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Evgeniia Diakonenko, class of 2005

The University of Arizona Museum of Art (USA) – Research Assistant

My four years at Smolny were a formative period. It was then that I identified myself with my major (History of Art and Architecture) and met people who became my close friends. In addition, it felt so good to work with professors who didn’t simply read their lectures and give out exams, but also encouraged me to think, provoked me, and joked with me. They became remarkable advisors and even friends, revealing unfamiliar places in their beloved city and teaching us how to love our land.

In addition, it felt so good to work with professors who didn’t simply read their lectures and give out exams, but also encouraged me to think, provoked me, and joked with me.

At Smolny it is difficult to study discipline and organization, a definite minus. On the other hand, freedom is taught here. Those who manage not to go limp in a liberal environment and instead make us of it are able to have a very rewarding experience. I’m not in the least disappointed with my chosen path and have been urged the small talents and abilities that I revealed to myself at Smolny to continue my studies in my elected field. That unforgettable, picturesque museums class with Ivan Dmitrievich Chechot was really helpful to me later on during my graduate studies at the University of Warwick in London and Paris. I was never afraid ‘to work’ with subjects from the European collections or share my understandings with my classmates and professors.
I would call my Smolny period eclectic with elements of Romanticism. There was an incredible amount of intertwinement and a frequent, perhaps only imaginary, irreconcilability of disciplines that fed a spirit of freedom, aesthetic pleasure, and horror from the thought: “And what is to be done next?” Later I was able to sort all the piles and to fill in the gaps. But the process of education is eternal, and I study to this very day in the context of my preferred work in an art-gallery in Paris.

Evgeniia Diakonenko, class of 2005