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The Hermitage celebrated the new year - and the 150th anniversary of the artist's birth - with a stunning display of Henri Matisse's Jazz, the artist's book based on a mixture of decoupages (cut-outs) and lithographed text. It is the latest in the series of exhibitions of artists' book (livres d'artiste) organised by a team in the Prints Department.  This unique opportunity to see the pages of the book literally papering the walls of a room in the General Staff Building sets a high bar for exhibitions at the Hermitage this year.

You have until 1 March to catch this superb show



2019 May: Loan to the National Gallery

For one month only, in May–June 2019, the Hermitage loaned its newly conserved painting by an artist of the school of Leonardo, Flora by Francesco Melzi, to the National Gallery (for more see here). The Hermitage's conservator, Maria Shulepova, made a magnificent job of bringing out the original blue and uncovering the finely-painted vegetation that had been hidden under dirt and overpainting. 


Hermitage galas 2019

We had a grand time at the London gala on 22 May!

The flowers alone were enough to lift the spirits but with the presence of museum directors (Gabriele Finaldi of the National Gallery, Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky of the Hermitage), politicians (Sir Michael Heseltine), actors (Ralph Fiennes) and artists (Marc Quinn) things were bound to go with a swing. 




And of course, the Trustees of the Hermitage Foundation UK (Adrian Sassoon, above left with Michael Heseltine; Katia Sirakanian, bottom left), and the Chief Executive (Janice Sacher, bottom centre) and Director (Geraldine Norman, bottom right). 





Piero della Francesca at the Hermitage

National Gallery loans painting to groundbreaking Piero della Francesca exhibition

Some of the most famous works by Piero della Francesca are frescoes so arranging an exhibition devoted entirely to him is something of a feat. But the Hermitage has done it, thanks to the kind of cultural collaboration that is so important at a time of heightened political tensions. With more than half of Piero's movable works assembled in St Petersburg, this is one to give you good reason for a winter trip to Russia's northern capital. And don't just take our word for it: both The Art Newspaper and Apollo agree. The National Gallery in London has loaned its St Michael, one of four wings from the altarpiece of St Augustine from the monastery of the same name in Piero's birthplace, Borgo San Sepolcro (now just plain Sansepolcro).

6 December 2018 to 11 March 2019.

Piero della Francesca, St Michael. The National Gallery, London

November Events - a packed programme!

On 20 November 2018 there was  a book launch for the new edition of The Hermitage: Biography of a Great Museum, at the annual reception at the Russian ambassador's residence in London. Then the following morning it was up early for a curator-led tour of the exhibition Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits at the National Gallery. The following week it was a showing of the film The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917 then two early-bird private views in quick succession: I am Ashurbanipal at the British Museum and Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs at the Queen's Gallery. Only the hardiest have been able to keep up with us this autumn, as events follow one after the other in rapid succession. Thanks to everyone who came and to those who make it all possible, our friends and colleagues in galleries and museums.


Lorenzo Lotto: Portrait of a Man and his Wife


Geraldine Norman's biography of the Hermitage was first published in 1997 but has since been updated (click here for more information). It was while researching the book that Geraldine first fell in love with the Hermitage. Members of the Hermitage UK Friends, sponsors and supporters will all know of Geraldine's commitment to spreading the word about the Hermitage's achievements and promoting and supporting its great projects. The release of the new edition of her book follows hard on the launch of the Russian translation of Geraldine's 2017 book on Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky and his family's involvement with the Hermitage Museum, Dynastic Rule: Mikhail Piotrovsky and the Hermitage.

The Russian translation of Dynastic Rule was presented in Moscow at the House of Books on the Arbat in May 2018 and then in St Petersburg at Bukvoed on Nevsky Prospekt. 

Fundraising, Fun and Frolics at the 2018 Hermitage Foundation UK Gala Dinner

On 26 April 2018 Trustees of the Hermitage Foundation UK moved on from their meeting – at which they discussed ongoing and new projects, and the appointment of a new Executive Director – to the annual Gala Dinner. This year the dinner was held in the Raphael Gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum and as usual funds raised go towards the Hermitage 20/21 project.

