Advertisements

Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum is an art and culture museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, having been founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, the collections consist of over three million items. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

Highlights of the Hermitage Museum

  • “Madonna Litta” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci
    • The “Madonna Litta” painting has traditionally been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. However, scholarly opinion is divided on the work’s creators. Some experts believe this is the work of one of Leonardo’s pupils. The Hermitage Museum, which owns this 1490s masterpiece, considers the painting to be an autograph work by Leonardo. Madonna Litta depicts the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the Christ child, a devotional subject known as the Nursing Madonna. The figures are set in a dark interior with two arched openings showing an aerial view of a mountainous landscape. Of particular interest, note that in the center of the painting, in Christ’s left hand, is a goldfinch, which is symbolic of his future Passion.
  • Composition VI by Kandinsky
    • Composition VI by Kandinsky by Vasily Kandinsky also spelled Wassily, is an expressive abstract that is independent of forms and lines. Music was an essential catalyst for early abstract art, and Kandinsky used musical terms to identify his works. He called his spontaneous paintings “improvisations” and described elaborate works, such as this painting, as “compositions.” In many of Kandinsky’s works, the identification of the forms and the masses present on the canvas require a more elaborate analysis. The inner reality of the art requires a more profound observation of the relationship of all the elements and their harmony. Kandinsky was an early champion of abstract painting; he is famous for his lyrical style and innovative theories on nonfigurative art.
  • “Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate” by Francisco Goya
    • “The Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate” by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya is a portrait of the actress Antonia Zárate. It was produced in Goya’s studio, and it shows her wearing most likely an outfit from one of her performances. Antonia Zárate was the daughter of an actor and director of a performing company. She continued in the family tradition as an actress and singer with success throughout Spain but mainly acted in the Spanish capital, where she became a friend of Francisco Goya.
  • “White House at Night” by Vincent van Gogh
    • “White House at Night” by Vincent van Gogh was created six weeks before his death. It is thought that van Gogh painted “White House at Night” around 8:00 PM, based on the position of the “star” in the painting. Astronomers calculated that the star in the picture must be Venus, which was bright in the evening sky in June 1890. Does this painting express Van Gogh’ s psychological tension? The painting itself has had a turbulent history. In the late 1920s, it became part of a private collection of a German industrialist. Pictures of this style were labeled “degenerate art” by the Nazis, which contributed to this painting and other Post-Impressionism paintings being kept secret.
  • “The Three Graces” by Antonio Canova
    • “The Three Graces” by Antonio Canova is a statue of the three mythological charities who were daughters of Zeus. Zeus was the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who ruled as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. The three sisters are identified as Euphrosyne, Aglaea, and Thalia, from left to right. They represent youth and beauty, she is named Thalia, mirth, is named Euphrosyne, and elegance is called Aglaea. The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings, to delight the guests of the gods. The Three Graces have inspired many artists and have served as subjects for many artists.
  • Egyptian Collection in the Hermitage Museum
    • The civilization of ancient Egypt produced ancient Egyptian art in the Nile Valley from about 3000 BC to 30 AD. Ancient Egyptian art reached a high level of sophistication in painting and sculpture but in a highly stylized and symbolic form. It was highly conservative, and styles changed remarkably little over more than three thousand years. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments. The tomb art was never meant to be seen by people and was produced for the afterlife.
  • Gonzaga Cameo
    • The Gonzaga Cameo is a Hellenistic engraved gem dating from the 3rd century BC. The two profiles form a couple who at various times have been identified as Alexander the Great and Olympias, Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, Nero, and Agrippina the Younger, and many other famous couples of antiquity. The male figure is clad in the attributes of Alexander. These attributes include a laurel-wreathed helmet which is crowned by a snake. The Alexander figure also has on his cape a gorgoneion figure and a bearded head, probably that of Zeus Ammon. The brown necklace is a later addition to mask the fact that the cameo was, at some point, broken in half at the necks of the figures
  • “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova
    • “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova shows the mythological lovers at a moment of high emotion. It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening Psyche with a kiss. Having been awakened, Psyche reaches up toward her lover, Cupid, as he gently holds her by supporting her head and breast. This sculpture exemplifies Antonio Canova’s craftsmanship and skills in carving marble that provides a superb contrast between the smooth skin of Psyche and Cupid as compared to the surrounding elements. The detached draping around Psyche’s lower body, emphasizes the difference between the texture of skin and drapery. Beautiful curls and lines define the hair, and the feathery details create the realistic wings of Cupid. The rough stone texture provides the basis of the rock upon which the composition is placed.
  • “The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
    • “The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicts a kiss between two lovers, showing a young lady in a cream-colored silk gown who has left the group women in the next room for a secret meeting with a young man. Fragonard’s painting displays the kind of eroticism and romantic folly that was popular before the French Revolution among French aristocrats. This scene of voyeurism depicts the stolen kiss in lavish surroundings, containing luxurious details of textures, silks, and lace, like the rug with flower pattern, silk draperies, her shawl on the chair, the elegantly clad ladies that are visible through the open door.
  • “Boulevard Montmartre” by Camille Pissarro
    • “Boulevard Montmartre: Afternoon, Sunshine” by Camille Pissarro became part of a thirteen artwork series of the famous Boulevard. Pissarro painted it in 1897 after renting a room at the Grand Hotel de Russie in Paris with a perfect view. Pissarro wanted to capture the true essence of the busy Parisian street. From his elevated hotel balcony, he obtains a bird’s-eye view of the people, carriages, and life that passed before him.

