Internet Meeting with Mikhail Piotrovsky at "Cafemax
in the Hermitage"
The Inside World of the State Hermitage Museum
The customary internet meeting with the director of the State Hermitage Museum this year was dedicated to three subjects. Mikhail Piotrovsky once more talked about the Hermitage 20/21 project, which intends not only to display examples of contemporary art but also to seek new ways of exhibiting it. Then he began to talk about changes in the tactics and strategies at the Hermitage Centres (focusing mainly on those in London and Ferrara). In the words of the museum's head, the main priorities will now become scientific and scholarly work, and exhibitions will take on a secondary importance since the Hermitage Centres are not planets which permanently circle their solar system, but artificial satellites which can change their orbit.
The third and most important subject of the discussion was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Boris Piotrovsky. Answering questions on how the museum intends to celebrate the event, Mikhail Piotrovsky began to talk about concrete events. He explained that the State Hermitage Museum intends to use this date as an occasion to consider the role of personality in the history of the museum and people of the museum in general.
At the start of next year, the State Hermitage Museum will again remind us that Boris Piotrovsky was not only an internationally famous scholar and director of the largest museum in Russia. He was also the 'Hermitage Man', a part of the State Hermitage Museum's world, a world faithful to St. Petersburg Culture.
Mikhail Piotrovsky believes that Hermitage People are a special category. Their peculiarity manifests itself in small things as well as big. During the Second World War Boris Piotrovsky was the second in command of State Hermitage Museum's Anti-Airforce detachment. Alongside his colleagues he extinguished fires caused by bombing on the roof of the State Hermitage Museum. Not knowing how their everlasting watches would finish, the workers at the State Hermitage Museum would take the chance in their few minutes of free time for... lectures. They shared their knowledge with each other, theses and books which were yet to be published. They did not want their discoveries to disappear into with them and so they attempted to preserve their unique knowledge, and to preserve something which had been a part of them. Today, in order that their memory should not be forgotten, the State Hermitage Museum is publishing the series of books, The Curator, which are the memoirs of museum curators and the history of the world of those who live within the State Hermitage Museum.
The museum is proud of the scientific and academic performance of its researchers and they will be remembered when the 100th anniversary of Boris Piotrovsky is celebrated. The unique talent of this man is that apart from everything else, one can rightly consider him the founder of the School for Oriental Specialists in Armenia. In 1968 he was honoured as an academician of the Armenian Academy of Science. And as Mikhail Piotrovsky says, in Armenia Boris Piotrovsky is still remembered and is valued for his commitment to the development of Armenian culture. Especially important were the results of the archaeological excavations in 1939-1971 at Karmir-Blura (Red Hill) on the western outskirts of Erevan, which he directed for many years. The ancient city of Teishebaini, whose ruins were hidden beneath Red Hill, is one of the most interesting and well studied monuments from Urartu. The results of the expedition are detailed in Piotrovsky's books: The History and Culture of Urartu, The Van Kingdom (Urartu), The Art of Urartu: 8th - 6th Centuries BC.
At the State Hermitage Museum, which Boris Piotrovsky directed for 26 years, there is a hall with a unique exposition of the Art of Urartu, dedicated to his memory. It is the greatest acknowledge which can be given to the scholar, whose main work focuses on the culture and art of the Caucasus and Ancient East.