In his speech, the Hermitage's Director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, asserted the importance of cultural links in difficult political times.

Three Directors: Gabriele Finaldi, Tristram Hunt, Mikhail Piotrovsky

Guests of honour were Anish Kapoor and Emilia Kabakova; those attending included Tristram Hunt (director of the Victoria and Albert Museum), Gabriele Finaldi (director of the National Gallery) Desmond Shawe-Taylor (Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures), David, Marquess of Cholmondeley, Inna Bazhenova (owner  of The Art Newspaper), Moscow collector Stella Kesaeva, entrepreneurs David Iakobashvili and Mikhail Friedman, Russian-British physicist Sir Konstantin Novoselov and performance artist Taus Makhacheva.


Professor Piotrovsky approves as Geraldine Norman (outgoing Executive Director of the Hermitage Foundation UK), Anish Kapoor and his wife Sophie Walker, Hermitage Foundation Trustee Brian Allen, Chief Executive Janice Sacher and Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures Desmond Shawe-Taylor enjoy the proceedings.

Mark Poltimore auctioned works donated by leading contemporary artists, not least Anselm Kiefer and Ilya Kabakov, and this year for the first time the evening included some Russian artists who are well-known in their native land but still on the eve of fame abroad.


in an interview with reporters in St Petersburg on Tuesday 17 October 2017, Professor Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum and Head of the Union of Museums of Russia, described the US’s withdrawal from UNESCO as 'sad'. He emphasised, however, that the action will not affect the organisation’s activities:

'I believe any country’s withdrawal from UNESCO is a sad fact, because this is the place where people who have different points of view can talk to each other. In the United Nations, for example, it is difficult for enemies to talk to each other, while there [in UNESCO] that’s possible.'



THE WINTER PALACE AND THE HERMITAGE IN 1917. History happened here

Exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum, 25 October 2017 – 14 January 2018

This a commemorative exhibition takes place in the very buildings where the Revolution unfolded. It represents the most comprehensive exhibition on the subject ever held, incorporating photographs, correspondence, relics and works of art from the museum collections, together with important loans from the State Archive in Moscow.

Focusing on the two institutions, the official residence of the Russian Tsars and the Imperial Hermitage museum, during 1917, the exhibition follows the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, two revolutions, the establishment of a provisional government, and the succession of the Bolsheviks. These events marked the beginning of a transformation of the buildings which resulted in the expansion of the Hermitage through the whole complex.


Packing up art treasures for evacuation 1917 / Protestors on Palace Square before the Winter Palace

Offering new insights into the life and abdication of the Tsar, the role and influence of individuals from soldiers and peasants to the nobility, the intentions of the Provisional Government, and above all, the unanimous appreciation throughout for the treasures held within The Hermitage, the exhibition offers an opportunity to reexamine the circumstances and events of the revolution.

Key exhibits: Nicholas II’s abdication letter, the personal diaries of the Tsar and Tsarina, revolutionary banners, equipment made by Fabergé for hospitals and the army, the imperial children’s cuddly toys, photographs of the chaos in the Winter Palace after the Bolshevik takeover and photo albums kept by the children.



Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum

In 1919 a project was established to catalogue all known Greek vases and related wares in museums and private collections across the world. The first volume in 1922 presented part of the collection in the Louvre. The Hermitage Museum joined the project in 2004 and Professor Piotrovsky is head of the Russian committee of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (http://www.cvaonline.org/cva/). In 2016 the Hermitage Foundation UK funded the translation of two volumes of the vases in the Hermitage, which appeared in spring 2017, bringing the total to twelve, with more in the pipeline.

The two volumes supported by the Hermitage Foundation UK were of Corinthian vases by Dr Anastasia Bukina – past recipient of a Visiting Curators grant – and Attic red-figure drinking cups by Dr Anna Petrakova – who will be making a research visit to the UK in November 2017 under the scheme. The translations were carried out by a specialist art historian, Dr Catherine Phillips.


One of the volumes sponsored by the Hermitage Foundation UK and Drs Bukina and Petrakova with their book on the history of the Hermitage’s vase collection, published in Oxford in 2013