Are you planning to visit Russia? If so, then how can you miss out on the State Hermitage Museum? This Museum will be an icing on the cake for you if you are crazy about art and culture.
People all around the world visit the Hermitage Museum especially those who are aesthetes. Of course, why won’t a person visit the Museum when it is ranked in eighth place among the most visited museum in the world in the year 2019.
Well, Hermitage Museum is sought after by the visitors in Saint Petersburg. This Museum is the world’s largest and prominent museum. No doubt that the Museum is worth seeing for all the first-time travelers in the city. Let us traverse some more interesting facts about this Museum and unfold its history.
Overview Of Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum is the world’s second-largest art Museum. The Museum has about 3 million collections and adding to your surprise it will take you 11 years to contemplate each collection on display for at least one minute.
I know you are blown away! Well, if you want to make the most out of your visit, you have to plan a guided tour to make certain that you catch the glimpse of all highlights of the never-ending collection.
The collections even include some of the largest paintings in the world. Art cognoscente will love to get themselves along with these collections.
The Hermitage Museum was found in 1764 when the Empress Catherine the Great, got hold of a majestic assemblage of paintings from the Berlin Merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The merchant aggregated the collections for Frederick II who turned up by denying the purchase of the collection.
And hence Johann had set the Russian crown up with the paintings. The painting collection had varieties of the art form from various painters like Rembrandt, Rubens, Jacob Joardens, Anthony van Dyck, Paolo Veronese, Frans Hals, Raphael, Titian, Jan Steen, Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick van Balen, Hendrik Goltzius, Holbein, and Gerrit van Honthrost.
Conceivably, the most prominent and esteemed artistry that was a part of her collection was Danae, which was painted by Rembrandt in 1636.
Apart from this, Hermitage Museum was a home and workplace for more than a thousand people including the Imperial family. Not only this, many events and functions were held in the museum-like masquerade for the magnanimity and grand receptions and ceremonies for official government and state.
In addition to this, the Hermitage Museum also conducted a lavish showcase for all kinds of Russian relics and exhibitions of royalty before the masterworks and art collections.
Hermitage Museum was a creation of Catherine that held all kinds of festivals and theatres.
This aided to consolidate the Hermitage Musem not only as a living place for the Imperial family but also served as in prominent symbol to the Imperial Russian state. However, today the Museum and the Palace are the same.
Hermitage Museum encloses numerous buildings on the Palace Embankment and its nearby area. The Heritage has many sections like Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage which is also called Large Hermitage, New Hermitage, Hermitage Theatre, and the Winter Palace.
In the past few years, the building has broadened to the General Staff Building on the Palace Square.
The Hermitage Museum includes a variety of collection that encompasses European paintings, sculptures, Egyptian antiques, Jewellery, decorative arts and so much more. The collection is outlined in 120 rooms which cover about first and the second floor of the four main buildings.
In the following section, you will be able to draw more insight into different collections that are displayed in the Museum.
1. Primeval Artforms
The Museum has antiques that date back from the Old Age Stone to Iron Age. In the western wing of the Winter Palace, there are collections of Caucasus.
These prehistoric artifacts were cut out from all over Russia and other areas of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. The most acclaimed art piece and culture are from the nomadic tribe called the Altai from Pazyryk and Bashadar sites.
The exhibition even includes a bunch of Urartu antiques from Armenia and parts of Western Armenia.
2. Ornamental Art
The Ornamental Art is displayed in the New Hermitage in four small rooms on the ground floor. The display incorporates classical antiques promoting western jewelry from the Uruk period to the early 20thh century.
This layout is being exhibited in the first treasure gallery. Coming to the second treasure gallery, this is placed in the south-west corner of the Winter Palace that features jewelry from Scythian and Sarmatian gold.
The third room is occupied with an 18th-century golden peacock clock by James Cox and various aggregations of mosaics.
This is displayed in Pavilion Hall which was styled by Andrei Stackenscheider in 1858. This hall is found on the first floor in the Small Hermitage.
The hall is embellished with 19th-century imitation of a classical Roman mosaic.
3. Italian And Spanish Art
The center of the New Heritage Museum has three huge interior arrays with red-colored walls illuminated from above by skylights.
It is festooned with 19th-century Russian engraver and features canvases of Spanish and Italy. These canvases date back to 16th to 18tth century and comprise Veronese, Murillo, Giambattista Pittoni, and Tintoretto.
The museum also has paintings by Luis, Francisco, Alonso Cano, and Goya
4. Russian Arts
The eastern, western, and northern sides of the Winter Palace are finely decorated and adorned with beautiful interiors on the first floor. These are the collections of Russian art and culture.
Russian art dates back to the 11th to 19th centuries. Nicholas Halls conducts numerous temporary exhibitions.
5.German Romantic And 20th Century Art
Modern art encompasses Matisse, Derain, and other art forms like Picasso, Petrocelli, Morandi, Rockwell Kent, Malevich, and Kandinsky. These artworks are displayed in the General Staff Building.
German Romantic art includes many paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. These are disposed of in a huge room which is specially designated for the German Romantic art.
The second floor shows the collections of Oriental art from India, China, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, Byzantium, and the Near East.