A Tour of the Hermitage Museum

Collections of Hermitage Museum

Prehistoric Collection

The Prehistoric Collection dated from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age and was excavated all over Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire. Among them is a renowned collection of the art and culture of nomadic tribes of the Altai. The Caucasian exhibition includes a selection of Urartu artifacts from Armenia.

Egyptian and Mesopotamia Collection

The Egyptian collection occupies a large hall on the ground floor in the eastern part of the Winter Palace. A collection of the culture of Ancient Mesopotamia, including Assyrian reliefs from Babylon, Dur-Sharrukin, and Nimrud, is located in the same part of the building.

Classical Collection

The Classical Collection features Greek artifacts from the third millennium to fifth century BC, ancient Greek pottery, items from the Greek cities, Hellenistic sculpture, and jewelry, including engraved gems and cameos. Roman art from the 9th to the second century BC, Roman marble and bronze sculpture and applied art from the first century BC – fourth century AD, including copies of Classical and Hellenistic Greek sculptures.

Western European Art Collection

The Western European Art collection includes European paintings, sculpture, and applied art from the 13th to the 20th centuries. It is displayed on the first and second floors of the four main buildings. Drawings and prints are exhibited in temporary exhibitions.

Jewelry and Decorative Art Collections

The Jewelry and Decorative Art Collections feature western jewelry from the 4th millennium BC to the early 20th century AD. A highlight of the collection is jewelry from the Pontic steppes, Caucasus, and Asia, in particular, Scythian and Sarmatian gold.

Italian Renaissance Collection

The Italian Renaissance Collection features artists such as Titian, Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci. In the eastern wing of the New Hermitage are paintings, sculptures, majolica, and tapestry from Italy of the 15th–16th centuries.

Italian and Spanish Art Collection

The Italian and Spanish Art Collection features Italian and Spanish canvases of the 15th -18th centuries, including Veronese, Giambattista Pittoni, Tintoretto, Velázquez, Goya, Murillo, Michelangelo, and El Greco.

Arms and Armour Collection

The Arms and Armour Collection features Western European weapons and armor from the 15th-17th centuries and parts of the Hermitage Arsenal collection.

Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque Collection

Devoted to Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque painting of the 17th century, from artists that including Van Dyck, Rubens and Rembrandt, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Frans Snyders, Gerard ter Borch, Jan van Goyen, and Gerard van Honthorst.

