The Hermitage in the World of Publications -
During the Days of the Hermitage the Foyer of the Heritage Theatre holds a traditional exhibition telling about the scientific and exhibition activity of the museum in this year. In 2008 more than forty books and brochures were published. As usual, the publishing activity reflects all the major fields of the work of the museum: research and scientific, exhibition and educational activity.
The largest part of the publications of every museum is catalogues. The Hermitage publishes two types of catalogues: collection catalogues and temporary exhibition catalogues. The former contain the complete information on the collections of the Hermitage oriented towards specialists. Theó are characterised by the strict design and dark green colour of the cover, which is always the same. Each of these monumental volumes is devoted to one collection of the Hermitage, includes the publication of all the items of this collection and contains rich reference material. In 2008 two new catalogues were published: “Spanish Paintings of the XV - beginning of the XX century in the Hermitage” by Ludmila Kagane and Albert Kostenevich and "The Antiques of Cyprus" prepared by Anastasia Bukina and other member of staff at the Department of the Art and Culture of Antiquity.
Among the catalogues of the temporary exhibitions the one that stands out is a grandiose, just like the exhibition itself, and flamboyant in an oriental manner publication "In Palaces and Douars. The Islamic World from Europe to China." The catalogue is devoted to the exhibition presenting the items of the Hermitage collections, a sort of an encyclopaedia of the Islamic Art collections. The introductory articles tell us about the characteristics of the culture and art of different regions in which Islam was widespread or that were influenced by Islam in some way. The catalogues include pictorial art items, applied art and the art of jewellery, textiles and written records.
The museum declared the year 2008 as the year of Boris Piotrovsky, and many books that were published in 2008 were devoted to him. Among them one can mention the catalogue of the exhibition "Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky. 100th Anniversary of Birth" containing the main biographic data and the bibliography of his works, as well as the book "Boris" Borisovich Piotrovsky. Biographic materials" from the series "The Keeper". The book contains documents from different periods of the life of Boris Piotrovsky, letters written by his hand, poems, diary records, the photographs of himself and his relatives and friends.
The 100th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Russian Urartology was also commemorated by the catalogue of the exhibition "At the base of Ararat", that arrived at the Hermitage from the Museum of Armenian History and that served as a kind of a final chord of the anniversary year. The catalogue and the exhibition present world-famous masterpieces of the Urartu Art, many of which were found during the excavation works carried out by the expedition of Boris Piotrovsky.
For the first time in the history of our museum the English version of the "Announcements of the State Hermitage" was published. It is an annual publication containing articles on the authentication and the history of the works of art exhibited at the museum, the history and the collections of the Hermitage. Starting from now on it will be published in two volumes: in the Russian and in the English language. "Announcements" - 2008 are devoted to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Boris Piotrovsky. In the section named Memoria one can read the recollections of the employees of the Hermitage about Boris Piotrovsky. A special article tells about a newly restored Urartu exhibition following the basic structure and the exhibition principles of Boris Piotrovsky, but prepared with regard to the achievements of the modern science.
The last-year monographs were presented, among others, by the two-volume work by Albert Kostenevich "The Art of France. 1860 - 1950. Painting. Drawing. Sculpture". The book contains results of the author’s many-year research giving detailed information on the forming of the Hermitage collection as well as on the characteristics of the development of the French art of that period basing on the examples from the Hermitage collection. The second volume contains a catalogue of the items from the Hermitage collections (more than 500 works of art).
In 2008 the museum continues to publish "The Works of the State Hermitage" in a new format accepted in 2006. Collections of scientific articles and conference materials have the same design; however, the publications of different departments have different cover colours. Last year there were several publications that came off the press, such as Works on the Art of the Antiquity (among other articles, the publication contained the drawings of Crete monuments made by Bakst), "Lukonin Readings" (materials from the annual conferences devoted to the culture and art of the Ancient and Middle Age Orient), collection of articles on the Russian art.
One of the major fields of the publishing activity of the museum still remains popular-scientific literature. Brochures of the series In brevi (which in Latin means "briefly") are devoted to temporary exhibitions and permanent displays. There do not duplicate the catalogues, but rather complement them. The range of the topics is very broad: from Islamic art ("Islamic Art between China and Europe" by Mikhail Piotrovsky) and the Indian sculpture ("Indian Sculpture in the Hermitage" by Olga Deshpande) to the story of the Russian tsars ("The Romanov Dynasty"by Vladimir Dobrovolsky). In the series for pupils "Your Hermitage" the book "The Art of the Ancient Greece" by Ludmila Davydova was published. The series "The Halls and Building of the Hermitage" was complemented by the book "The St. George Hall" by Tatiana Pashkova.