Hermitage Collections in the 19th Century
The tradition of collecting works of art which began during the reign
of Catherine the Great became the state policy of her grandchildren and
great-grandchildren. Her "solitary little place", or "hermitage",
turned into a wonderful public museum, one of the best in Europe.
In the second half of the 19th century, the public Museum of the New Hermitage,
which already possessed one of the world's best collections of Western
European art, built up new collections - of the works of Classical Antiquity
and of Oriental art, the Gallery of Jewellery and the Gallery of Peter
I - and became famous throughout Europe.