A rare exhibition of Russian avant-garde paintings opening on Thursday brings dashes of colour and kaleidoscopic views to the austere surroundings of the white marble Ara Pacis monument in Rome. The exhibition, which runs until September 2, brings together 70 works by renowned artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Marc Chagall alongside lesser known works on loan from museums across Russia. Among the highlights of the show are some early works by Chagall like \"Drugstore in Vitebsk\" (1914) and \"Baby\'s Bath\" (1916), which reveal the early impressionist and Fauvist influences on the Russian-French master. Kandinsky\'s paintings of Red Square and a medieval fortress with dashes of red, onion domes and stylised Russian peasants from the early 20th century on the eve of the Russian Revolution are also particularly striking. The exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Russian embassy in Rome, is entitled \"Russian Avant-gardes\" and is divided up into different movements of the time, including cubo-futurism, constructivism and abstract art. One hall in the exhibit explores the romantic and creative relationship between Natalia Goncharova and her lifelong companion Mikhail Larionov, who were both inspired by French masters Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne. \"This is the creme de la creme of the Russian avant-garde,\" Dmitry Shtodin, chief counsellor at the Russian embassy, told reporters. \"These works should be seen as the product of the social upheaval going on in Russia during those years,\" he said. Exhibition curator Victoria Zubravskaya said: \"We collected the best paintings from the best museums in Russia. \"This is very clear, festive and positive art,\" she added. Many of the works come from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, which loaned them to Italy in exchange for two works by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina which featured in a recent exhibition in the Russian capital.