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Monday, 29 December 2014
Hermitage Exhibition Opens in Vladivostock
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The exhibition Unknown Hermitage. To the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum has opened at the Primorye State Picture Gallery in Vladivostok.

The exhibition presents works from the collections of Far Eastern Art Museum (Khabarovsk) and the Maritime State Art Gallery (Vladivostok), derived from the Hermitage collection of Western art of the XIII – XX centuries. More than 60 paintings and 20 works of graphic art, first shown to the public, were transferred in 1930s from the Hermitage museum in the Far Eastern Museums. 

Visitors can see the works of Italian, Dutch, French, German craftsmen of the XVI-XX centuries. Among them – "Apollo and Marsyas" by Peter Paul Rubens, "The Holy Family" by Annibale Carracci, landscape ruins by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, famous schedule by Jacques Callot.
The exhibition runs from December 24, 2014 to March 1, 2015.

Russia’s largest museum, the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, plans to open another branch in Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast. The new affiliate is to be housed in a historic department store building and will feature pieces from the St. Petersburg museum alongside work by local artists.

Architects promise to have a design ready by next summer to rebuild the former Kunst & Albers department store building in Vladivostok, which is to be turned into a branch of the illustrious museum, according to the Primorsky Territory administration press service.

Governor of the Primorsky Territory Vladimir Miklushevsky secured the approval of Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky to open a branch in Vladivostok during a meeting in June 2013. “We are interested in opening a branch of the museum in Primorye. After all, it is the Russian gateway to Asia,” Piotrovsky said at the time.

The new exhibition center will feature expositions both from Russia’s most famous museum and from local artists.
A contract on the design estimates for reconstruction should be signed on Jan. 26.

“We’ll work out the details for modern facilities and the building’s interior, utilities, fire safety, and ventilation in the design,” head of the regional urban development department Yevgeny Dobrynin said. “The premises will be completely ready for construction after that. We need to restore the original appearance of this architectural monument.”

Tatyana Zabolotnaya, deputy governor of the Primorsky Territory said the museum was “an important factor in developing the territory’s cultural life,” explaining that for this reason “we’re all interested in commissioning the facility in a timely manner.”

The Hermitage opened its first Russian branch in Kazan (600 miles east of Moscow) in 2005, and it opened another in Vyborg (on the Finnish border, west of St. Petersburg) in 2010. The museum also has foreign branches, with an exhibition center in Amsterdam and a new branch slated to open in Barcelona in 2015. 
© Russkiy Mir and Russia Beyond the Headlines. 29 December, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:36 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 December 2014 4:40 AM EST
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Hermitage to Celebrate 250 Years with Light Show in St. Petersburg
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

Palace Square event to feature 3D projections, classical music and poetry
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the November 18, 2014 edition of Russia Beyond the Headlines / TASS. The author Yekaterina Kalinina, owns the copyright of the work presented below.

St. Petersburg’s Palace Square will serve as the venue for the biggest public event in celebration of the Hermitage Museum’s 250th anniversary on Dec. 6, with a musical light show called “The Ball of History” on the eve of the important date.
According to the event’s organizers, the 3D film will be projected onto the façade of the General Staff Building. The video sequence will be accompanied by excerpts of musical compositions in a variety of styles and from different eras, including works by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Glinka, Shostakovich, Rameau, Jenkins, Schubert, and Piazzolla.

“Viewers will be taken back to the most significant and most dramatic episodes of Russian history, in which the Hermitage was a direct participant – the reign of Catherine II, the fire during Nicholas I, the construction of the Hermitage buildings and the opening of the first public art museum in Russia, the night of the Provisional Government’s arrest [the 1917 Revolution], and the Siege [of Leningrad],” a member of the project’s press service explained.

The show will feature quotes from the memoirs of famous personalities, as well as from poetry by Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, and Blok. The organizers have chosen a quote by the museum’s former director Boris Piotrovsky as the epigraph of the evening: “If we don’t save beauty, how can it save the world?”

The creative team for the DANCE OPEN festival, headed by production director Yekaterina Galanova, is developing the concept and staging for “The Ball of History,” creating the audio content, and producing all the aspects of the project.

The 3D show’s graphics are being created and its broadcast prepared by the creative team of French agency Cosmo AV, which helped organize the closing ceremony for the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics.

The musical light show on Palace Square will be free to the public, and sessions will be broadcast every half hour from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Dec. 6. Entrance is free, and extra security measures will be in place. 
© Yekaterina Kalinina / RBTH / TASS. 18 November, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:05 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014 7:52 AM EST
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Saturday, 27 September 2014
State Hermitage Museum to Open Branch in Ekaterinburg
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

Photo (from left to right): On September 13th, Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev, head of the Union of Russian Museums and General Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky and the head of the administration of Ekaterinburg, Alexander Jacob sign the agreement on the establishment of the Hermitage-Ural in Ekaterinburg in 2016.
A branch of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum is set to open in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg in 2016, following an agreement signed by Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky, Sverdlovsk regional governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev and the head of Ekaterinburg’s administration Alexander Yakob earlier this month. The new museum will be the third regional branch of the Hermitage to open in Russia, after those in Kazan and Vyborg.

