The Hermitage in the World of Publications -
During the Hermitage Days an exhibition presenting the museum's scholarly and exhibition activities over the past year may be seen in the foyer of the Theater. Among the display items are monographs, collections of scholarly works, the theses of conferences and Hermitage public readings, the catalogs of temporary exhibitions which took place in the Hermitage itself, in museums around Russia and also abroad.
One of the noteworthy monographs has been written by a senior staff member of the Department of Antiquity, Oleg Neverov: Great Private Collections of Imperial Russia (Slovo Publishing House, Moscow). Dr. Neverov's book provides a survey of private art collecting in Russia from the earliest collections assembled by members of Peter the Great's entourage up to the Moscow collections of European art put together at the start of the 20th century. A. G. Kostenevich”s book Georges Rouault (GE Publishing House, St Petersburg) is the result of many years of work; it is devoted to the art of an outstanding French 20th century painter. In his book Peter the Great and the Sculpture of Italy (ARS Publishing House, St Petersburg), S.O. Androsov has continued his investigations into the collections of the first Russian emperor. The History of the Russian Coat of Arms and Flag (Publishing House of the Linguistic Department of St Petersburg University) deals with a theme developed by G.V. Vilinbakhov in his book The Coat of Arms and Flag of Russia (branch of the Prosveshcheniya Publishing House, St Petersburg). G. N. Komelova devoted her book Avgustin Ritt - Russian Miniaturist, 1765 - 1799. His Life and Work (GE Publishing House, St Petersburg) to a master of the art of miniatures. The arrival of the wonderfully illustrated first volume of the encyclopedia Decorative and Applied Art of St Petersburg over 300 Years is a major event in publishing.
In his monograph Ugliche Pole in the 9th - 12th Centuries, S. V. Tomsinsky provides a summary of the achievements of long work by the Uglich Archeological Expedition. Other books devoted to archeological investigations are the collections The Bokatash Settlement. Results of archeological field investigations by the Golden Horde Archeological Expedition during 2002 - 2003, and the Report on Excavations in the Urban Settlement of Ancient Penjikent in 2004.
One unusual publication is the bio-bibliographical handbook Staff of the Imperial Hermitage, 1852 -1917, which provides the biographies of 125 employees of the museum from directors on down to couriers.
The publications of conference materials show the broad scholarly interests of Hermitage staff: Study of Persian Culture in the West from the 16th to the Early 20th Centuries, Byzantium in the Context of World History, and The Bosporian Phenomenon: Problems of Chronology in the Dating of Monuments. Among the collections of articles we find Curator. The Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of V.M. Glinka. Articles. Letters. Prose; Sphragistics and the History of Culture. A Collection of Scholarly Works dedicated to V.S. Shandrovskaya; Hellenistic Studies in the Hermitage; and the issues LXI and LXII of Communications of the State Hermitage.
Sholarly catalogs demonstrate the intense activity of the Hermitage in staging and participating in exhibitions. A number of remarkable publications were prepared by museum employees and issued by the Slavia Publishing House to accompany exhibitions which formed part of the program entitled “The Hermitage in Siberia” - Decembrist Memorabilia; also The Art of the Portrait. Works by Western European Artists of the 18th – 19th Centuries from the Hermitage Collection; and Private Life in the Art of Western Europe. The catalog Western European Still Lifes from the Hermitage Collection was prepared for the exhibition in Kazan. From Fujiyama to Montmartre. Works of Japanese and French Printed Graphics from the Hermitage Collection was prepared for the recently opened exhibiton in Lipetsk. The latter two catalogs were released by the Slavia Publishing House, St Petersburg.
Alongside the catalogs of exhibitions in museums around Russia, we find on display the catalogs of the Hermitage's foreign exhibitions, among them such wonderful publications as Greek Gold from the Treasure Rooms of the Hermitage (Amsterdam), Heaven on Earth. Art from Islamic Lands (Ěunich), Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens (Barcelona), and Rembrandt et son école. Collection de l'Ermitage (Paris).
The catalogs of exhibitions which took place in the Hermitage itself are especially numerous: Iran in the Hermitage. The Creation of Collections; Arzhan. The Source in the Valley of the Kings; The Freiburg Cross and its World; The Imperial Glass Factory. Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of its Foundation; Nianhua: Chinese Popular Pictures; Parmigianino in Arts and Ages; Matisse. The Dance from the Collection of the Musée national d'art moderne de la ville de Paris; Marina Azizian. The Fantastic Dictionary; Tonino Guerra; Tom Thomson; Galina Shulyak. A Journey into the Space of Porcelain; Polish Silver from the 17th to the first half of the 19th Century in the Hermitage; The Art of the Embroiderer. Western European Embroidery from the 16th to early 20th centuries in the Hermitage. Merely listing the titles attests to the unusual diversity of the subject matter and periods covered by the temporary exhibitions of 2004.
During 2004 traditional booklets were published for the series of exhibitions within “Masterpieces from the World's Museums in the Hermitage”: the showing of Rembrandt's Sacrifice of Abraham. (“Two Versions of the Same Composition”); Rembrandt's Blinding of Sampson from the collection of Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt-am-Main, Raphael's Madonna Alba from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
One innovation was the series of educational illustrated publications IN BREVI (Latin for "briefly"). The State Hermitage Publishing House has now issued five works in this series: Antique Glass, Versailles Festivals of the Sun King, The Magical World of Glass, Golden Animals from the Valley of the Kings; and Chinese Export Fans.