The Hermitage is the largest and most significant place of culture and art in Russia. The Hermitage is located in St. Petersburg. The museum has a rich history, and its exposition is located in more than 350 halls. It occupies a huge area, consists of five buildings, one of them is the Winter Palace.
From the history of the creation of the Hermitage
The Hermitage has been over 250 years old. The museum begins its history with collections of works of art that were privately acquired by the Russian Empress Catherine II. In 1764, Catherine acquired in Berlin a collection of 225 works by Dutch and Flemish artists. At first, the paintings adorned the palace. In 1775, a separate building was built for the paintings. The collection of paintings by Catherine II was also originally located in the palace wing, which was called the Small Hermitage.
The Small Hermitage was created by the project of J.-B. Valen Delamot near the Winter Palace. However, the “corner” was not so small: it had enough space for the front rooms in which Catherine received guests, and for the separate wing where her favorites lived, and even for the hanging garden, because of which the new pavilion got its own The original name is Greenhouse. Thus began the story of one of the largest museums in the world - the Hermitage.
Back in 1764, his collection consisted of only 317 exhibits. Currently, the museum's five buildings contain about three million works of art, and the Hermitage itself is included in the top 20 museums in the world.
The name of the museum with French roots. The word “Hermitage” in translation from French means “place of solitude”, “hermit's shelter”, “cell”. In France, small pavilions at palaces were called hermitages. Servants were placed on the ground floor of such pavilions, and the hosts and guests were on the second floor. The servants at the bottom set the tables and, using a special device, sent food upstairs, like on an elevator. Thus, noble persons were left alone, the attendants did not interfere with their solitude. And they took such a name to the museum because initially all the paintings were in secluded places.
Initially, the Hermitage was considered the private property of Catherine II. Gradually, the collection became larger, but only a select few could see it. Access to the museum was closed to ordinary citizens. At that time, only those close to the courtyard could get into the museum, it was assumed that they would be able to stay in the Hermitage alone with art and their own thoughts.
In the 18th and first half of the 19th century, ordinary people could not get into the Hermitage: only the most noble persons close to the court were allowed into the museum. But even for the first persons of the country there were strict rules for visiting. The military had to come exclusively in ceremonial uniforms, and all the rest - in tailcoats. A well-known person dressed in a casual frock coat would not have been allowed into the Hermitage by the court office that issued tickets. A footman was assigned to each visitor, who told the nobleman about the paintings and made sure that he did not spoil them. Even Pushkin could not get into the museum. Only in 1832, his friend Vasily Zhukovsky, who served as a mentor to the son of Nicholas I, presented the poet with an indefinite pass.
In 1852, the museum’s collection expanded. The Imperial Hermitage was opened for new exhibits. And on February 17, 1852 the Hermitage opened its doors to visitors.
And the Hermitage opened for visitors to Nicholas I in 1852, and by 1880 the museum was visited annually by 50 thousand people. The emperor himself loved to walk around the museum all alone: at that moment it was forbidden to contact him on domestic issues.
The construction of the imperial museum was completed in 1850. Nicholas the First called it the New Hermitage. He opened a new page in the history of the museum and continued the policy of Catherine II, his great grandmother. She set up an art gallery in the Hermitage so that the world saw that Russia had the right to be called a European power, and the empress was an enlightened monarch. Magnificent collections were collected by Catherine the Second in the desert - on the mezzanines of the mezzanine of the Winter Palace and two galleries of the Small Hermitage, and then in the specially constructed building of the Great Hermitage.
The builders of the Hermitage were not valued, and were slaves. The construction of this large-scale building was attended by 4 thousand workers. These were masons and plasterers, marbles and sculptors, parquet and painters. They received mere pennies for their work. And they lived either here, or huddled in shacks built directly on the square.
After construction was completed, Palace Square was littered with construction waste. Peter III decided to get rid of garbage in an original way - he announced to the people that everyone can take whatever they want from the square, and at the same time completely free of charge. A few hours later there was no garbage in the square.
In the 18th century, rats began to spoil the walls of the Winter Palace. By decree of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, cats were brought from Kazan, which saved the museum from rodents. It is known that Catherine II did not like cats, but she left them and assigned them the status of “guards of art galleries”, dividing cats into yard and indoor ones. The Winter Palace was rebuilt in stone, but the cats did not go away - they were moved to a new building, where they still feel like full owners to this day. At present, the Hermitage cats continue to guard the museum. They are considered official employees of the Hermitage, have their own passports and can move around the entire territory of the museum, except for the halls.
From 1762 to 1904, the Winter Palace served as the residence of Russian emperors. In 1904, Nicholas II moved the residence to the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. From July to November 1917 the Provisional Government was located in the palace. On October 30 (November 12), 1917, the People's Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky declared the Winter Palace and the Hermitage museums.
In 1837, the palace experienced a fire, everything burned down, and the imperial family was left homeless. The situation was saved by 6000 workers who worked day and night. A year later, with a small palace was completely restored, and became even more beautiful!
On February 5, 1880, a terrorist attack took place in the Winter Palace: Stepan Khalturin staged an explosion. Alexander II, whom Khalturin attempted, was not injured. Eleven heroes of the Russian-Turkish war died: they served in the Winter Palace. The explosion injured 56 people. During the Great Patriotic War, 17 artillery shells and 2 bombs hit the Winter Palace. 12 bomb shelters were organized in the basements of the palace. People lived here, museum collections were moved here.
At present, the name of the museum "Small Hermitage" in no way corresponds to its purpose in the 18th century: the Hermitage consists of several buildings, and about 12 thousand people visit its halls daily. And for the year there are approximately three million people. It is the most popular museum not only in Russia, but also in the world. + The Hermitage was repainted in different colors all the time. It was red and pink and yellow. The pale green color in which the building is now painted was acquired by the Hermitage in 1946.
History of the replenishment of the Hermitage collection
1764 is considered the year the museum was founded, and this year 225 paintings by Flemish and Dutch masters were acquired from Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotskovsky.
In Brussels in 1768, collections of paintings by the Flemish and Dutch schools of Count Johann Karl Kobenzl and Prince de Lin were acquired.
In 1779, in England, the famous gallery of Lord Walpole was purchased for the Hermitage, which laid the foundation for the collection of Italian painting of the 17th century.
The Hermitage collection became one of the largest in Europe by the end of the reign of Catherine the Great, with her son Pavel the First and her grandson Alexander the First slowly acquiring the status of a palace museum.
Nikolai the First acquired modern and antique sculpture and other works of art.
In the 1830s, large purchases of paintings by Spanish artists were made.
In 1850, Venice purchased the collection of the Barbarigo gallery along with paintings by Titian. In the same year, paintings were acquired for the museum from the collection of King William of the Netherlands.
In 1850, there were 56 storage units in the Hermitage.
In 1852, canvases were purchased in Paris from the collection of Soult of Spanish and Italian schools.
An important event in the life of the Hermitage was the purchase in 1851-1858 of a remarkable collection of medals and coins by Reichel, the largest collector in St. Petersburg. Nearly five thousand Russian medals and coins and forty-three thousand Oriental, Western European and antique medals and coins have enriched the Hermitage collection.
The most significant collections received by the museum since its foundation:
- 1764 - collection of I.-E. Gotskovsky 1769 - collection of Count G. Bruhl.
- 1772 - collection of Baron P. Croz.
- 1779 - collection of Lord R. Walpole.
- 1781 - collection of Count F. Baudouin.
- 1787 - Cabinet of carved stones of the Duke of Orleans.
- 1814 - paintings from the Malmaison Palace of Josephine Beauharnais.
- 1861 - collection of the Marquis J.-P. Campans.
- 1884 - collection of A.P. Bazilevsky.
- 1885 - Tsarskoye Selo Arsenal.
- 1910 - collection of P.P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky.
- After 1918, the nationalized collections of the Sheremetevs, Stroganovs, Shuvalovs, Yusupovs and others entered the museum.
- 1935 - collection of the museum of the Central College of Technical Drawing (A. L. Stieglitz).
- 1948 - a collection of new European painting of the late 19th - early 20th century, mainly from the collections of S.I. Shchukin, I.A. Morozov.
- 1950 - collection of banners and banner accessories, banner graphics, archive from the Artillery Museum of History.
- 2001 - collection of the museum of the Lomonosov porcelain factory.
Hermitage Buildings in St. Petersburg
The State Hermitage Museum includes 7 buildings:
- Big (Old) Hermitage.
- The building of the General Staff.
- The building of the Menshikov Palace.
- Winter Palace.
- The Small Hermitage.
- New Hermitage.
- The Hermitage Theater.
It was built in 1787 by order of Empress Catherine II and was originally intended to house library copies and palace collections. To carry out the architectural construction, Yu.M. Felten was involved, who made the three-story building organic - it fits perfectly into the palace ensemble. In 1792, a building was added to the Great Hermitage, in which the Raphael Loggias were placed - an analogue of the gallery of the Papal Palace in the Vatican. At the moment, the Great Hermitage has a collection of Italian Renaissance art.
General Staff Building
It is an outstanding architectural monument of St. Petersburg, built according to the design of Rossi in the early 19th century. The building effectively completes the architectural ensemble of Palace Square, giving it a special status as the center of the northern capital. The wings of the two buildings (eastern and western) are smoothly curved, and they are united by a double arch, decorated with a sculptural composition "Chariot of Glory". Initially, the entire building was used for state needs, but in 1988 the eastern wing of the building was transferred to the State Hermitage. In the halls of this building there is an exhibition of the Russian era, expositions of art of the 19th-21st centuries.
The building of the Menshikov Palace
The palace, built in 1727, is a bright bearer of the Petrine baroque style. Western European architects - Fontana, Shedel, Rastrelli and others - took part in the design and construction of the palace. This architectural structure is an example of symmetry and simplicity, the facades are painted in two colors, and the building is decorated with pilasters of different orders. The interior of the Palace is made with elements of marble, decorative painting, as well as painted and embossed leather. In the hall of the Menshikov Palace there is an exposition called "Culture of Russia in the first third of the 18th century", conveying the atmosphere of the era.
Perhaps the most famous building in the palace ensemble of the State Hermitage Museum. The Winter Palace was erected by order of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1762. The famous architect Rastrelli worked on the project of the Palace, it was he who managed to give the building such an epic and fabulous look - many people associate St. Petersburg with the view of the facade of the Winter Palace to this day. The architectural monument is made in the Baroque style with an abundance of bizarre decorations and statues that complement the solemn look of the Palace.
In 1917, the status of the imperial residence was withdrawn from the building - the Winter Palace was declared a museum. It is in this part of the Hermitage that the largest volumes of expositions are located - here you can familiarize yourself with the ancient collections of Eurasia and the East, with collections of painting, sculpture and decorative art in these places. In addition, in this part of the State Hermitage you can admire the main halls and apartments.
The Small Hermitage
The two-story building near the residence of Catherine II, the Winter Palace, was erected by 1766 according to the project of architect Felten. The building combines the features of two styles: baroque and classicism. It is distinguished by particularly strict proportions and elegant facade decoration. Two buildings of the building are connected by the Hanging Garden.
In one of the parts of the pavilion, Empress Catherine II regularly held balls and various events, calling them “small hermitages” —that is why the building bears such a name. In the galleries of the Small Hermitage, exhibits of applied art and paintings of Western Europe are presented, as well as a peacock clock in one of the halls of the pavilion.
The first building in St. Petersburg, created specifically to house museum collections. For construction, the German architect Leo von Klenze was invited to the city, who made a tangible contribution to the external component of the New Hermitage. The case looks monumental and strict, and it is decorated with statues and bas-reliefs depicting famous artists from different eras. Currently, inside the New Hermitage are antique collections of paintings, sculptures and decorative art from Europe.
The construction of the Theater was completed in 1787 and was an example of Russian classicism of the late 18th century. The Hermitage theater looks quite epic - it is decorated with stones with lion masks, slender colonnades and statues of ancient Greek thinkers and poets. An amphitheater and a stage are equipped inside the building, the decoration is made with elements of artificial marble and columns.
By the way, the Hermitage Theater is still used for its intended purpose - it hosts numerous performances and exhibitions. Also, the building of the Hermitage Theater includes the Winter Palace of Peter I, you can also visit it and get acquainted with the history of that era.
Hermitage Halls in St. Petersburg
The State Hermitage Museum has more than 3 million exhibits in 365 rooms on an area of 233 square meters. The huge museum contains paintings, sculptural compositions and elements of decorative and applied art of different peoples and eras.
Each of the emperors, under whose auspices the museum was located during the reign, presented the Hermitage with a particle of that era. According to tourists, some rooms and exhibits of the State Hermitage Museum should be given special attention. For example, the Jordanian staircase, with which, in fact, begins a tour of the museum. It is also customary to call it Ambassadorial - it was through it that the most distinguished guests of the emperors arrived in the palace. The area around the stairs is trimmed with gold, and a carpet is laid over the stairs.