Details over the future of the Hermitage-Ural centre were discussed at the International Conference of Museums, which was held in St Petersburg and then Ekaterinburg in September.

The plan to create a branch of St Petersburg’s largest museum in Ekaterinburg was inspired by the city’s role in the history of the Hermitage. More than a million artefacts from the Hermitage's museum collection was sent to the Ural capital in 1941, where they remained in safe keeping at the city’s Sverdlovsk Picture Gallery until the end of the Second World War in 1945.

The idea of opening a fourth branch of the Hermitage in the Siberian city of Omsk was also discussed at the conference. 
© St. Petersburg Times. 27 September, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:08 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 September 2014 6:23 AM EDT
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Friday, 23 May 2014
Military Research Helps Hermitage Protect Museum Treasures
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

 Honour Guards Squadron with banners in the 1812 War Gallery, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Pieces of art are being marked for identification by a new pen and spray-mist proving themselves under tests at the State Hermitage Museum in Russia's northern capital, St. Petersburg.

Russian-made technology is being used to mark pieces of art leaving the famous museum's walls for temporary loan to other exhibitions, and to confirm authenticity of the treasures on their return.

The processes will be put to work later on the three million exhibits in the Hermitage collection, Vladimir Kuzmin, associate at a Russian Defense Ministry research institute, told ITAR-TASS.

Military specialists and a private Russian manufacturer have developed the marking process, working its magic via a trace visible under ultraviolet light. Museum staff will use this new technology for "friend-or-foe" recognition and for a new cutting-edge catalogue.

The system could spread to other Russian museums and has applications for the military, police and customs service, said Kuzmin.

For precious items that cannot be touched, the scientists have produced a unique chemical mist impossible to replicate and applied in a spray. Traces have a lifespan of no less than 50 years. The concentration is harmless for paintings, porcelain, glass and ceramics, the expert says. Technology is also being developed for metal objects such as coins, difficult to mark.

Marking detectors require no laboratory conditions or special skills, reading the coded information according to the "friend-or-foe" principle. When the device recognizes the object, it makes a sound signal and a green light comes on. A red light means the object is unmarked, or has an alien mark.

Marking can be read without disturbing an item and removing it from its location. The device will identify even burnt objects as the mark persists at a temperature of 2,000°C.

Protection comes relatively cheap from the developers. One mark costs 30 rubles ($0.86). Detecting devices cost between 50,000 rubles and 150,000 rubles (about $1,400-$4,300) depending on size. 
© ITAR-TASS. 23 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 12:03 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Old St. Petersburg Stock Exchange Transferred to State Hermitage Museum
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The Old Stock Exchange on the spit of Vasilievsky Island with one of the Rostral columns in the foreground
The city handed the keys to the historic Old Stock Exchange building located on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, to the State Hermitage Museum on Apr. 18.

Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky said the museum would open a space dedicated to state symbolism and awards in the building in two years time. It will present the history of the Russian state heralds and an exhibition of the flags and state awards that are currently located at the Headquarters of the General Staff on Palace Square. The building will also be used for state ceremonies, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

It is expected that the new museum will feature not only exhibits from the Hermitage but also objects from the Naval Museum, which was formerly housed in the same building. A number of rarely-seen exhibits from state archives will also be put on display.

The building may also host St. Petersburg’s International Legal Forum next year, Piotrovsky said.

The Old Stock Exchange, also known as the Bourse, has housed many organizations since 2003 when the Naval Museum that had been located there since 1939 moved. The decision to hand the building over to the Hermitage was announced by the city governor Georgy Poltavchenko last year.

The building dates from the early 19th century and originally provided an exchange for visiting merchants. After the trading port was transferred to a different location at the beginning of the 20th century, from the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, the building held different industrial exhibitions. The Naval Museum which completed its move to new facilities near Ploshchad Truda and New Holland Island this year. 
© St. Petersburg Times. 23 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:23 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:27 PM EDT
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Friday, 24 January 2014
The Peacock Clock, State Hermitage Museum
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 41 seconds
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The Peacock Clock is large automaton featuring three life-sized mechanical birds. It was manufactured by the entrepreneur James Cox in the 2nd half of the 18th century and through the influence of Grigory Potemkin it was acquired by Catherine the Great in 1781. Today it is a prominent exhibit in the collections of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Click on the to read a full length article about the history, construction and maintenance of Catherine the Great's elaborate clock in the Winter Palace.

