Russian Charity. The 5th Maecenas Day at the Hermitage
13 April 2010 Maecenas and Benefactor Day was held at the Hermitage Theater for the fifth time which allows to consider it an established Petersburg’s celebration. The date, a birth day of Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, a Roman aristocrat, a friend of poets and musicians, was calculated by Horatius’s ode. The place cannot be different: the Hermitage has a famous painting by Tiepolo entitled Maecenas Presenting the Liberal arts to Emperor Augustus.
The purpose of the celebration is a presentation of charitable projects. With an obvious deficit of legislative activity in Russia, our authorities and society should at least learn to say THANKS to contributors. Therefore, this word may become another name of the celebration. Since last year it is held in association with the Committee of Culture of Saint Petersburg Government.
Under the continuing crisis, when many companies cut down their charity expenses, a great importance is attached to regular programs of support of museums, other cultural, educational and healthcare institutions. Programs in association with Gazprom Transgaz Saint Petersburg, Khlebny Dom, Severo-Zapadny Bank of the RF Sberbank were presented by their executives. The same year the Theatrical Emergency project, taken into consideration in other cities of Russia and CIS, was supported by the Unilever concern.
New essential forms of social activities are not the least important under changing conditions. For example, within the framework of the program Preserving the Best at Universities, advanced IT companies ensure the preservation of human resource potential of Russian higher school by encouraging the best graduates to continue research and teaching activity within universities. V. Vasiliev, Chairman of the Board of Rectors of Petersburg universities shared about art patron companies without which it is impossible to solve the problem of economy modernization.
Campaign on restoring an art gallery in Tskhinval was initiated in Saint Petersburg and supported in many Russian regions. Julietta Tskhovrebova, Director of the Arveron gallery, a guest from the Republic of South Ossetia, spoke about this campaign. Petersburg artists donated their works to the restored collection.
As always, at the celebration at the Hermitage there were children in need, in particular, from the Children’s Village-SOS in Pushkino. All of them were given presents. Lali Managadze, a designer of children’s clothes, with the aid of young wheelchair models presented her works within the framework of the Special Fashion project.
Thematically, current ceremony is related to the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory. In the war time a self-sacrifice was a mass phenomenon. For the sake of victory people would sacrifice everything, including the most precious, their lives. Guests learnt about the donors of the blockade Leningrad, saw a unique color film about the Victory Parade at the Red Square in Moscow in June 1945. Mikhail Pavlov, retired colonel, was an honored guest who became the only participant of this parade living in our city.
To Maecenas Day an exhibition of rare books of the 15th-20th centuries on the history of Italian Renaissance from the M. Gukovsky Library presented to the museum by S. Braude in the performance of the will of A. Kantor-Gukovsky was arranged in the Foyer of the Hermitage Theater. A. Odinokov, a collector from Veliky Novgorod, donated to the Hermitage graphic works of the 16th-20th centuries, books and albums of early 19th-21st centuries; A. Zhukov, a Petersburger, donated a gift edition of a book devoted to Feodorovsky Gosudarev Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo, with a facsimile reproduction of the inscription “Happy Christian Holiday Nikolai Alexandra 25 December 1916”.
Traditionally, to Maecenas Day a new edition of the Russian Maecenas almanac, that says about a lot of mentioned programs and other examples of social partnership and charity, was issued. There, a special place is occupied by an extract of Daniil Granin’s story Where We Go about the first months of the Great Patriotic War.