6. French, Swiss and British Arts
Hermitage Museum’s Winter Palace is preoccupied with French fine art that dates backs to the 15th to 18th century and embodies paintings and artworks by Poussin, Lorrain, Watteau.
The Southern Front of Winter Palace also has German work of the 16th century. The French ornamental and applied art, as well as the British, applied art that comes from nearly 17th to 18th century and 16tth to 19th century respectively, and are shown in the adjacent rooms facing the courtyard.
The collection even holds paintings from Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. In addition to this, paintings by renowned German artists like Hans Wertinger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Caspar David Friedrich, Hans Thoma, Franz Stuck, Barthel Bruyn the Elder, and Anselm Feuerbach are also displayed in the section.
Last, but not the least Swiss painters including Arnold Bocklin, Alexandre Calame, Ferdinand Hodler, and Angelica Kauffman adds the icing on the cake with their fine and aesthetic arts.
The word ‘Hermitage’ stands for an abode resided by anchorite or hermit. The word is stemmed from the Old French hermit permit that means hermit recluse. And hence, the name came out to be as Hermitage Museum.
1. Egyptian Antiquities
Hermitage Musem’s Winter Palace has an Egyptian collection from 1852 which also covers Castiglione Collection.
It is presented in a massive hall on the ground floor in the Eastern Part of the Winter Palace. This set outs as a passage to the display of Classical Antiquities.
Other than this, ostentatious collection of Ancient Mesopotamia culture including countless Assyrian reliefs from Babylon, Dur -Sharrukin, and Nimrud is presented in the same department itself.
2. Classical Antiquities
Classical relics are presented and displayed on the ground floor of the Old and New Hermitage premises. You won’t believe your eyes when you will have a look at the interiors of the ground floor. It was designed by a German Architect named Leo von Klenze in the Greek revival style.
In the early 1850s, he designed with the help of painted polished render, natural marble, and granite.
Moving to the first floor is the Hall of Twenty Columns which is one of the largest and remarkable interiors. This is divided by two rows into three parts by monolithic columns of Serdobol granite.
The first floor is made up of a contemporary marble mosaic depicting ancient tradition and on the other hand, the ceilings and stucco walls are immersed in paints.
The Western wing has a section called The Room of the Great Vase which displays a Kolyvan Vase that is 8.4 ft tall and weighs 42,000 lb.
It is composed of jasper in the year 1843 and positioned even before the walls were constructed. Although the western wing was designated for displays and exhibitions, the various rooms on the ground floor in the eastern wing of the New Hermitage were initially prearranged for the library.
In one of the library, which is in the south-eastern corner, the floor of the library is adorned with a bona fide 4th-century mosaic.
The classical antique collection comprises Greek artifacts, old age pottery, and various items from various Greek cities, Hellenistic sculpture and jewelry which encompasses engraved stones and cameos, Italic art, marble, and bronze Russian sculpture from the first century BC to fourth century AD.
The limelight of these collections is Tauride Venus. According to the latest analysis and research, this is an original Hellenistic Greek sculpture. Earlier it was perceived and thought of as a Roman copy.
However, there are limited artworks and pieces of original Classical Greek sculpture and sepulchral monuments.
Well, films like Russin Ark and War and Peace were filmed in the Hermitage Museum. Russian Ark which was out in the year 2002, was shot entirely in the Museum depicting the Winter Palace at many phases of its history. The filmmaker for Russian Ark was Alexander Nikolayevich Sokurov.
The film War And Peace are an Oscar-winning movie which is a Soviet adaptation of the novel by Leo Stoy was partly shot in this film.
2. Video Games
Video games also feature the Hermitage Museum. Some of them are Civilization IV, Civilization V, and Civilization VI as a wonder of the world.
It also appears in the video game Command and conquers Red Alert 3.
A novel named, To the Hermitage penned down by Malcolm Bradbury, cites Diderot’s journey to Russia to meet Catherine the Great in her Hermitage.
A 1913 novel named Petersburg by Andrey Bely attributes the Winter Canal near the palace but never mention the name directly.
Ghostwritten is a story that revolves around a woman who works for an art forge ring but impersonates to be a teacher in a gallery room on the upper floor of the Large Hermitage. The author of the novel was David Mitchell.
A book from Sancar Seckiner of 2017 named Thilda’s House embraces a chapter calling attention to the writer’s experience at the Hermitage Museum by specifying numerous art pieces and works of the 15tth-19th centuries.
The Hermitage Museum was also featured during World War II in a novel named The Madonnas of Leningrad written by Debra Dean.
4. Television And Entertainment
Hermitage Museum’s collection has been shown and presented in Russia-K which is a Russian national television channel. There are successions of programs broadcasted successfully. All of these programs were entitled ‘My Hermitage’.
Another program that was aired was ‘The Treasures of Saint Petersburg’. It was broadcasted on Saint Petersburg regional television. The program gave a vision to its viewers as to what is being exhibited in the Museum.
Hermitage Revealed (2014) by Margy Kinmonth is a British Broadcasting Corporation documentary. The documentary tells about the journey from the royal palace to the state museum.
It dwelled into the extraordinary tales of perseverance, sanctity, depicting how the collection was brought, how the art pieces and other collections revived in the hysterical times, and what makes the Hermitage Museum stand out today.