A session of the Hermitage Scientific Committee of the Hermitage Italy Foundation was held on May 30th, 2011, in Ferrara, under the management of M.B. Piotrovsky. This meeting served as an opportunity to take stock of the year that has passed since the last meeting of the Scientific Committee. During that take, a series of conferences and lectures were held in the Centre, dedicated to two major themes; the history of how the world’s major museums were formed and Caravaggio’s jubilee year. Participants included world renowned specialists and the managers and the most famous museums, such as Gabriele Finaldi, Deputy Director of Prado, Pierre Rosenberg, former Director of Louvre, and Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery in London.
The Center’s grants for the current year were announced. During the Hermitage-Italy Foundation’s existence, 65 people have made use of its grants, including not only Russian and Italian specialists, but also representatives of Holland, France and Great Britain.
One of the most important results of the activities of the Hermitage Centre in Italy is its publications: this year, the Hermitage collection’s third scientific catalogue, dedicated to Italian Renaissance painting, will be published. Immediately after the session of the Scientific Committee, a book by Frederica Rossi (one of the Foundation’s first fellows), dedicated to the work of the celebrated Russian architect Nikolay Lvov.
On May 31st, the Director of the Hermitage participated in the opening of two exhibitions as part of the 54th Venice Bienniale.
Ca’ Foscari University in Venice offered its halls for an exhibit organized jointly by the Prigov Foundation and the State Hermitage Museum and the Centre for the Study of Russian Language and Culture. As is well known, the work of the famous Russian conceptual artist Dmitry Prigov will be an important part of the Hermitage 20/21 project, and the gallery of contemporary art that is now being created at the museum. The opening of the Prigov exhibit in Venice will be followed by an event to acquaint the Russian public with the master’s legacy. Along with M.B. Piotrovsky, the president of Ca’ Foscari, Carlo Carraro, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Russian Language and Culture, Silvia Burini, the artist’s widow Nadezhda Burova, and the curator of the exhibit Dmitry Ozerkov.
On the same day, the Director of the Hermitage participated in the opening of another contemporary art exhibit, organized by the Prado Foundation in the ancient halls of the Ca’Corner della Regina Palace, including an installation containing 68 pieces of 18th century Meissen porcelain from the Hermitage collection, which enter into an interesting dialogue about the art of various ages.
A signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between the city of Venice and the State Hermitage Museum on June 1st in the Ca’ Farsetti Palace, which is occupied by the Municipality of Venice. This Memorandum, which calls for cooperation in various fields of culture and the humanities, was signed by the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, and the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, as well as the directors of the most significant and influential institutions in Venice: Carlo Carraro, the Rector of the Ca’ Foscari University; Amerigo Restucci, the Rector of the University Iuav of Venice, Walter Hartsarich, the President of the Venitian Civic Museums Foundation; and the General Secretary of the Giorgio Cini Foundation, Pasquale Gagliardi. The Memorandum calls for joint research, publication and exhibits dedicated to a wide variety of subjects that present a mutual interest and have historically connected Venice and Petersburg: the fine arts, theatre and stagecraft, architecture, and cultural cross-pollination.
During the second half of the day, a meeting took place between M.B. Piotrovsky and the Superintendent of the Museums of Venice, Giovanna Damiani, the Director of the Accademia Galleries in Venice, Matteo Ceriana, and the Press-Secretary of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Franco Miracco. At the meeting, an agreement was reached to exchange certain paintings by Venetian masters, as part of the Year of Italian Culture in Russia and Russian Culture in Italy. For the first time, the Accademia Galleries in Venice agreed to send one of the main symbols of the Venetian Renaissance - “The Tempest” by Giorgione.
The painting will be displayed in the halls of the Hermitage for one month in the summer, and in the beginning of autumn two works by Lorenzo Lotto, “Portrait of a Married Couple” and “Madonna delle Grazie”, will be sent to Venice from the Hermitage collection.