Byzantine Art of the 4th-15th Centuries is open in the Winter Palace
Temporary exhibition Byzantine Art of the 4th-15th Centuries is open in Hall No 152 of the Winter Palace.
At the end of 2010 the permanent exhibition of Byzantium which had located on the third floor of the Winter Palace since 1956 was closed due to long-term restoration of these rooms. The museum directorate decided to launch a temporary Byzantine exposition, including the best monuments of the Byzantine Arts in Hall No 152 on the second floor of the Winter Palace.
The State Hermitage is the only museum in Russia which had a special exposition dedicated to the arts and culture of Byzantium. It has been traditionally developed that in our museum in particular the culture of Byzantium is presented in all its diversity: painting and decorative art, sculpture and fragments of architecture, elite luxurious articles and common objects from everyday life. The Byzantine collection of the Hermitage is the best Byzantine museum collection in the world. And it is not an exaggeration. The iconic part is unique in particular; nowhere in Europe or America one can find such selection of ancient icons and of such high artistic level! The collection of silver and carved ivory is not less unique.
One of peculiarities of our collection is its origin. The most part of
the applied monuments came as a part of the collection of Alexander Bazilevsky.
It was bought in December 1884 in Paris especially for the Hermitage and
was the basis for establishment of the Medieval Department in our museum.
Another source of the applied arts items is archeological excavations
in the Crimea, generally in legendary Chersonese. Valuable additions came
to the Hermitage from a private collection of the historian Mikhail Pogodin,
Museum of Baron Stieglitz and the Russian Archeological Institute in Konstantinopol.
Ancient Byzantine icons are also obliged to their appearance in the museum
by the activity of private collectors. The most considerable contribution
into the icon’s collection formation was made by Pyotr Sevastyanov, having
made several special journeys to monasteries of Mount Athos in the second
part of the
At the end of 2010 the permanent exhibition of Byzantium which had located
on the third floor of the Winter Palace since 1956 was closed due to long-term
restoration of these rooms. The Hermitage Administration understands perfectly
well how unique the Byzantine collection is and what important social-political
and cultural place it occupies in the modern society. Thus Director of
the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky took a decision to launch a temporary
Byzantine exposition in
At the exposition we tried to show that the Byzantine art is not only
of religious character as social plots were widely spread, for example
in the Byzantine silver. Dishes with portraits of emperors, literary plots
(especially related to Iliad of Homer), and mythological scenes may be
seen on the sides from a famous icon Christ Pantocrator 1363. Images
of Roman gods, nude figures, and playful puttos are presented on both
secular and church Byzantine monuments, for example, on ivory pixes of
the 4th century or silver jugs and scoops of
The principal accent is obviously made on icons as picturesque icons
in particular are usually associated in the mind of visitors with the
idea of Byzantine. Here, in the Hermitage the guests of the museum have
a unique chance to see the best examples of the Byzantine painting from
the 11th to the mid 15th century. They are as capital Constantinopolitan
icons like, for example, Holy Warriors and Philip the Apostle
or Three Holy Warriors (both dated the
Senior Researcher of the Orient Department