UK's National Gallery renames 'Russian Dancers' painting

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First Russian Dancers, now Ukrainian Dancers by Edgar Degas. (Photo by: Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
First Russian Dancers, now Ukrainian Dancers by Edgar Degas. (Photo by: Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • Russian Dancers, a painting by Edgar Degas has been renamed Ukrainian Dancers following Moscow's invasion.
  • London's National Gallery said it renamed the work "to better reflect the subject of the painting".
  • This even though the 19th century painting is not currently on display.

London's National Gallery said Monday it had renamed a painting by Edgar Degas from Russian Dancers to Ukrainian Dancers following Moscow's invasion.

The Kremlin's war on its western neighbour has impacted far beyond politics and diplomacy, prompting sporting boycotts and fallout in arts and culture.

The National Gallery told AFP that it had updated the title of the French impressionist's artwork "to better reflect the subject of the painting."

The pastel and charcoal piece, produced at the end of the 19th century, is part of its primary collection but not currently on display.

It depicts three members of a troupe dancing in a field wearing blue and yellow ribbons - the national colours of Ukraine - but had long been known as "Russian".

The National Gallery notes that "it is almost certain that these visiting dancers, and those drawn by Degas, were Ukrainian, rather than Russian."

A spokesperson for the gallery told The Guardian newspaper, which first reported the change, that its title had been "an ongoing point of discussion for many years."

"However, there has been an increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation, so therefore we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting's title."

Tanya Kolotusha, a Ukrainian living in London who was among those to complain about the painting's name on social media, welcomed the renaming.

"It's important to return our cultural heritage and to give it (its) rightful name," she told AFP, adding that Ukrainian culture had "suffered from Russian politics for centuries."

The West's response to the invasion, including sanctions and cultural boycotts, prompted Russian president Vladimir Putin last month to claim his country suffers from "discrimination."

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