On 20 November 2018 Friends attended a reception and book launch at the Russian ambassador's residence, London
Hosted by His Excellency Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of the Russian Federation. As usual, the occasion served also to launch an important book about the Hermitage, in this instance a new edition of Geraldine Norman's groundbreaking The Hermitage: Biography of a Great Museum, first issued in 1997 but now updated to cover recent history. This publication covers the 250 years of history of one of the world's greatest museums, with particular attention paid to the curators and staff who did so much to preserve its treasures during the terrible tribulations of the twentieth century.
Then up early the following morning for a private tour of the exhibition Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits at the National Gallery.
A fine painting by Lorenzo Lotto was loaned from the Hermitage Museum to this exhibition at the National Gallery. This private view was led by Matthias Wivel, curator of the show, the first ever exhibition of portraits by Lotto, one of the fine artists of the Italian Renaissance. Bringing together many of Lotto's best portraits from collections around the world, the exhibition spans the artist's entire career. Lotto depicted a wide variety of middle-class sitters, including clerics, merchants, artists and humanists. In the words of Matthias Wivel, 'Lott's empathetic approach to his sitters, his attention to detail and his willingness to explore new formats and ways of composing portraits all contribute to a body of work that is astonishingly varied and feels more direct, less filtered, than those of his contemporaries, notably Titian's more elevated, idealised portraiture.'
Film: THE WINTER PALACE AND THE HERMITAGE IN 1917: HISTORY WAS MADE HERE
Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London C1A 2TA
Wednesday 28 November 2018: 7 pm
I AM ASHURBANIPAL, KING OF THE WORLD, KING OF ASSYRIA
The British Museum, London
Thursday 29 November 2018: 9.00 am
Private Tour with Curator, Gareth Brereton, and Mariam Dandamaeva
Gareth Brereton, exhibition curator, and Mariam Dandamaeva, curator from The Hermitage Museum, talked to us about this amazing exhibition at The British Museum. Discover the world of ancient Assyria through the life and legacy of its last great ruler, King Ashurbanipal. We were transported back to ancient Iraq in the 7th century BC, when Ashurbanipal became the most powerful person on earth. From his capital of Nineveh, he ruled a vast and diverse empire, shaping the lives of peoples from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran. Ashurbanipal, proud of his scholarship, assembled the greatest library in existence during his reign. Guided by this knowledge, he defined the course of the empire and boldly asserted his claim to be 'king of the world, king of Assyria'.
Massive stone sculptures, intricately carved reliefs, painted glazed bricks and rare wall paintings evoke the splendour of the cities and palaces. Delicately carved ivories, extravagant metalwork, cosmetic vessels and gold ornaments show how the elites lived. Ornate chariot fittings and elaborate weaponry reveal how this was an age of conflict, as rival kings fought for power and glory. Ashurbanipal's prowess as a valiant warrior is recorded on a series of vividly carved reliefs in the British Museum's collection that depict the royal lion hunt. Lion hunts were drama-filled public spectacles staged within the hunting grounds at Nineveh. This is the first ever major exhibition to explore his life in such depth. The British Museum's collection of Assyrian treasures is complemented by key loans from across the globe - including works from St Petersburg, Yerevan, Paris, Berlin, Vatican City, and Nicosia. Many of these remarkable objects have never travelled to the UK before.
RUSSIA : ROYALTY AND THE ROMANOVS
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London
Friday 30 November 2018: 8.30 am
Private Tour with Curator, Caroline de Guitaut
Exploring the relationship between the two countries and their royal families through works of art in the Royal Collection.
Through war, alliance and dynastic marriage the relationships between Britain and Russia and their royal families are explored from Peter the Great's visit to London in 1698 through to Nicholas II. Portraits, sculpture, photographs, archival documents and miniature masterpieces by Fabergé illustrate historic events and family meetings between the rulers of the two nations.
Many of the rich and varied works of art to be displayed are unique – some commissioned as grand diplomatic gifts, others as intimate personal mementos between the royal family and the Romanovs, and they bring to life the shared patronage of artists and craftsmen from both countries.