Hermitage Days - 2002
The traditional Hermitage Days take place in early December. The Museum recapitulates the past year's results and announces its plans for the future. The address delivered by Director Mikhail B. Piotrovsky on 6 December at the General Staff opened the International Hermitage Friends Conference. At the Hermitage Theater, Mikhail B. Piotrovsky gave the press conference Hermitage in 2002 and presented a number of books by the Museum's scholars. These and other publications may be seen at the traditional exhibition The Hermitage in the World of Publications showed in the Foyer. After the press conference, journalists were introduced to the Museum's restoration projects. In 2002, due to the financial support of the Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fonds the Hermitage restored the painting Military Post by the 17th century Dutch artist Jacob Duc (ca. 1600 - 1667). This painter is considered to be one of the creators of the genre of military scenes, so called corps de gardes. This especially large canvas may be the most monumental corps de garde in the Dutch genre painting of the 17th century.
One of the major project of the Hermitage Laboratory of Scientific Restoration of Easel Painting in 2001-2003 is the restoration of portraits of Russian generals who took part in the 1812-1814 campaign, preserved in the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace. Among these paintings is the portrait of Alexander I created by Franz Krueger in 1832-1833 and displayed in the Military Gallery since the autumn of 1837.
The Program of Reconstruction of the Ancient Department Exhibitions restored the Hall of Archaic Art which introduces the Hermitage visitors to the art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. Due to the support of the American Friends of the State Hermitage Museum, Inc. and the Zeit Foundation, all the basic elements of the Hall's decorations were restored. When the work is completed, a new system of lighting will be created in the Hall. With new showcases provided with additional lighting, the exhibition will meet the latest requirements of the international museum technology. At the center of the renovated exhibition of Ancient Greek masters of the 12th-5th centuries B.C. will be the collection's masterpieces, excellent painted vases from Athens and Corinth. It is expected that the Hall of Archaic Art will be opened to visitors in May 2003.
After almost thirty years, the permanent exhibition of Ancient Near East is again opened to public at the Hermitage. The reliefs on display such as the monumental plaques with the images of Ashur-nasir-pal II and his divine patrons (9th century B.C.) were unearthed in the place where once stood the Assyrian kings' palace. The glyptic collection is an important and noteworthy part of the new exhibition. The Hermitage collection of clay tablets, unique for its richness, allows to recreate the daily lives and pursuits of people who lived a few millennia ago. Being Russia's best and multi-faceted, though of small size, the Hermitage collection of Near Eastern art represents Mesopotamia which along with Egypt was the cradle of the world's most ancient civilization.
On the same day the Internet Center, opened during the 2001 Hermitage Days, was celebrating its first anniversary.
On 7 December, the Feast of St. Catherine the divine patron of Catherine the Great who founded the Hermitage in 1764, participants of the International Hermitage Friends Conference continued their work. Together with the participants of the Hermitage in Russia Roundtable Discussion they visited the State Hermitage Museum's Staraya Derevnya Center for Restoration and Storage. On the same day the exhibition Christmas Gifts: Pieces from the Historical Collections of the Imperial Porcelain and Glass Works of the 18th - Early 20th Centuries was opened in the Apollo Hall of the Winter Palace.
On 8 December, Director Mikhail B. Piotrovsky met with the participants of the Hermitage in Russia Roundtable Discussion. Special events were organized for members of the International Hermitage Friends Club. At a meeting in the Hermitage Theater the Museum's friends were given awards.
On the St. George Day, 9 December, the general meeting of the Hermitage staff took place followed by the Admiralty Orchestra's concert. The day's central event was the official ceremony of conferring Russia's national awards to the Hermitage personnel. T.I. Zagrebina, Chief Custodian of the State Hermitage Museum, was conferred Order of Friendship, and N.S. Pinyagina, Director of the Laboratory of Scientific Restoration of Fabrics of the Hermitage Department of Scientific Restoration and Conservation, Dr. T.V. Rappe, Senior Research Assistant of the Hermitage Department of West European Art, and A.V.Soldatenko, Head of the Hermitage Department of Development and Marketing were conferred medals.
Participants of the ceremony were showed A. Sokurov's film Russian Ark at the Hermitage Theater.
The Hermitage Days were closed on 10 December by a piano improvisation concert given by Sergey Yevtushenko at the Hermitage Theater.