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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. 
 

© Oreanda.ru. 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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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The State Hermitage Museum Celebrates Its 250th Anniversay In 2014
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Board of Trustees met recently to discuss preparations for the 250 the anniversary of the Museum’s foundation, which will take place in 2014. This will be a big event in Russia. By the Museum’s anniversary the renovation of the East wing of the General Staff Building – a magnificent building of c.1830, facing the Winter Place across Palace Square - will be finished and a new museum of art of the 19th-21st century will be opened in its interior (5 courtyards and 800 rooms). The Hermitage will become the largest museum in the world.

The Restoration and Storage Center at "Staraya Derevnya", unique in Russia for its advanced technology, is already working and a second phase was completed in 2012. By 2014 there will be new space for temporary exhibits in the Small Hermitage and new restoration laboratories at no. 30 Palace Embankment. By the 250th anniversary the interior of the church in The Winter Palace will be restored and all the museum’s permanent displays will have been renovated. Electronic catalogues of the museum’s collection and a new website will be under way.

This will be realised with substantial support from the Federal Government and a new Hermitage Endowment. The trustees debated how this should be achieved. Russia introduced a tax rebate for personal donations to charitable endowments in January 2012 and the State Hermitage Museum has been the first to pick up on this in the arts sector. The rebate is likely to make a significant difference to fundraising for the museum in 2013-14. The Hermitage Endowment is the largest cultural endowment in Russia, thanks to a donation from the Chairman, Vladimir Potanin.

© State Hermitage Museum and Royal Russia. 04 June, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:39 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 June 2013 7:56 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Fit for a Tsar: St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum to Open Luxury Hotel
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds
Topic: State Hermitage Museum
 
The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg will branch out into the accommodation business this summer, with the opening of a new, branded luxury retreat.
The State Hermitage Hotel will be the latest gilded addition to a city that is not short on five-star hideaways. Equipped with 126 rooms, a large spa and a gourmet restaurant named after one of Russia’s most celebrated rulers, it is likely to challenge the city’s long-established hotel dames, such as the Grand Hotel Europe and the Hotel Astoria.

Crucially, the hotel will not be part of the Hermitage complex.

While the fabled gallery preens alongside the river at Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya, the hotel will sit about a mile to the south-east, on Pravda Ulitsa (street). It will be built into a former merchant’s home that has also been used as a theatre and a cultural centre, but had fallen into disrepair.

Guests will be able to use a shuttle service that will ferry them to the museum, and also book tickets for the Hermitage in the lobby – a short-cut which will save them a meeting with the gallery’s notoriously long queues (in which you can wait for up to two hours).

The hotel’s design will pay tribute to the Winter Palace portion of The Hermitage.

Employees will wear uniforms modelled upon the style that would have been sported by palace staff under the Tsar – while china based upon designs that would have been deployed for state banquets will be used in the restaurants.

The main restaurant will also be named after Catherine the Great, the fearsome empress who ruled Russia and its empire between 1762 and 1796, and founded the Hermitage in 1764.

© The Daily Mail (Condensed and edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia) & State Hermitage Museum. 01 May, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:27 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 10:41 AM EDT
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Monday, 25 March 2013
State Hermitage Museum Constantly Buys Art Works
Topic: State Hermitage Museum

 

St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum has spent 68.4 million rubles in 2012 buying art works to enlarge its collections.

In 2011 the Hermitage spent 39.4 million and in 2010 75.4 million rubles for the purpose, the museum said in a statement.

"Madonna and Child" by Gaetano Gandolfi (1734-1802) and "Landscape with a shepherdess and her flock" by Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712-1774) were last year's biggest acquisitions, with 5.5 million rubles paid for the former and 2 million for the latter.

"A view of the red study of Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna in the Anichkov Palace" by 19th-century painter Luigi Premazzi, a vase-shaped mantel clock by Robert Osmond made around 1760, and two ice-cream vases with lids dating to 1808 that belonged to Imperial Chancellor Count Nikolai Rumyantsev were other additions to the Hermitage collections in 2012.

"Currently, the expert purchasing commission comprises 19 people. The director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is the chairman of the commission. A separate decision is made on the purchase of each item and on its purchasing price. On a compulsory basis, the museum seeks the approval of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation for the acquisition of any item costing more than 100,000 rubles," it said.

The commission considers buying works offered for sale by Russian and foreign auction houses, antiquarians and private individuals.

The Hermitage permanently monitors the art market for any items that might be worth buying. It receives several offers by email daily.

Every Thursday, the museum's new acquisitions section holds its doors open to anyone who would like to offer something for sale. Priority attention is given to items that could be put on permanent display or fill gaps in current Hermitage collections.

The most expensive acquisitions are usually items bought for the western European arts departments, the Russian cultural history section, and the Orient unit.

All acquisitions for the modern art section are gifts, and the eastern Europe and Siberia archeological unit is mainly replenished with archeological finds.

Some of the most significant acquisitions in 2010 and 2011 were a china collection from Paris gallery Popoff & Co, "Hunters outside a tavern" by August Querfurt, and "Seaside view" by Antonio Marini.

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 25 March, 2013


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:56 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 March 2013 8:43 AM EDT
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