Elena Varshavskaya

An art historian of a broad profile, Elena Varshavskaya has two foci of interest – the arts of Japan with emphasis on ukiyo-e woodblock prints and the arts of Russia with the emphasis on the avant-garde movements. She has lectured widely on these and related topics. Her research has been centered on the treatment of the banned historical material in ukiyo-e prints published under the strict censorship regulations of the late Tokugawa period. To this theme she has devoted numerous articles and a monograph “Heroes of Grand Pacification” published by Brill, a leading European publishing house on oriental arts. Varshavskaya has a considerable curatorial experience, co-curating and curating exhibitions of ukiyo-e prints at the Hermitage Museum, Russia, at Springfield Museums, Massachusetts, and at the RISD Museum. As a teacher, Varshavskaya firmly believes in the ultimate value of first-hand art education and has elaborated and continues to lead art history academic courses in Russia (hosted by the Hermitage Museum) and in Japan.

Academic areas of interest

  • Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and urban culture of Japan
  • Censorship and ukiyo-e woodblock prints
  • Musha-e: warrior genre in ukiyo-e woodblock prints
  • Warring States Period and warrior culture in Japan
  • Japonisme and Russian avant-garde painting and graphic arts
  • Nomadic art of Eurasia (Scythian and Turkic) and its repercussions in Russian avant-
    garde painting
  • Oases on the Silk Road: Buddhist art, its spread eastward and history of Russian
    excavations in the region


Fall 2021

THAD-H791-01 Ukiyo-e Prints

Wintersession 2022

THAD-W240-01 Arts Of Japan: Introduction

Spring 2022

THAD-8900-01 THAD Independent Study
THAD-H454-01 Russian Art and Design
THAD-H791-01 Ukiyo-e Prints
RISD faculty member Elena Varshavskaya
  • Elena Varshavskaya’s CV
  • MA, Herzen Pedagogical University
  • MA, The State Hermitage Museum
  • PHD, State Academy of Art, Moscow