On 11 July 2008, at the Hermitage Theatre an awards ceremony for the Grinzane Prize was held.
The award winners this year were Antonio Paolucci, a specialist of Italian art, and also formerly Minister for Italian Cultural Heritage and currently director of the Vatican Museums; and Georgy Vilinbakhov, Deputy Director of the State Hermitage Museum and State King of Arms.
The laureates were chosen by a jury including: the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, President of the Grinzane Cavour Prize Giuliano Soria and writer and literary critic Arnaldo Colasanti.
The Grinzane Cavour Prize was named after the castle in the Italian province of Piedmont where it was established in 1982. Designed as a literary award, it was primarily and mainly intended to help and encourage young people at large to read, study literature and develop a more profound understanding of it while involving them in all kinds of literary activities. But during the twenty-five years of its history the award has transcended the boundaries of literature and the geographical borders of Italy. Now the Grinzane Prize is conferred to people to have contributed to different spheres of culture in multiple countries around the world including France, Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Russia, African states etc.
Among the laureates are authors of prose and poetry, translators of Italian fiction into foreign languages (both well-reputed ones and beginners), cinematographers and scholars who have become distinguished in the field of historical and cultural research and preservation.
The GrinzaneCavour Prize is awarded under the auspices of the State Hermitage Museum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic, Government of the Piedmont Region, Ferrero operating in the Russian Federation, the Hermitage-Italy Foundation with participation of the Consulate General of the Italian Republic in St. Petersburg.
The Grinzane-Hermitage Prize award is expected to assist in strengthening the time-honoured cultural ties between Italy and St. Petersburg, a city that owes much of its beauty and splendour to great Italian architects such as Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Antonio Rinaldi, Giacomo Quarenghi, Carlo di Giovanni Rossi, Vincenzo Brenna and Luigi Rusca; the city where Domenico Cimarosa, Giovanni Paisiello, Francesco Saverio Mercadante and Tommaso Traetta and other distinguished artists used to live and work, each of them imparting their soul to decorate Russia’s Northern Capital.
In 2006 the Grinzane-Hermitage Prize ceremony took place for the first time. That year the laureates were Salvatore Settis, an outstanding public figure, a major expert in classical art and Rector of Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (which is one of Italy’s top universities), and Sergei Androsov, a well-known scholar of Western European sculpture and researcher of collection history, head of the State Hermitage Museum Department of Western European Art.
For the second time Grinzane prizes were awarded at the State Hermitage Museum on 11 July 2008. It was dedicated to art and the various forms of its expression and publishing activities in the sphere of art history.
Georgy Vadimovich Vilinbakhov
Born 13 April 1949, in Leningrad to a gentry family. His father, Vadim Borisovich Vilinbakhov, was a prominent historian and his mother, Vera Nikolaevna, was head for many years of a deparment at the Chemical Engineering Institute.
In 1971 G.V. Vilinbakhov graduated from the Faculty of History of Leningrad State University. In 2003 he wrote and successfully defended a doctoral thesis on Theory and Practice of State Heraldry in Russia (at St. Petersburg Institute of History affiliated to the Russian Academy of Sciences), the reviewers being Academician V.L. Yanin, Doctor of Historical Sciences S.V. Mironenko and Doctor of Historical Sciences L.E. Shepelev).
G.V. Vilinbakhov gave lectures on history of Russian culture, history of St. Petersburg and auxiliary historical disciplines at the university of Tartu (present-day Estonia) and Gertsen Teachers’ Training Institute (now a university) in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Currently he teaches heraldry at St. Petersburg State University and in capacity of Professor heads the Division of Heraldic Art as attached to the Department of Commercial Art of the Baron Stieglitz St. Petersburg Academy of Art and Design.
Since 1969 G.V. Vilinbakhov has worked for the State Hermitage Museum. He has occupied the posts of Custodian of the State Hermitage Museum collection of banners and military graphics (since 1970) and Deputy Director for Research (since August 1992).
G.V. Vilinbakhov is author of over 150 published historical works on Russian culture, military history and heraldry including monographs on life and creative activity of artist P. Hesse, the depiction of St. George, State Coat of Arms, Russian banners and orders. He is a major specialist in the sphere of Russian military culture and a universally distinguished expert in Russian insignia and heraldry. In 1980 he initiated the establishment of a Heraldry Seminar which marked the beginning of the revival of a truly scientific approach to the discipline in Russia. He immediately participated in elaboration of the concept and design of the Russian Federation Symbols of State and System of State Awards.