Russian Art Collection

The Russian culture collection hosts Russian art from the 11th-19th centuries.

Impressionist, and post-Impressionist Art Collection

The Impressionist and post-Impressionist art Collection, including works by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Alfred Sisley, Henri Morel, and Degas.

19 – 20th-Century Art Collection

Modern art 19 – 20th-Century Art features Matisse, Picasso, Malevich, Petrocelli, Kandinsky, Giacomo Manzù, Giorgio Morandi, and Rockwell Kent. Caspar David Friedrich.

Oriental Art Collection

The Oriental Art Collection features collections of Oriental art from China, India, Mongolia, Tibet, Central Asia, Byzantium, and Near East.

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage in Facts and Figures

  • The Main Hermitage Museum Complex consists of the following:
    • the Winter Palace (1754–1762)
    • the Small Hermitage (1764 –1769)
    • the Great (Old) Hermitage (1771–1787)
    • the Hermitage Theatre (1783–1787)
    • the New Hermitage (1842–1851)
    • the Reserve House of the Winter Palace (1726–1742)
  • The State Hermitage Museum inventory has over 3 million items, in the following categories:
    • Numismatic Collection – over 1 million items
    • Archaeological Artifacts – nearly 800 thousand items
    • Graphical works – over 600 thousand works
    • Applied Art – over 300 thousand works
    • Photos – almost 60 thousand items
    • Paintings – over 17 thousand
    • Arms and Armoury – approximately 14 thousand items
    • Sculptures – over 12 thousand
    • Documents – nearly three thousand
    • Historical Technology – over 2 thousand items
    • Rare books – over 340
    • Printed materials – over 270
    • Other Historical Items over 140 thousand.
  • The Hermitage Museum is the most extensive art gallery in Russia and is among the largest art museums in the world. It has over 1 thousand rooms, and a walk of over 20 kilometers would be required to see all parts of the Hermitage.
  • The Hermitage maintains about 50 cats to protect the items from rats and mice.
  • The Winter Palace was once the official residence of the Romanov Tsars.
  • The museum was found in 1764 when Catherine the Great bought a collection of 255 paintings from Berlin. This original collection can still be seen at the Hermitage.

Visiting the Hermitage Museum

The core of the collection is located in five connected buildings of a Hermitage architecture complex. For most visitors, the five buildings are a subtle distinction, and most people refer to the whole complex as the Winter Palace. The address of the main entrance is Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square. Entry to the museum is through the gate across the Great Courtyard. The oCourtyardlegal) address of the museum is 34, Dvortsovaya (Palace) embankment.

Tips for your Hermitage Visit

  • Purchase your ticket online in advance because the ticket lines can be quite long.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that will not damage parquet made of primary timber.
  • Don’t touch the exhibits.
  • Large bags and backpacks need to be left in the cloakroom.
  • No drinking and eating inside the halls and galleries.
  • All the bags are X-rayed.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • The nearest metro station to the museum is Admiralteyskaya. Also, the stations Nevsky prospect and Gostinny dvor are the next best alternatives.
  • The café is located on the ground floor, with Internet access via Wi-Fi.
  • Collect your Museums Map with your entrance ticket.
  • Don’s try and see everything in one day. Focus on the highlights.
  • Take a Moment to Recharge with a break for coffee, tea, and to eat; you’ll be able to enjoy your experience longer.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30-18.00; Wednesday, Friday: 10.30-21.00; Closed: Mondays, as well as January 1 and May 9
  • The museum is closed on Mondays. Check the Museum website for the latest information on holiday closures and opening timings.

Essential Highlights of the Hermitage Museum

  • The Gala Staircase
  • The da Vinci Madonnas
  • Works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian
  • The Raphael Loggias
  • The Rembrandt Collection
  • The Pavilion Hall
  • The Italian Fine art
  • Malachite Room
  • Peacock Clock
  • Armorial Hall

Explore Great Russian Museums

Museums in Russia

~~~

“There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

~~~


Photo Credit: By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) (Own work) [FAL or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements