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The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg
May 31, 2019 16:58

The Hermitage is one of the greatest art and cultural-historical museums in the world. It will take more than 11 years to look for a single minute at each and every one of its exhibits.
The History of the Hermitage Museum
In 1754, architect Rastrelli began the construction of the Winter Palace, a new royal residence in Saint Petersburg. Under Empress Catherine II, the Small and Large Hermitage and the Hermitage Theater were erected. 1764 is considered to be the year of the Hermitage foundation. 

That was when the Russian Empress purchased an art collection gathered by merchant Johann Ernst Gotskovsky. It included paintings by Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, Jan Steen and other great masters of painting. 
As years were passing and the rulers changing, the Hermitage art fund was growing bigger and bigger. In 1814, it was got canvases from the collection of Empress Josephine. In 1826, the Military Gallery of 1812 was opened, with the portraits of generals painted on its walls by George Doe. In 1850, five Titian’s masterpieces including Danae were sent to the Hermitage Museum. By the end of the 19th century, the artworks by Giorgione, Nicolas Poussin, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Sandro Botticelli were already kept in the treasury of world art. In 1914, Madonna Benoit by Leonardo da Vinci’s was acquired.

The Hermitage Collection
Today, the Hermitage collection contains more than 3 million exhibits, including paintings, graphic artworks, sculptures, decorative arts and crafts, weapons, numismatics monuments, archaeological finds, books, photographs, documents and much more.
The Return of the Prodigal Son and Danae by Rembrandt, Madonna Litta and Madonna Benoit by Leonardo da Vinci, The Lady in Blue by Thomas Gainsborough, Judith by Giorgione, Breakfast by Diego Velasquez, Apostles Peter and Paul by El Greco, The Young Man with a Lute by Caravaggio, The Three Graces by Antonio Canova, and The Peacock watch are just some of the jewels in this grand collection.

The Hermitage Buildings
The main museum complex is made of six interconnected buildings, each of them splendid monuments of architecture. These are the Winter Palace, the Reserve House of the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Big (Old) Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theater. They have 365 halls open to the general public. In addition to that, the museum has the General Staff building, the Imperial Porcelain Factory Museum, the Menshikov Palace, and the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center at its disposal.

The General Staff of the Hermitage
This building is part of the Hermitage enormous palace complex. It completes the ensemble of ceremonial buildings and adds a lot to the general image of the Hermitage Museum and the Hermitage Square.

The construction of this building in the style of Russian classicism was launched in 1820 and lasted for ten years. Carla Rossi from Italy was appointed to be its architect. The two wings of the complex are connected with an arch, which is crowned with The Chariot of Glory sculpture. The Triumphal Arch is dedicated to the victory in the Patriotic War against Napoleon in 1812.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941 – 1945), the buildings of the General Staff were heavily damaged by shelling. However, there were completely restored by 1950. From 2010, large-scale restoration work was carried out inside the buildings. Their full completion was timed to the 250th anniversary of the Hermitage that was celebrated in December 2014.
Now the General Staff exhibits the art of the 20th century and holds temporary exhibitions.

Address: 2, the Hermitage Square, next to Admiralteyskaya and Gostiny Dvor metro stations, Saint Petersburg.

Open hours: from 10:30 am to 6 pm on
Tue, Thu, Sat, &Sun;
from 10:30 am to 9 pm on Wed & Fri
The official site of the Hermitage State Museum 
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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Hermitage Museum Saint Petersburg Museums    

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