2018 April: Gala Dinner


Wednesday 25 April 2018 at 7.15 pm

The Raphael Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This year’s Hermitage Foundation Gala Banquet took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It opened with a Champagne reception in The Dome, under Dale Chihuly’s extraordinary central glass sculpture, followed by dinner in The Raphael Gallery surrounded by seven of the large tapestry cartoons painted by Raphael, commissioned in 1515 by Pope Leo X.

The tapestries were to hang on the walls of the Sistine Chapel, below the ceiling by Raphael’s contemporary and rival Michelangelo. They are still hung on special occasions today. Acquired by Charles I, the cartoons  are on loan to the museum from Her Majesty the Queen.

Hosted by Prof. Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, and James Dawnay, Chairman of The Hermitage Foundation, the Gala concentrated on the contemporary. Anish Kapoor was mong the guests of honour and young Russian artists entertained diners  with their performance works. The lavish banquet was followed by an auction of donated works of art, including works by Anselm Kiefer, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Robert Wilson, Steven McCurry and the Russian performance artists.

All proceeds from the evening go to The Hermitage 20/21 Project, which spearheads the museum’s attention to contemporary art while also seeking to build a representative holding of twentieth-century Western art, neglected during the Soviet period. Proceeds from previous Galas have supported important exhibitions at the Hermitage, including Antony Gormley, the Chapman Brothers, Henry Moore, Zaha Hadid, Tony Cragg and Francis Bacon.