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The State Hermitage Museum (Государственный Эрмитаж)

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the most important and highly visited museums in the world; this is a collection, counting more than 3 million pieces of art and culture. The State Hermitage is included in the list of especially valuable objects of the national heritage of the people of the Russian Federation and is under the protection of the President of the Russian Federation.

View of Winter Palace  in Saint Petersburg

The founder of the museum is considered Empress Catherine II, the first owner of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. During the reign of Catherine II the first collection of works of art had been purchased, the buildings of the Great and Small Hermitage, and the Hermitage Theatre had been built.

The first collection of paintings came in the imperial residence in 1764. The Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky repaid a debt to the Russian Treasury by a collection of 225 paintings. These paintings were selected by the merchant for sale to the Prussian King Frederick II, but after the Seven Years’ War defeat Prussia could not buy out the paintings. Over time, the collection of works of art was regularly increased.

For a long time, the access to the collection was limited to the public until 1852 when Emperor Nicholas I had founded Museum “Hermitage.” For Russia’s first public art museum, the new building called the New Hermitage has been specially built. The New Hermitage still carries its purpose; the interiors of the museum are preserved to our time almost unchanged.

After the Revolution of 1917, the Hermitage continued to work as a museum, but it was closed for visitors for some time. In 1919-1921 the museum was opening step by step for public again.

In the 1920s, the museum collection enlarged much. Private collections of former nobility were taken away in favor of a new state, and a large part of those collections went into the disposal of the Hermitage. Thus, Hermitage becomes one of the largest collections in the world.

In addition to collection replenishment, in 1920-1930, there was also a reverse process – the pieces of art were transferred to other museums of the new country. Besides, the government of Russia donated or put up for sale over 2,000 works, including 48 famous masterpieces to provide funding and establishing political leverages with other countries.

During the Second World War, part of the Hermitage collection was evacuated. More than a million exhibits were transported beyond the Urals and returned in complete safety in 1945.

Exhibits of the State Hermitage Museum are located in several buildings:

 The Winter Palace

A splendid palace on the bank of the Neva River, one of the main symbols of St. Petersburg.

The building dates back to 1754-1762.

The original purpose of the building was the ceremonial residence of the imperial family and the premises of the State Council. During the First World War – 1915-1917, a military hospital was placed in the Winter Palace. From 1917, The Winter Palace became a museum, until 1941 the historical and artistic collections were kept here, and the Museum of the October Revolution was organized.

Exhibits:

  • The great halls and apartments of the former imperial residence;
  • A collection of antiquities;
  • The paintings, sculptures, arts, and crafts of Europe and East.

 The Great (Old) Hermitage

The building dates back to 1771-1787.

The original purpose of the building: storage of palace collections and library.

Exhibits:

  • The art of Renaissance Italy;
  • Raphael Loggia – a copy of Gallery of the Papal Palace in the Vatican.

 The Small Hermitage

The building dates back to 1764-1775.

The original purpose of the building: restrooms, greenhouse, art gallery.

Exhibits:

  • The paintings, arts, and crafts of Western Europe

Street views of Saint Petersburg. The General Staff building

The building dates back to 1820-1830.

The original purpose of the building: the General Staff in the Western Wing, in the East Wing the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire were situated. Both parts of the building are united into a single architectural ensemble by an arch. Since 1988, the left (eastern) wing was transferred to the State Hermitage Museum.

Exhibits:

  • Art of the 19th -21st

 The building of Menshikov Palace

The building dates back to 1710-1727, one of the first buildings in St. Petersburg.

The original purpose of the building: The Palace of A.D. Menshikov, the First Governor-General of St. Petersburg. Afterward – the First Cadet Corps (educational institution).

Exhibits:

  • Interiors, works of fine arts and pieces of the first third of the 18th

 The New Hermitage

The building dates back to 1842-1851.

The original purpose of the building: the Museum of Art. The first building in Russia specially built for placing works of art.

Exhibits:

  • The ancient paintings, sculpture and decorative arts of Europe

 The Hermitage Theater

The building dates back to 1783-1787.

Inside the museum. interiorThe widest collection of the State Hermitage Museum includes works of fine art, sculpture, arts and crafts, archaeological pieces of evidence, military emblems, numismatic collections.

Among the exhibits of the Hermitage, there are such recognized masterpieces as:

  • “Madonna and Child with Flowers” (“Madonna Benois”). Leonardo da Vinci. The Great (Old) Hermitage, hall 214;
  • “Madonna and Child” (“Madonna Litta”). Leonardo da Vinci. The Great (Old) Hermitage, hall 214;
  • “Peacock Clock.” James Cox. The Small Hermitage, hall 204;
  • “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” Rembrandt van Rijn. The New Hermitage, hall 254;
  • “Lady in Blue.” Thomas Gainsborough. The Winter Palace, hall 298;
  • “Dance” and “Music.” Henri Matisse. The General Staff building, hall 440;
  • “Composition VI.” Wassily Kandinsky. The General Staff building, hall 444;
  • “St’s Peter and Paul.” El Greco. The New Hermitage, hall 240

and others.

Open hours and price

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – from 10.30 to 18

Wednesday, Friday – from 10.30 to 21

Day off – Monday, January 1st, May 9th

Ticket price

  • 700 RUB – entry ticket to the Main Museum Complex and the branches (the Main Museum Complex, the General Staff Building, Winter Palace of Peter the Great, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory).
  • 300 RUB – entry ticket to one of the Hermitage branches (Winter Palace of Peter the Great, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre).
  • Free entrance: preschool children, school children, students.
  • The first Thursday of each month is a day of free entrance to the museum for all individual visitors (with free tickets).

To avoid a long line at the ticket office, it is available online ticket order.

How to get to the State Hermitage Museum

1.The Great (Old) Hermitage, the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the New Hermitage:

2, Dvortsovaya square, Saint-Petersburg

In Russian – Санкт-Петербург, Дворцовая площадь, 2

Metro station:

  • “Admiralteyskaya” (“Адмиралтейская”), line 5 (violet) – 830 m walking;
  • “Nevsky Prospekt” (“Невский проспект”), line 2 (blue) – 1,1km walking;
  • “Gostiny Dvor” (“Гостиный двор”), line 3 (green) – 1,6km walking.

 2.The General Staff building

6/8, Dvortsovaya square, Saint-Petersburg

In Russian – Санкт-Петербург, Дворцовая площадь, 6/8

Metro station:

  • “Admiralteyskaya” (“Адмиралтейская”), line 5 (violet) – 330 m walking;
  • “Nevsky Prospekt” (“Невский проспект”), line 2 (blue) – 600 m walking;
  • “Gostiny Dvor” (“Гостиный двор”), line 3 (green) – 1km walking.

3.The building of Menshikov Palace

15, Univercitetskaya bank, Saint-Petersburg

In Russian – Санкт-Петербург, Университетская набережная, 6/8

Metro station:

  • “Vasileostrovskaya” (“Василеостровская”), line 3 (green) – 1,1km walking;
  • “Admiralteyskaya” (“Адмиралтейская”), line 5 (violet) – 1,1km walking.

Links

The State Hermitage Museum website in the Russian, and English languages

PHOTO depositphotos.com

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