Opening of Hermitage-Italy Centre in Ferrara
Information communique: On 20 October 2007, in Ferrara at a ceremony attended by the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, at the Castello Estense (Castle of Saint Michele) the Hermitage Italy Centre was opened. The centre is located within the castle walls and at the Palazzo Giglioli. This location has been reserved for the scientific work of members of Russian-Italian programmes which fall within the main activities of the centre
The Hermitage Italy Centre is being financed by the businessmen and government of the city. Ferrara was chosen as the location for the Hermitage Italy Centre from among several contending cities, including Venice, Turin, Verona and Mantua. The centre has two directors, a Russian and an Italian, and a scientific council, which includes Russian, Italian and Spanish specialists. The main mission of the research work is to study collections and Russian-Italian cultural links. Accordingly, one of the main tasks of the centre is the preparation and publishing of a ten volume catalogue of the Italian collections at the State Hermitage Museum, the first volume (in Italian) will be published next year. International conferences and seminars on restoration techniques will be held at the centre, along with scientific exchanges amongst restorers of the State Hermitage Museum and the National Restoration Centre in Florence. The centre will also publish translations of Italian travellers to Russia and Russian travellers to Italy. Twice a year exhibitions will be organized under the aegis of the State Hermitage Museum. The first exhibition opens in autumn 2008 and will be dedicated to Ferraran paintings. Paintings from museums in Italy, Russia, Germany and Great Britain will participate in the exhibition. The exhibitions will take place in the usual exhibition halls of the castle.
The Hermitage Italy Centre will also coordinate the State Hermitage Museum's wide ranging activities in Italy, in particular, archaeological programmes with organizations in Naples and exhibition exchanges with museums in Rome, in addition to other schemes.
The establishment of the centre is a reflection of the State Hermitage Museum's new focus on extra-museum policy - alongside maintaining its active exhibition programme, special attention and finances will be placed on scientific research, which is essential to maintain the State Hermitage Museum's reputation as a leading world museum.
As part of this new policy, the State Hermitage Museum has signed a contract with the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The agreement provides for a strengthening of the traditional ties between the State Hermitage Museum and the Institute. A large amount of energy and time will be spent on continuing long term projects which include regular business trips of Hermitage personnel to British libraries and museums. This programme is especially important for preparing the new permanent exhibitions in the Eastern wing of the General Staff Building.
The State Hermitage rooms in Somerset House are in the process of becoming the head quarters of the UK Friends of the Hermitage and a location for classes, lectures and seminars connected with reciprocal programmes between the State Hermitage Museum and the Courtauld Institute of Art. An important task for the UK Friends of the Hermitage will be its participation in displaying contemporary art at the State Hermitage Museum and conducting lectures.
The State Hermitage Museum's exhibitions will be held in different exhibition halls throughout London. At present work is underway on a new exhibition programme of the State Hermitage Museum in Britain.
The cycle of exhibitions in Somerset House was started with an exhibition dedicated to Catherine II, and completed with one about Empress Josephine. In total the cycle consisted of 12 exhibitions, enjoying great success among the general public and specialists.