Taking stock of 2011
2011 has come to an end, and its events have already merged with the
history of this great museum, which will celebrate its
The Hermitage has delighted the residents and guests of Saint Petersburg with striking major exhibits. The Prado in the Hermitage exhibit was one of the most notable events of the Year of Spain in Russia and Year of Russia in Spain. This was the largest and most representative exhibit from the famous Madrid museum ever to be organized outside of Spain. The opening of the Hermitage in Prado exhibit in the National Prado Museum that opened in November was an appropriately generous reply. Its goal was to present the Spanish public with an exhibit that reflected the full scope of the diverse collection of artwork held by Russia’s largest museum.
A careful and tasteful thought process went into selecting the themes of the exhibits dedicated to the conclusion of the Year of Italy in Russia and Year of Russia in Italy: Painting and Sculpture in Rome in the second half of the 18th century, Italian Painting in the 19th century, from Neoclassicism to Symbolism, Palaces, Ruins and Dungeons, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Italian 18th Century Architectural Fantasies, and The Herculaneum Antiquities.
As always, the Masterpieces from the Museums of the World in the Hermitage has enjoyed great success. Vermeer’s The Love Letter from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Giorgione’s The Tempest from the Gallery of the Venice Academy, and Giotto’s God the Father from the Civil Museum of Padua.
The Hermitage continues to familiarize the public with the art of our own contemporaries. One daring experimental exhibit was entitled Antony Gormley. Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in the Classical Collection. Marble statues of the classical gods and the abstract metallic bodies created by A. Gormley, existed in one space within a classical museum. Each visitor became not merely an observer, but a participant in these juxtapositions.
The art of photography was another area of the museum’s exhibit program. In December, visitors to the Hermitage had the opportunity to view its collection of daguerreotypes.
Viewers were particularly intrigued by the exhibit entitled Roads
of Arabia. Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia. The wonderfully
rich and spectacular exposition Mikhail Lomonosov and the Time of Elizabeth I was one of the most notable events dedicated to the
This year, the Menshikov Palace, the oldest stone building in Petersburg,
also celebrated its jubilee. The exhibit Around this Place, the Memories
are Alive. Menshikov
The Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory hosted the opening of a new section of its permanent exhibition in December, featuring the presentation of its famous collection of Soviet porcelain, created at the M.V. Lomonosov Leningrad Porcelain Factory (currently known as the Imperial Porcelain Factory).
Every temporary exhibit is accompanied by the release of a scholarly catalogue. In 2011, the Publishing House of the State Hermitage Museum issued forty five books. The catalogue of the exhibit entitled The Treasure of Factory Owner Likhachova was honored with a prize certificate at the Museum Olympus award ceremony.
In 2011, the Hermitage was home to twenty two conferences dedicated to a wide variety of scholarly questions.
The Hermitage’s restorers enjoy the recognition of their counterparts in the industry. This year, the State Hermitage Museum was awarded a prize at the Museum Olympus award ceremony in the Prestige of Petersburg category for its Hermitage School of Restoration program in Yekaterinburg, and in the Museum Innovation category for its project entitled Laser Technology in the Restoration of Works of Art made from Precious Metals. The employees of the Hermitage’s laboratory for the scientific restoration of clocks and musical mechanisms earned a State Prize of the Russian Federation.
The public also had a chance to evaluate the work of the Hermitage’s
restorers, who presented the newly-restored paintings Annunciation
by Cima da Conegliano and Pool in a Harem by
More than two million six hundred thousand people visited the Hermitage
in 2011. More than a third of them (35%) were admitted for free. This
included children, students, and Russian pensioners. Another third of
the visitors (Russian citizens) were given a discount on their tickets
by the museum. The employees of the Hermitage’s Scientific and Educational
Department held about 33 thousand
The Hermitage expanded its audience significantly by regularly displaying works of art from its collections in other museums in Russia and around the world.
We can take pride in all of this. But a wise museum never boasts of its
achievements. The Hermitage generously shares them with anyone who wishes
to become familiar with this living