Birthday of Maecenas
On 13 April 2006, the first ceremony in honor of the birthday of Caius Cilnius Maecenas* ever to be held in the Hermitage took place in the Large Italian Skylight Room. The ceremony was organized by the State Hermitage together with the editorial board of the journal Protector of the Arts and Sciences MECENAT, and it will possibly mark the beginning of a new Petersburg tradition: each year on 13 April to celebrate a Day of Sponsorship and Patrons of the Arts. On this day a painting by the famous Venetian painter Giovanni Batista Tiepolo entitled Maecenas presents free works of art to the Emperor Augustus was moved from its usual place in one of the Italian studies of the New Hermitage and was presented in the Large Italian Skylight Room.
Standing before this canvas, Alexander Iosofovich Ebralidze donated to the Hermitage works by Russian Academic gem cutters and medallion makers of the first quarter of the 19th century Nikolai Shcherbaev (Resting Achilles) and Gerasim Nikolinko (Apollo). The two unique intaglio works were purchased at auction in Sotheby's in 1994 and until now were held in a gallery in Berlin. A Petersburg businessman purchased them in Germany especially for the Hermitage, and now they will fill out the museum's splendid collection of Russian glyptics.
Two books which previously belonged to the Hermitage and were sold in the post-Revolutionary period were purchased at auction and returned to the museum by E. Ya. Satanovsky. The Psalms (David) in the Danish language were published in Copenhagen in 1764 ãîäó. The book includes watercolor miniatures of King David, King David and Bathsheba, and a portrait of the Princess Dagmar with the inscription "Pr. Dagmar", as well as an engraving tinted in watercolor and engraved vignettes. The volume is in a leather binding of the period with silver clasp and brackets executed in the Protestant style; it belonged to Princess Maria-Sophia-Frederika-Dagmar, daughter of Danish King Christian IX, who later became the Empress Maria Fedorovna (1847-1928). It was kept in the library of her spouse, Emperor Alexander III. The second book - Poesies - was published in French in 1757 ãîäó. This publication with engraved vignettes, inserts and colophons, in a leather binding, comes from the collection of S.P. Yaremich. In the front there is the following ex libris inscription: "Library of the State Hermitage. From the collection of Stepan Petrovich Yaremich (1869-1939)". Above the ex libris there is a violet-colored stamp: "Cancelled. For sale".
One of the section headings in the magazine Talent Exchange is the young and talented violinist Alexandra Korobkina. The publication about her attracted the attention of the Composer Publishing House, which decided to finance a foreign internship for the young music student at a conservatory abroad.
The editorial board of the magazine Protector of the Arts and Sciences MECENAT has created a memorial desk-top medal "For support of culture, art, science and education". The first awards were made on 13 April 2006 by the founder of the magazine, entrepreneur Alexei Petrovich Kalinichenko to the Dean of St Petersburg State University Ludmila Alexandrovna Verbitskaya, to Governor of St Petersburg Valentina Evanovna Matvienko and to the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky.
Medal with depiction of Maecenas made by the St Petersburg sculptor Alexei Arkhipov.
* Caius Cilnius Maecenas lived in the period approximately 70 years before the birth of Christ. The year of his birth is unknown but the day is mentioned in one of the odes of Horatio. Caius Cilnius Maecenas was born into the elite of Roman society, in the caste of horsemen. He claimed that the family could be traced back to a dynasty of ancient Etruscan kings. This wealthy aristocrat was close to the throne and chose Octavian Augustus as its hero. He knew how to use his influence for the good of people in the arts. This brought Maecenas glory down through the centuries and his name became a common noun synonymous with ‘benefactors.'
Nikolai Ivanovich Shcherbaev - medallion maker, cutter of gems and dies or stamps for coinage. He was born in 1797 into the family of a "court buffet keeper". The year of his death is unknown. Beginning in 1821, he served in the St Petersburg Mint. In 1823 he was seconded to the Heraldry Office of the Senate. In 1825 the Ministry of Finances sent him to the Tiflis Mint. In 1835 he returned to the St Petersburg Mint, where he served in the "medallion section".
Gerasim Semonovich Nikolinko (Nikolenko) - cutter and maker of medals and medallions (1797 - 185?). Worked as a medal maker in the St Petersburg Mint. Well known copy of medal N 17 in a series of historical medals ("In memory of the wars of Askold against the Poles and Drevlyane") bearing the initials Ê.G.N. (copied by Gerasim Nikolinko)