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Art available from Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

 

Henri Matisse - Danse Rembrandt - Return of the Prodigal Son Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Seated Clown
Danse
Henri Matisse
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Return of the Prodigal Son
Rembrandt
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Seated Clown
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
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Henri Matisse - Red Room 1908 Caravaggio - The Lute-Player, 1594-96 (detail) Henri Matisse - Still Life with Tablecloth
Red Room 1908
Henri Matisse
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The Lute-Player, 1594-96 (detail)
Caravaggio
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Still Life with Tablecloth
Henri Matisse
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Henri Manquin - Pass At Saint Tropez Henri Matisse - Portrait of Mme. Matisse
Pass At Saint Tropez
Henri Manquin
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Portrait of Mme. Matisse
Henri Matisse
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The Days of the Hemitage Museum - 2012

A Sentimental Journey. Wedgwood in Russia

On December, 07, 2012 In the Blue Bedroom of the Winter Palace an Exhibition A Sentimental Journey. Wedgwood In Russia was opened, which was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Exhibition of Wedgwood Ceramics In the Imperial Academy of Arts, one of Its supervisers was the first Director of the State Hermitage Museum - Sergey Nikolaevich Troynitsky (1882-1948).

Besides the exhibits which were shown to the public In 1912, the Hermitage 2012-2013 demonstrates the unknown and previously not demonstrated exhibits from the Museum’s storerooms. The Exposition features 97 masterpieces of the world famous company which give a possibility not only to assess the high artistic level of the Hermitage collection but also give an Idea of the main aspects of the educational mission of Josiah Wedgwood.

The life of Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) Is a bright portrait of the Enlightenment epoch and the Industrial revolution In Britain. The great Josiah Wedgwood was the youngest and the thirteenth child of the owner of a small pottery workshop. Having strated the Independent business when aged 29, at 36 Josiah already became the “Potter of Her Majesty", at 39 - established the famous factory "Etruria" where the decorative vessels resembling the antique vases were produced. The romantic manifestation was the hand-made production by the master of "The Vases of "Etruria" First Days" during the ceremony of the factory opening. The front of the vessels was decorated with the Images simulating the red-figure Greek vase painting. The contemporaries regarded Wedgwood products as an example of high artistic taste, a visible embodiment of the antique harmony.

Wedgwood showed Interest to the technological research since his youth . In the Initial period of his business he Improved the composition of the green glazes used at that time, thus giving the shining emerald coloring (this technique was used to decorate the jar as a pineapple In the early 1760s). Wedgwood Is also credited for the Improvment of the recipes of traditional English "cream-colored" faience (items from "The Service with the Farming Emblems"). The new ceramic composition was called the Faience of the Queen and was notable for Its light coloring and greater flexibility. The Wedgwood Inventions Include - the recipe of the famous black basalt masses reminiscent both of the ancient bronze and of Greek black varnished vessels, and, of course jasperated masses particularly popular with the contemporaries. The latter enabled to easily reproduce the antique cameos with the white relief on a coloured background and produce elegant plaques for the decoration of the neoclassic Interiors (for example, "A Dancing Nymph" or "Sacrifice to Flora").

The 18th century - a century of fictional journeys on which the Intellectuals set without leaving their desks. The other thing are people of practice. The construction of a new factory was also approached by Wedgwood as a fascinating journey Into the distant past and there Is no doubting In the sentimentality of Wedgwood - potter, entrepreneur and "traveler". Josiah Wedgwood had positioned himself as a creator of the new cultural utopia, oriented at the myths of antiquity, but developed In the modern practical sense. The company products were manufactured based on the samples of the best antiques, while one Item combined antique plastic and graphic motives and realities of different epochs.

Not coincidentally the Russian fascination with the English culture Is traditionally associated with the Interest to the Wedgwood works. The Wedgwood pottery hepled the Russian to feel themselves as the residents of Britain, Id est to make "a sentimental journey" to Its shores.

Since the time of Catherine II the comforable and civilized life out In the country was associated In Russia with the British cultural tradition. It was by the Empress order that Wedgwood created his famous "Green Frog Service" In 1773-1774: 944 Items decorated with 1222 non repeating views of Britain. The ensemble was Intended for roadside palace In Kekerekeksinen (Finnish "frog swamp"). Some of the service Items, held at the beginning of the 20th century In the English Palace In Peterhof, was exhibited at the jubilee exhibition of Wedgwood pottery In London In 1909. These 34 Items - travellers present the world famous ceramic ensemble at a real exhibition. "Green Frog Service" Initially Intended for review and not utilitarian use, has shown to the Russians not only the British landscapes, but also the British cultural values, and at the exhibition of 1909 was regarded as the symbol of Russian Involvement In the European cultural tradition.

The exhibits of the Hermitage exposition allow to express a pronounced Interest of the Russian culture bohth to the phenomenon of English taste and to the Idea of English comfort (e.g. supplies purchased for the Tsarskoselskaya Palace farm). These works hepled to Identify the contribution of the Wedgwood company Into the history of the ancient heritage Interpretation. The fictional travel of the Russians to Britain and the Wedgwood "sentimental journey" to the antique world are two equal plotlines of exposition.

For the exhibition the scientific Illustrated catalogue (the Hermitage Publishing House) was Issued with the article of Introduction and catalogue annotation of the exhibition curator - Lidia Vladimirovna Lyakhova, senior researcher of the Department of Western European Applied Art.

"Wonderful Collection of Book Treasures"

250 years to the Hermitage Library

On December 07, 2012, at the Day of St. Catherine, in The Twelve-Column Hall of the New Hermitage an exhibition dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the Library of the State Hermitage Museum was opened. The jubilee exhibition features 234 book monuments which were received to the Library fund during two and a half centuries.

Some collections started to form as long ago as in Catherine II days. Among them there are albums with engravings, geographic maps and atlases, descriptions of travels, geographical research and discoveries. One of the example of fortunate book acquisitions of the Empress is Memories by L. Skrafton from the Voltaire library with his autograph, architectural treatises of famous architects (Marcus Vitruvius, Andrea Palladio).

Concurrently with the establishment of Mu"nzkabinett, the 225th anniversary of which was celebrated in November this year, in the Imperial Hermitage the beginning was set to the numismatic book collection, which also concentrated the literature on heraldry, the genealogy, and the medallic art. The numismatic part of the Library today includes the catalogues of the largest Mu"nzkabinetts of Europe of the 18th-20th century, full corpuses of coins of Greece, Rome, Britain, Italy - in total about 40 000 volumes.

Passion of Catherine II for the Russian history led to the appearance in the Library of Slavic manuscripts and theirs lists: annals, chronicles, lives. The acquisition of the manuscripts in Cyrillic and Latin, the medieval illuminated manuscripts continued throughout the entire history of the Imperial Library. This section of the exhibition is opened by a remarkable pergamic manuscript of the 11th century in Latin language: Marcus Tullius Cicero Treatise On the Friendship with impeccable grace of handwriting and text composition.

In 1792 together with the library of Peter III the books on military history, history of weapons, knights’ tournaments, wars and battles were receieved to the collection of Catherine II. The military topic has always been one of the main sections of the imperial collections. The worthy monument in the book collection is the multi-volume work of the military historian A.V.Viskovatov Historic Description of the Clothes and Weapons of the Russian Troops (1841-1862). This unique encyclopedia on the history of the military suit includes more than four thousand coloured lithographs.

In the 1850 ’s, one of the halls on the first floor of the New Hermitage, where the Book Museum was located, was allocated for the "Geography, Plans and Maps" section, the formation of which started in the second half of the 18th century: maps and atlases, descriptions of travels and geographic discoveries were essential for the collection of emperors and the grand dukes. Now the Library includes four thousand cartographic publications, the exhibition features one of the collection’s rarities - Mirror of Earth, or New Atlas by V.Blau (1643).

An important place in the imperial collection was taken by the Western European collections of symbols and emblems, collecting of which started in the days of Catherine and continues till present day.

From the 1920’s after the establishment of the Scientific Library of the Hermitage Museum, nationalized book libraries started transferring the books to its foundations, including manuscripts and publications in covers, albums with a engravings and watercolors. Works of bindery art equally as the rare items of the Hermitage collection of the Russian and European autographs form the separate sections of the exhibition.

At that time the Library starts forming the unique collection of the imperial gift items - books gifted to the Russian emperors from the days of Catherine II to the days of Nicholas II. The items gifted to the persons in reign were remarkable by their gorgeous printing, ingenious binding and were supplemented with ilustrations, drawings or engravings. Each of them beared the handwritten or printed dedication and the autograph of the grantor.

A special place in the Hermitage book depository is taken by the European and the Russian editions of the Bible and books on biblical subjects. The liturgical books were part of the personal library of the imperial family and the collection of the Cathedral of the Winter Palace, the Hermitage curators turned to them for attribution of plots of artistic works.

Within the imperial libraries the important place was taken by the books on the history and geography of the Russian cities, monasteries, architectural ensembles, as well as publications depicting people, flora and fauna of our planet. At the exhibition one can see the ensemles both gone into oblition (the residence of count A.A. Arakcheeva-village Gruzino, building of Bolshoy Theater in St. Petersburg) and preserved till present days (St. Sergius Lavra), lavishly illustrated works of the Academy of Sciences concerning the study of the Volga region, Ural, Crimea, Siberia, Altai, the most interesting books with images of national costumes of the peoples of the world. This section borders with the collection of albums of drawings and woodcuts of Japanese artists of the 17th and beginning of the 20th century which give a glimpse of the nature and everyday life of this eastern country.

The Hermitage Library possesses a remarkable collection of fashion magazines of the 18th - 19th centuries and books on the history of fashion. The most popular of those were the French magazines, which in addition to many descriptions and illustrations included the samples of fabrics and laces, and emboidery patterns ("Le Magasin des Demoiselles").

The Hermitage Book Collection includes an interesting collection of the bibliophilic book and the artist’s book (livre d’artiste). The European bibliophilic book is featured at the exhibition with the French editions of the late 19th and early 20th century. Russian small edition of the masters of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century (B.D.Grigoriev, A.E.Kruchenykh, K.S.Malevich) - are the real masterpieces of the graphic and applied art.

A new and extremely important for the Library and Museum section - "Hermitagiana" - is the full collection of works about the museum, its buildings, collections, separate monuments, published in the 18th - 21st centuries. Particular attention should be paid to the monuments from the Foundation of Manuscript Catalogues of the Library. The catalogue of the first library collection of the Empress Catherine II, library directories of Nicholas II and Alexandra Fedorovna evidence of the establishment of the Herimtage Library in the 18th - beginning of 20th century.

For the jubilee exhibition a scientific illustrated catalogue was issued (St.Petersburg, Publishing House of the State Hermitage, 2012) with the review articles on the history of the collection and the history of the Hermitage Library building, which was opened by the intoductory word of the General Director of the State Hermitage Museum M.B.Piotrovsky. The Exhibition Curator - Olga Georgievna Zimina, Deputy Manager of the Scientific Library of the Museum.