The Hermitage Catís Day 2012
On April 21st, 2012, The Hermitage Catís Day, a special project developed
at the State Hermitage Museum and dedicated to the cats that live in the
museum, was observed, as a tradition. As the director of the State Hermitage
Museum, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky noted, "The cats have become
an important part of our life at the Hermitage and one of our most significant
The press conference dedicated to the holiday was held in the School Center by S.B. Asaksina the Deputy General Director of the State Hermitage Museum and Head custodian, M.B. Haltunen, Executive Assistant to General Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mary Ann Allin, the President of Swashbuckler Enterprises Inc., author of the book Anna and the Cats, or An Adventure in the Hermitage, I.V. Chuvaev, the Head doctor of the Institute of Veterinary Biology, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Timely Questions in Veterinary Biology, and A. Dyopar, Regional Marketing Director of the Purina PetCare Department of Nestle Russia LLC.
On April 21st, the Great Courtyard of the Winter Palace hosted the award ceremony for the winners of the Kingdom of Cats. Cats Big and Small in the Museum school contests. A piece chosen by the event partner, the Nevskaya Palytra Paint Factory, was honored with a special prize. Andrei Kuznetzov, a representative of the Mitki, a group of artists, held an open competition entitled My Hermitage Cat, invited anyone who wishes to imagine and draw their image of a Hermitage animal.
In the halls of the museum, the visitors were able to play Hunting for Lions or Travels with a Hermitage Cat, to help a Hermitage cat find its distant ancestor, a lion, in the works of art in the Hermitage collection. The culmination of the game was a visit to the Egyptian cat, the one unique mummified cat in the State Hermitage Museum.
The cat was a sacred animal to the goddess Bastet from the city of Bubastis on the Delta. Bastet was initially identified with a lioness, but in statues from the Late Period (7th-4th centuries B.C.E.) dedicated to the temples by her worshipers, she is depicted with a catís head. As a fierce lioness, Bastet was identified with the goddess Sekhmet, who had the same appearance, and as a playful cat, she was associated with the goddess of joy, Hathor. Hundreds of thousands of mummified cats have been preserved from Bastetís place of worship, like the one in the Hermitage.
On the same day, the attic and basement of the Winter Palace hosted a presentation of paintings by professional artists, inspired by the noble animals, pieces by students who studied in the creative sections of the Student Club of the Hermitage Youth Center, as well as pieces by schoolchildren who participated in the Kingdom of Cats. Cats Big and Small in the Museum school contest.
For many years, the life of the Hermitage cats has been supported by the employees of the Hermitage with the help of the ProAnimale charitable organization and the Elvet clinic. This year the Hermitage cats acquired new benefactors; the State Hermitage Museum, the SWASH cultural programs fund and the Purina PetCare Department of Nestle Russia LLC signed an agreement on cooperation for the Hermitage Cats charity project. The project consists of two parts; the first, or cultural part, consists of the republication of Mary Ann Allin and M .B. Haltunenís book Anna and the Cats, or An Adventure in the Hermitage, as well as preparing a musical based on the book, which is intended to be presented to the public in the Hermitage Theatre next year. The second part of the Hermitage Cats charity project is a practical one:
1) the Purina PetCare Department of Nestle Russia LLC will give the Hermitage
cats food for several years
The Hermitage Catís Day 2012 was organized with the support and participation of the SWASH cultural programs fund, Swashbuckler Enterprises Inc., the Purina PetCare Department of Nestle Russia LLC, the Elvet Clinic, the Institute of Veterinary Biology, ProAnimale, the Nevskaya Palytra Paint Factory, the World Club of Petersburgers, the Hermit Park Company, The Draughtsmanís Contract Gallery, Beta Com Company, Transelectro Company, and PrettyCat.