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Ryaba the hen sits on the upper concourse of Madeleine station. The egg at the centre of this monumental stained glass work by Ivan Loubennikov is said to bring good luck.
No one knows which came first, chicken or egg. And this stained glass wall from Moscow adds more mystery to the enigma. Artist Yvan Loubennikov celebrates Russian popular culture in this variation on the “Goose that laid the golden eggs” fable, composed of twenty glass-encrusted panels made in the famous glass factories of Gus-Khrustalny. Symbols in Russian history – the sickle and hammer, bolts, Kremlin stars, horseshoes and crosses – appear in the 40 square-meter patchwork of colorful glass, in the middle of which sits an egg weighing over 80 kg. Its magical properties are said to have survived the ages, and that touching it brings luck and prosperity.
This work was commissioned in 2009 as part of a partnership between the Paris and Moscow metro networks – both of which are known for their long-established tradition of incorporating artwork in their interiors. While the hen got ready to peck around Madeleine, a Guimard kiosk was installed at the entrance of Kiyevskaya station in 2007. Before the chicken, in this case!
Ivan Loubennikov, born in Minsk in 1951, lives and works in Moscow, where he attended the Moscow State Academy Art Institute. A well-known figurative artist in his country, Loubennikov has created several wall murals in Russia, Cyprus and Italy. He also designed spectacular interiors for several Moscow metro stations, some of which pay tribute to the Art Nouveau of Guimard, and created the decors and lay-out of the Mayakovsky Museum in Moscow.