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December - National Gallery loans painting to groundbreaking Piero della Francesca exhibition

November - We had a packed programme of Friends' Events! 

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

Professor Piotrovsky responds to US withdrawal from UNESCO

The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917

Hermitage Foundation UK supports publication of important catalogues of Greek vases

Hermitage Foundation UK buys superb watercolour for the Hermitage collection

Hampton Court Albums of Catherine the Great

 

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.
 

PROFESSOR PIOTROVSKY RESPONDS TO US WITHDRAWAL FROM UNESCO

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

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.

 

TWO NEW CATALOGUES OF GREEK VASES PUBLISHED WITH SUPPORT OF THE HERMITAGE FOUNDATION

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

HERMITAGE FOUNDATION PRESENTS SUPERB WATERCOLOUR TO MUSEUM

One of the reasons we know so much about the appearance of the imperial palaces in and near St Petersburg in the nineteenth century - and of the rooms inside the Hermitage - is that Nicholas I commissioned numerous watercolours from artists Luigi Premazzi, Eduard Hau and Konstantin Ukhtomsky. Between 1850 and the mid-1860s they produced a fine body of exquisite and historically vital interior and exterior views, many of which are in the Department of Western European Fine Art.

In 2016 the Hermitage Foundation UK purchased a drawing from this series for the Hermitage Museum. The work of Premazzi, it shows the Sergievka estate of Nicholas I's favourite daughter, Grand Duchess Nikolaevna, built in 1839 for her and her husband Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, by the architect Andrey Stackenschneier. The estate was a gift from Nicholas, who also presented his daughter with the Mariinsky Palace in St Petersburg.

Luigi Premazzi (1814, Milan – 1891, Constantinople): View of Sergievka Palace: West Façade. 1850
Watercolour on paper, white body colour; 245x357 mm. Signed bottom left: Luigi Premazzi 1850

Luigi Premazzi was an Italian painter, mainly of watercolor vedute. From 1850 he worked on commission from Emperor Nicholas I and other members of the imperial family. In 1851 he was awarded the title of ‘appointed academician’ at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, in 1854 Academician of Fine Arts; in 1861 appointed Professor of Perspective and Watercolour Painting.

The Hermitage Foundation UK and its Friends are proud to have been able to make this important contribution to the Museum's important collection of architectural drawings and interior views.

HAMPTON COURT ALBUMS OF CATHERINE THE GREAT

Superb publication of the Hampton Court Albums of Catherine the Great!

In 2016 everyone seemed to be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, the great landscape gardener. The Hermitage Foundation UK joined in by supporting publication of this album of drawings. So famous were British landscaped parks in the eighteenth century that even Empress Catherine the Great dreamed of having an English Garden in St Petersburg. She purchased two albums of watercolours of Hampton Court Palace gardens and its surrounding parks which she used as inspiration while designing her 'English Garden' at Peterhof.

Some of the sheets were on display at Hampton Court 28th April - 4th September 2016 but although that exhibition has closed you can still purchase a copy of the publication at the special price of just £25.

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BRITISH MUSEUM LENDS PARTHENON MARBLE FOR HERMITAGE ANNIVERSARY

 

One of the best kept secrets in the run-up to the launch of the Hermitage's celebrations of its 250th anniversary in December 2014 was the British Museum's loan of the marble statue of the river-god Ilissos from the west pediment of the Parthenon. When it was unveiled in St Petersburg it caused a furore, with visitors to the Hermitage keenly aware of the significance of the event.

This symbol of British-Russian museum friendship remained on display until 18 January and is now back in its home in London. But a short film about the loan has been made by Foxtrot Films - who made Hermitage Revealed, the one-hour documentary that showed across British cinemas in 2014 (and on the BBC in January 2015). It can be seen at:

Link to Foxtrot Films Ilissos

Read the blog on the loan by Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, at:

Link to British Museum website