The Art Restoration and Storage Center
Preliminary tour booking by phone: 340-10-26
Photography and video recording at the Restoration and Storage Center Staraya Derevnya is prohibited.
The Art Restoration and Storage Centre of the State Hermitage in Staraya Derevnya
The modern Restoration and Storage Center "Staraya Derevnya" of the State Hermitage is located in Staraya Derevnya district. Currently it comprises three buildings: Administrative, Repository and Engineering buildings. In accordance with the General Development Plan in 2012 the Depository will be the world's largest complex consisting of eight specialized buildings. An ability to conduct tours of the Hermitage's Depository makes this museum project unique. A tour program allows getting familiar with paintings and sculpture from the museum collections, an extensive furniture collection, a collection of carriages and other items that were long unavailable for the general public.
Fund of the Department of the History of Russian Culture
In 2004 special equipment - movable racks and glass-enclosed display cases - was installed in the rooms housing the fund of paintings from the Department of the History of Russian Culture, thus making it possible for visitors to acquaint themselves with the principles of placement and the peculiarities of the storage of paintings. This equipment allows for easy movement of the exhibit items when thematic exhibitions are being prepared.
Nearly the entire fund of paintings from the Department of the History of Russian Culture is being moved to the Storage Facility. The only exceptions are those works which are on permanent display in the main museum buildings. The fund includes around 3,500 canvases (works of Russian artists of the 17th to early 20th century, as well as works by foreign artists living in Russia in the 18th - first half of the 19th centuries).
In 2005 a large part of the works of Russian painting from the 19th and 20th centuries made the move. This and additions to the furniture funds made it possible to reconsider the open storage exhibition.
Within the Storage Facility, an exhibition of works of ancient Russian fresco painting has been created. Among the medieval frescoes on display there are paintings from Pskov and from the churches in Smolensk. In the same room there is a display of icons from the famous art centres of Old Russia - Mstiora and Kholui, including works of well-known icon-painters, as well as several examples of northern Russian painting.
In 2005 the largest part of the fund of Russian sculpture was brought to Staraya Derevnya. Works by such famous masters as Boris Orlovsky, Nikolai Pimenov, Piotr Klodt, Mark Antokolsky, Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky, Fiodor Tolstoi and Alexander Terebenev entered the open storage exhibition.
The exhibition displays around 1,200 pieces of Russian furniture dating from the first quarter of the 18th to the early 20th century (the collection numbers about 2,500 storage units).
The Hall of Carriages
The Hall of Carriages was created specially to house the Hermitage's remarkable collection of carriages. Here we find such interesting exhibits as the vis-a-vis carriage (circa 1761, Paris), which Ivan Betskoi presented to Catherine the Great, and the state carriage (master Ivan Yakovlev) made for the entrance of ladies-in-waiting to Moscow on the occasion of the coronation of Alexander II in 1856.
Fund of the Department of the History of Western European Applied Art
The open storage exhibition displays around 1,000 pieces of European furniture dating from the 16th to19th century (the collection has around 3,000 works by master furniture-makers of Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Flanders and England).
The "Theatre of Tapestries"
The planning and creation of the so-called "Theatre of Tapestries" was a significant achievement. This makes it possible to exhibit eight tapestries simultaneously in a moving display. Moreover there is possibility of providing a musical accompaniment to the showing. The "Theatre" consists of huge vertically positioned metal frames on wheels which are moved along rails by an electrical drive. The entire system is directed by the tour guide using a portable remote control device. The "Theatre of Tapestries" enjoys invariable success with the public. Among the exhibits are three huge tapestries from the Story of Meleager series created in Flanders in the late 17th century on the basis of cartoons by the famous French painter Charles Lebrun.
Fund of the Department of the History of Western European Fine Arts
In December 2005 work was completed on the storage area of Western European sculpture, which now became part of the visitors' open storage itinerary at the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre.
There are now 219 exhibits in the storage area which were taken from the funds of the State Hermitage as well as those which were on display. They are arranged by schools and in chronological order: from the art of Classical Antiquity (represented by copies made in the 17th and 18th centuries) and original works by masters of the Renaissance to modern sculpture.
The works differ widely in terms of provenance. Some of them go back to the time when the Hermitage's collection of sculpture was first formed in the age of Catherine the Great: the Dionysus and the Centaur relief; two statues by an unknown Italian master of the mid-18th century which decorated the Hanging Garden - the Allegory of Painting and the Allegory of Sculpture. Many works entered the collection in the19th century. Some were purchased, while others were commissioned (including works that were in the former collections of grand dukes and private owners). The most recent acquisitions came via the Hermitage's New Acquisitions Department or were donated by the sculptors.
The exhibits also vary according to level of execution. There are signed works: Diana with a Dog by Luigi Bienaimé, A Spring by Wolf von Hoyer, The Throwing of the Vestal Virgin from the Tarpeian Cliff by Karl Kloss, the Portrait of Wilhelm II by Heinz Hoffmeister; numerous portraits done by well-known masters from various schools at the behest of members of the Imperial family and once displayed in the Winter Palace; decorative statues, candelabra and fountains that adorned the palace, as well as copies and replicas by unknown masters, late castings and plaster copies of well-known sculptures. The materials used to create the sculptures include clay (terracotta, majolica), wood, stone (marble, limestone), metal (bronze, iron, lead) and plaster. They provide a broad representation of the techniques and technologies of sculpture as an art form.
The distinguishing features of the new storage area are the well-planned and organized use of space as well as the equipment, which was specially designed (Alexander Stepura, chief designer of the Restoration and Storage Centre) and executed on a high level by the masters of Museum Technologies Ltd. Works of sculpture are clustered on podiums and on various pedestals in that part of the storage area through which tour groups can walk. In the storage area proper, there are racks for sculptures and the exhibits are well seen through transparent glass doors. The designers came up with a very good solution for small-scale sculpture: a case/rack that separates the service part of the premises and has a rear wall made of matte glass that sets off statuettes and small busts to especially good effect.
In connection with the creation of the new Storage Facility, considerable work was done to restore many art works. Practically all the sculptures that are now in the open part of the Storage Facility passed through the hands of restorers. The new open Storage Facility has resulted from the joint work of a designer, restorers and curators of sculpture from the Department of Western European Art. It allows visitors to get a rather comprehensive idea of the development of Western European sculpture.
Fund of the Oriental Department
In the repository of the Oriental Department, a special framed configurable structure is mounted that allows visitors to enjoy both the external and internal side of an item - a military shelter presented by the Turkish Sultan Selim III to Catherine II in 1793. The shelter, made of cashmere fabric, lavishly decorated with golden needlework and embroidery, was not exposed in halls of the State Hermitage before due to its significant dimensions (510ĺ103ĺ250 cm).
In 2008 "the open storage program" was completed with one more
store-room of the Oriental Department - wall paintings from Buddhist cave
temples in the oases of the Taklamakan Desert along the Great Silk Road.
The items transferred to Leningrad were kept in special storage rooms
for many years. The fragments are separated and have not been studied
since the war. They are being restored now.