europe, with scholarly commentary by historian and writer Andrey Karagodin.

For many centuries the landscape gardening ensemble has been and remains a significant source of human knowledge and aesthetic experience. It serves as a means of artistic education and comprises an integral part of our idea of the world picture. “Since ancient times ‘natural philosophy’ was the name for man’s desire to explain nature and find system and order there,” Andrey Karagodin says in his explanation of the exhibition concept. “With good reason landscape gardening is considered the most complex of the arts: ‘reading’ great gardens, both visually and semantically, requires deep immersion in history and culture, its myths and subjects.”

Mikhail Rozanov is known mainly as an architectural photographer; his calibrated, precise lines, his work with light and perfectly orchestrated composition have made him one of the most renowned photographic art masters of our time. He always begins his artistic practice with profound study and aesthetic understanding of the object. The photography in each park took several hours, but his study, observation and processing of the images lasted for months. In architectural photography Rozanov’s main goal is to show a clean model, the original idea of the architect, and living elements such as plants and people are often removed in the post-processing procedure as interfering and redundant. In the ‘Natural Philosophy’ project ever-changing natural forms become the basis of the subject matter. While maintaining a consistently strict style, Rozanov has managed to feel the nature of living things. “For me it seemed important to reveal the garden not as a riot of colour, but as a complex multi-level work of art, to demonstrate its architecture, structure, composition and change of style,” says Rozanov. “All the parks captured in my lens were designed according to a predetermined plan, there is nothing random about them, and I actually photographed them as architecture.”

This exhibition at the Ruarts Gallery will feature photographs of six garden ensembles: Emperor Hadrian’s Villa, and the gardens at Boboli, Versailles, Sanssouci, Tsarskoye Selo and Pavlovsk. The viewer will not only discover a new aspect of Mikhail Rozanov’s multi-faceted talent, but also learn more about the philosophy of park culture from the commentary by historian Andrey Karagodin.

The project was created with the support of the Ruarts Foundation and exhibited in the Admiralty Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Reserve’s Catherine Park in 2019. It is presented in Moscow for the first time.


Mikhail Rozanov was born on July 15, 1973 in Moscow. After studying at the Faculty of History in Moscow State University he joined the circle of artists of the New Academy led by Timur Novikov in St. Petersburg, where he was formed as an artist.

Since 1995 Mikhail Rozanov’s works have been regularly exhibited in Russia (Aidan Gallery, State Museum of Architecture, Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, ROSPHOTO Museum and Exhibition Center, Multimedia Art Museum, Ruarts Gallery) and abroad (in Germany, Netherlands, France, England, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico and other countries). The photographer takes part in various bienniales (Photo Biennale, Moscow; Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow) and art fairs (International Art Fair, Chicago, USA; Art Manege, Moscow, Russia; Art Forum, Berlin, Germany; ARCO, Madrid, Spain; Paris-Photo, Paris, France, etc.) In 2010, Mikhail Rozanov launched his own creative workshop at the British Higher School of Design at the Faculty of Photography and teached there for the next 6 years. He is a member of the Union of Photographers of Russia as well. Mikhail Rozanov is the author of numerous publications on the architecture of classicism and neoclassicism, modernism and brutalism. In 2023 his solo exhibition ‘Steel. Glass. Concrete.’ was shown at three museum institutions: the Shchusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow, the Cultural Centre of the Levashovsky Bakery Factory in St. Petersburg, and the North Caucasus branch of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Vladikavkaz. Since 2015 Mikhail Rozanov has been working exclusively with the Ruarts Gallery in Moscow.


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