The Peacock Clock, State Hermitage Museum + VIDEO 

© State Hermitage Museum. 24 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:13 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 24 January 2014 8:54 AM EST
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Thursday, 26 December 2013
Creating Replica of Alexander Nevsky Tomb will Cost 330 Million Rubles
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The massive silver sarcophagus of St. Alexander Nevsky was relocated during Soviet times to the State Hermitage Museum where it remains (without the relics) today. The silver sarcophagus has become a matter of debate, since some believers demand to return the sepulcher to Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
The State Hermitage Museum needs 330 million rubles for creating the copy of Alexander Nevsky’s tomb.

This was announced by the museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky at the press conference on December 24. He hopes for patrons of art to donate the funds.

The copy of the tomb is planned to be transferred to Alexander Nevsky Lavra, whereas the original will stay in the Hermitage. The original sepulcher of Alexander Nevsky is presently exposed to restoration which costs 16.5 million rubles.  The works are expected to be completed by 2014, and then the Hermitage will be ready to start making the copy production, but the funds are not available yet. 

The sepulcher complex, which includes a sarcophagus, a gravestone, candlesticks and military trophies, is monument of Russian arts and crafts of the 18th century. After its creation in 1753 the tomb was located in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, but in 1922 it was moved to the Hermitage. In the Post-Soviet period the tomb became a matter of debate, since some believers demand to return the sepulcher to Alexander Nevsky Lavra, while art critics insist on keeping it in the museum. 

© 26 December, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:55 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 26 December 2013 9:20 AM EST
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Monday, 9 December 2013
State Hermitage Museum Marks 249th Birthday
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The birthday of the State Hermitage is marked each year on December 7. The museum, Russia’s largest and also one of the largest in the world, first began to develop in 1764 as the private art collection of Empress Catherine II with the purchase of Johann Ernest Gotzkowski’s collection. In 1852, after the collection had grown to an enormous size and taken on a distinct style, it was decided to open the Imperial Hermitage to visitors.
Immediately after the Revolution of 1917 the Imperial Hermitage and Winter Palace, former Imperial residence, were proclaimed state museums and eventually merged. The range of the Hermitage's exhibits was further expanded when private art collections from several palaces of the Russian Tsars and numerous private mansions were nationalized and redistributed among major Soviet state museums. Particularly notable was the influx of old masters from the Catherine Palace, the Alexander Palace, the Stroganov Palace and the Yusupov Palace as well as from other palaces of Saint Petersburg and suburbs.
However, in the 1930s the museum fell on hard times as the Soviet authorities saw the museum’s treasures as a means to filling state coffers. The Soviet sale of Hermitage paintings resulted in the departure of some of the most valuable paintings from the collection to Western museums. Several of the paintings had been in the Hermitage Collection since its creation by Empress Catherine the Great. In total 2880 paintings were sold, including about 350 major works of art, such as masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael, and other important artists. Andrew Mellon donated the 21 paintings he purchased from the Hermitage to the United States Government in 1937. They became the nucleus of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Today the museum boasts a collection of approximately 3 million works of art, from the Stone Age to the 20th century. In 2014 the Hermitage will be celebrating its 250th jubilee, and the festivities will be linked to the III International Cultural Forum, which will take place in St. Petersburg during the first week of December next year. 
© Russkiy Mir. 09 December, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:37 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 9 December 2013 8:41 AM EST
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Monday, 9 September 2013
Cost of Hermitage Museum Annex Swells to $450M
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

PHOTO: Situated on the opposite side of Palace Square, the eastern section of the former General Staff Building will house the new wing of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Once complete, the museum will be the largest in the world.
The cost of renovating a building whose east wing will go to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has grown to 15 billion rubles ($450 million) from an initial 10.6 billion rubles ($318 million), but project participants insisted that all expenses were aboveboard.

The first phase of the restoration totaled about 7 billion rubles, and the second will cost 8 billion rubles, said Andrei Vasilyev, head of St. Petersburg City Hall's investment fund.

Vasilyev, speaking in an interview published Monday in Vedomosti, played down the fact that the revised amount was about 50 percent more than originally planned, saying that the construction agreement included a clause that allowed for increases based on inflation and other unforeseen new costs.

A 2008 contract for the first phase allocated 4.4 billion rubles and was awarded to the construction firm Intarsia. The second phase, worth 6.2 billion rubles, was awarded to Intarsia in 2010.

Funding for the first phase came from the Russian government (80 percent) and the World Bank (20 percent). The second phase is being covered from money left over from the reconstruction of the Mariinsky Theater, said Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky.

But the Audit Chamber, a federal agency that makes sure that government money is properly spent, raised concerns in late July about possible corruption in the relationship between Intarsia, Vasilyev's department and the Culture Ministry. The chamber noted that the reconstruction contracts had been awarded without tenders and said that the costs were higher than expected.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, while noting that the contracts were arranged under the previous culture minister, defended the decision to award them both to Intarsia.

