Bible in Silver
German jewelry of the 16th-19th centuries displayed in the Blue Bedroom (Room No. 307) of the Winter Palace introduces the rich collection of German silverware preserved at the State Hermitage Museum.
The exhibition will be open four months, the time of basic church feasts,
Christmas, Epiphany and others, up to Easter.
Stories of Abraham and his Sons, David and Joseph, Judgment of Solomon and Meeting of Solomon with the Queen of Sheba were among the most popular. Such dishes descended from hand-washing vessels which gradually became mere decorations for walls and cupboards as their practical use was abandoned.
Compositions from Solomon's story were popular themes for cups and beakers like the creation of Lorenz Hoffman from Koenigsberg displayed in the exhibition.
In predominantly Protestant cities didactic stories of martyrs for the faith were preferred. These were scenes from lives of the prophets Jonah, Elijah and Jeremiah.
In their work silversmiths showed both a profound knowledge of the Bible and high chasing skills which allowed them to create rich coloring using the meager resources they had.
One of the exhibition's centerpieces is the Reliquary of Theodosius, Archimandrite of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, who in 1747 commissioned it from the major Augsburg master of the middle 18th century Johann Bernhard Weie.
Another noteworthy exhibit is the Baptismal Font with the Imperial Coat-of-Arms and Monogram of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna executed by master Krause from Koenigsberg in 1754. It is believed that the font was specially commissioned on the occasion of the birth of the future Paul I.
German silverware was collected by the Imperial Palace during the 18th century as the City of St. Petersburg developed. The collection's core is made up of silver pieces acquired or commissioned in Germany for the Imperial Family since the time of Peter I and his father Alexey Mikhaylovich till the time of Nicholas II. Many valuable jewelry works came to the Hermitage in the wake of the October Revolution from nationalized private collections of Princes Yusupovs, Golitsins and Kochubeys, Counts Sheremetyevs and Stroganoffs and others. The Hermitage collection has been added interesting specimens of old German jewelry over last years.