In February 1992 G.V. Vilinbakhov became head the Russian Federation Heraldry Service which in July 1994 was reformed as the State Heraldry Office under the President of the Russian Federation with G.V. Vilinbakhov appointed to direct its activities in capacity of State King-of-Arms. Since 1999 he has presided over the Heraldry Committee under the President of the Russian Federation.
Acting as official authorized representative of the President of the Russian Federation with the Federal Assembly he was responsible for presentation of the draft law on the Russian Federation Symbols of State. It was greatly thanks to his activities that the Russian State Heraldic Register was introduced and specialized heraldic services established as attached to a number of ministries and governmental departments.
In 1998 G.V. Vilinbakhov managed (as Head Master of Ceremonies) reinterment of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and servants killed by the Bolsheviks. In addition to that he participated (in capacity of Executive Secretary and Head Master of Ceremonies) in activities of the interdepartmental working group entrusted with preparations for the reinterment of Empress Maria Fyodorovna’s remains.
G.V. Vilinbakhov is a member of the executive committee of the International Association of Museums of Arms and Military History and an acting member and member of the Bureau of the International Academy of Heraldry (Paris). He is a Knight of the Medal of Honour (1998), Degree IV Order of Merit for Country (1999), Order of Merit (Italian Republic) (2003), Knighthood Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (2005) and Order of Merit (French Republic) (2005). Other proofs of his accomplishments are the diploma of gratitude from the President of the Russian Federation awarded for an invaluable contribution to providing for a unified state policy in the sphere of heraldry (2007) and the national award for protocol, image and reputation Profession Golden Standards (2007).
Antonio Paolucci, was born in Rimini in 1939. He started his career as a cultural heritage researcher at the age of twenty-nine, having taken a degree in art history. At different times he occupied the posts of Head of the Department for Preservation of the Historical Heritage of Venice and Verona, Director of the Natural Stone Restoration Institute, Head of the Florentine Museum Association and Director General of the Department for Preservation of the Historical Heritage of Tuscany.
From January 1995 to May 1996 A. Paolucci acted as Minister for Cultural Heritage in the Cabinet headed by Lamberto Dini. Currently he presides over the art exhibition research committee attached to the Scuderie del Quirinale, holds the post of Vice President of the Supreme Council for Cultural Heritage and officially consults the Senate on issues related to administration of the art museums of Florence. On 4 December 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Director of the Vatican museums. In addition to that A. Paolucci edits the Paragone and the Bollettino d’Arte magazines. He delivers lectures to students at Florentine universities (Faculty of Literature and Philosophy) and Siena (Cultural Heritage Faculty).
A. Paolucci is the author of numerous scientific papers (mostly devoted to the Italian painting of the Renaissance) including articles published in such magazines as the Paragone, the Bollettino d’Arte, the Arte Cristiana and the FMR and the following monographs: Museum of San Andrea Church (Florence, 1985), Florence Restoration Laboratory (Genoa, 1986), Volterra Museum (Florence, 1988), Piero della Francesca (Florence, 1989), Luca Signorelli (Florence, 1991), Antoniazzo Romano (Florence, 1992), San Giovanni Baptistery in Florence (in two volumes) (Modena, 1994), Pieta by Michelangelo (Milan, 1997), Italia Museum (Livorno, 1998). He has acted as supervisor of multiple exhibitions and departments of the latter including Santo Stefano al Ponte exhibition (held in 1980 and dealing with the Florentine clerical art of the 16th century); Masaccio and his Time held at Palazzo Vecchio (Florence) in 1990; Masters and Workshops (Florentine Palazzo Strozzi, 1992); Medici Court Splendour (Florentine Palazzo Pitti, 1997-1998); Renaissance in Italy. Court Culture (Tokyo and Rome, 2001); Silvestro Lega and Quattrocento (Forli, 2007); Piero della Francesco (Arezzo, 2007).
A. Paolucci is a Knight of the Order of Grand Cross of the Italian Republic, Order of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic and Gold Medal for honoured workers of culture. He is an academician of the National Academy of Lincei and laureate of Gvidarello Award XXXV (for journalists).