"We should not change horses in midstream because the project is very complex," he said in comments to Vedomosti.

He said that no money has been paid up front and that Intarsia only charged the real costs of its work. He conceded that the project was expensive and could probably have been carried out more cheaply, but he said such big projects are always expensive.

A construction industry insider told Vedomosti that inflation could easily reach 15 percent annually in the building sector, and he said it was customary to re-evaluate and re-adjust costs on long-term projects.

According to the Spark database, 80 percent Intarsia belongs to its president, Viktor Smirnov, and the other 20 percent is owned by businessman Gennady Yavnik. The company's revenue in 2012 amounted to 6.8 billion rubles. 

The building under reconstruction covers 60,473 square meters. Only the east wing of the building will be used by the Hermitage, which needs additional space to display its large collection.

The  east wing will contain artwork from tsarist Russia and contemporary times, as well as galleries dedicated to the artists Shchukin and Morozov, a Russian Guard Museum and a Faberge exhibition, said Piotrovsky, the museum director. 
© The Moscow Times. 09 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:38 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 September 2013 6:48 AM EDT
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Friday, 5 July 2013
Exhibition: Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility in St. Petersburg on 23 February 1913. Artist: Dmitry Kardovsky 

A presentation of the painting, Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility in St Petersburg on 23 February 1913 by Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky and 47 portrait sketches are currently on display in the Rotunda of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum) in St. Petersburg. The exhibition is dedicated to the 400 year anniversary of the House of Romanov, as well as to the centenary of the great ball.

The program of the jubilee events of 1913 was quite vast, the celebration lasted from February till autumn. It was an all-state event, meaning the triumph of the state, power and national spirit. The ceremonial day of the solemn celebration of the 300-year anniversary of the Romanovs reign, approved at the highest level, was 21 of February 1913. At that day at 11 o’clock 21 salvos of the Petropavlovskaya fortress announced the beginning of the celebrations to the habitats of the capital. Sacred processions were coming from the main churches to the Kazan cathedral, and at the exactly determined time a train with the members of the tsarist family came. At the same day folk festivals took place in the capital and surrounding neighborhoods, historical jubilee performances took place in the theaters. On the 22 of February there was a solemn ceremony in the Winter Palace, during which the Emperor and Empress accepted congratulations.

On the 23 of February 1913 Saint Petersburg nobility gave a great ball at its meeting at Mikhailovskaya Street, in which more than 3200 guests attended. It was the last large-scale celebration of Tsarist Russia. The ball was begun at half past nine, when the Tsar, tsarina and members of the imperial family came to the imperial box. The ball was opened with the polonaise from the opera Life For the Tsar by M.I.Glinka, which was performed by the ball orchestra of the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment. Nicholas II was dancing with V.A.Somova, the wife of Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility, Empress Aleksandra Feodorovna - with S.M. Somov, Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility. After the polonaise other dances took place, including waltz, quadrille, cotillon, mazourka with a large number of natural flowers and bright ribbons. Nicholas, along with his daughter Olga left the ball after eleven.

Watercolor works, depicting the scene of the jubilee ball, became one of the few large-format works of Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky, an outstanding Russian artist. D.N. Kardovsky, a student of P.P. Chistyakov and I.E. Repin in Saint Petersburg Art Academy, and of professor A. Azbe, was a famous Russian illustrator, genre painter, theater painter. The Hermitage work Ball into the Hall of the Nobility 1913, not being a historical painting, was performed according to the examples of academic multifigure composition, each character of which is portrayed with photographic accuracy and psychological authenticity. At the center of the composition 17-year old princess Olga Nikolaevna, the first daughter of the Tsar, is waltzing with his highness I.N.Saltykov, this is the first grownup event for her. At the imperial box you can see members of the tsarist family - Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchcess Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (Junior), Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich. Among those dancing you can see Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, a sister of the emperor, dancing with her cousin Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich; as well as P.M. Raevsky, master of the ceremonies of the court, N.S. Voevodsky, one of the first Russian military pilots. In the crowd of people you can easily recognize famous politicians and statesmen, among them - A.G.Bulygin state secretary, who was the head of the Committee on preparation for the celebration of the Romanov’s house 300-year anniversary, duke A.A.Bobrinskiy, Duke D.I.Tolstoy, director of the Hermitage; chief master of the court A.S.Taneyev, a composer.

47 portrait sketched, made by the artist to the picture, are provided for the exhibition by the grandson of Dmitriy Nikolaevich Kardovsky - Nikolay Petrovich Vesyolkin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of I.M.Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry.

© State Hermitage Museum. 05 July, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:23 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 7 July 2013 8:33 AM EDT
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