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[Perspectives] The world of yesterday

Soviet structuralism of the 1960s argued that it was instructive to interpret culture—especially Russian culture—in terms of opposed pairs. Crime and Punishment; War and Peace; Fathers and Sons. To which, in 2016, London’s National Portrait Gallery and Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery might add another pair: the UK and Russia. The two institutions have temporarily swapped some of their most prestigious portraits in a cultural exchange celebrating their shared 160th anniversary.