The Curiosity Chamber of Books at the State Hermitage Museum
In the Rotunda of the Winter Palace opened the exhibition Book Kunstkammer in the Hermitage from the collection of the Scientific Library of the State Hermitage Museum, the oldest museum library in Russia. The books presented at the exhibition differ from the traditional manuscripts and publications by their unusual form, size, cover design and binding of the inner book.
The exposition includes 128 books. The giant books are standing along with the tiny books that are impossible to read or look at their illustrations without a magnifying glass.
The biggest book height-wise (93.5 cm) is a facsimile
edition of the Charter of electing Mikhail Romanov for the reign
that was published in 1904 in Moscow. The heaviest book
(57.5 kg) is The Golden Book of Lotharingia
published in 1893 in Nancy. The thickest book (the thickness
of the inner book is 18.5 cm) is The Alphabetic
Index to the Collection of Statutes and Decrees
for 1913. The longest book (6.16 m)
Miniature publications (sizes from 2.5 to 5.8 cm)
are presented by Orthodox and Muslim prayer books of the
At all times the books for teaching and playing, joke books
and toy books were of high demand. Peter Apianís The Royal
Astronomy of 1540 with the charts of astronomic
instruments with movable paper components can be found
at the exhibition. The Marine Calendar of 1886 includes a compass
with a paper spinning reel for defining the course of the ship. Three
The Ďeasterní part of the exposition introduces various publications
of the Koran and Torah, manuscripts, pleated books that came up to take
the place of the
Special attention should be paid to the books that were intended and created
by the artists from the beginning to the end. The works unusual
in their forms and the materials created by the recognized modern artists
of the genre were selected for the exhibition. The authorís book also
includes a new modern form of art as book
For the first time the exhibition presents the most wonderful monument
of the Hermitage book collection the prayer book of the 18th century made
by the French master of calligraphy
The publications of the unusual construction, various book covers with decorations
from beads, lacquer, and enamel, watercolour drawing on papers,
embroidery, fabric, bone,
One of the exhibition parts represents publications with the samples of fabrics, laces, tulle, linen for military uniform, wood and carpet yarn.
The unique collection of books is complemented with the rarely
exhibited pieces of small plastic and decorative and applied
art of the
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the State Hermitage Museumís Publications.
The exhibition curator is Olga Zimina, deputy director of the Scientific Library of the State Hermitage Museum.