Also, the Gallery of Portraits of the Imperial Romanov Dynasty located in the Winter Palace (halls 151 and 153) is very popular among tourists. All portraits are made as detailed as possible, the imperial family is depicted on them in full growth. Walking around the hall with a guide, you can fill in the gaps in knowledge about the Russian Empire.
Tourists should pay attention to the Raphael Loggias, located in the building of the Great Hermitage. This is a magnificent gallery with large windows and amazing walls and ceilings, covered with copies of Raphael's frescoes, which took more than 10 years to create. On the frescoes of the Loggias, 52 subjects from the Old and New Testaments are represented.
In addition, it is worth paying attention to two of the fourteen preserved paintings by Leonardo da Vinci - “Madonna Benoit” and “Madonna Litta”, also located in the main museum building, in the Great Hermitage on the second floor (room 214).
It is known that a visitor can take at least 8 years to visit each hall of the State Hermitage Museum and get acquainted with each exhibit. That is why it is worth familiarizing yourself with the location of the necessary rooms and finding the exhibits of interest in advance. You can do this on the official website of the facility.
Cultural and historical significance
The State Hermitage is an undeniable cultural pride and value not only in St. Petersburg and Russia, but also throughout the world. The museum holds masterpieces and relics of world scale, as well as various cultural elements of different countries and eras. All of them are brought together and brought together at the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
The Hermitage preserves the heritage of all mankind, as the various halls present both traces of the Altai peoples of the 6th century and works by artists of the 20th century. In order to plunge into the history of various countries and their culture, you must personally visit the museum.
As a tourist in St. Petersburg, you have a great chance to fill up knowledge in history, sculpture and painting, as well as just admire the delightful architectural compositions.
Interesting facts about the Hermitage
The State Hermitage is located in five buildings: the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Grand Hermitage, the Hermitage Theater, and the New Hermitage - all located in the center of St. Petersburg on the banks of the Neva.
This architectural ensemble was formed in the 18th - 19th centuries. Subsequently, the name Hermitage passed to the entire museum complex. Initially, works of art were concentrated in the palace wing, which was called the Small Hermitage.
The most remarkable building of the Hermitage is the Winter Palace, built by the architect F. B. Rastrelli in 1754-1762. It was at that time the tallest residential building in St. Petersburg.
Interestingly, in 1844, Nicholas I issued a decree banning the construction of buildings in St. Petersburg above the Winter Palace.
One of the most complete and expensive is the collection of playing cards collected by General D.P. Ivkov (1849-1912). It has over 2 decks! The collection is currently kept in the Hermitage.
The number of sculptures that are installed on the parapet of the Winter Palace is 176 pieces.
The scale of the museum broke all records. The Hermitage consists of more than one thousand rooms, 117 stairs, 1885 doors, almost 2 thousand windows. The main facade is 150 meters and its height is 30 meters. The length of the cornice is about two kilometers.
Of the paintings that laid the foundation for the Hermitage in the 18th century, only a third have survived to this day. However, every year the exposition of the museum grows. In 1988, the Hermitage entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest art gallery in the world. To see all three million exhibits of the museum, you need to walk 24 km. If, however, one minute is spent near each work of art, then it will take 11 years to pass through all the halls - provided that you visit the Hermitage for eight hours every day.
In the 1960s, an art critic from the Netherlands came to the Hermitage on an official visit. After giving a lecture for Leningraders, the specialist drank tea in the back room with the museum staff. Suddenly he saw the edge of a sheet of paper peering out from behind the cabinet. The art critic pulled this sheet and was stupefied: it turned out to be a canvas by the famous Dutch artist Hendrick Goltzius “Bacchus, Ceres, Venus and Cupid”. Hermitage staff were amazed. It is known that the drawing was acquired by Catherine II back in 1772, then left for the Moscow Academy of Arts, after the revolution he returned to the Hermitage, but how much time after that he gathered dust in oblivion - it was not possible to establish. The canvas was sent for restoration, and since 2005 the painting is again on display at the Hermitage.
In the 21st century, museum representations began to appear in other cities of Russia and even abroad. So in Kazan there is a “mini-Hermitage”, where exhibitions and lectures are held. The Hermitage on the Amstel exhibition center exists in Amsterdam, the history of art is studied in the London branch of the Hermitage, historical and cultural relations between the two countries are engaged in the Hermitage-Italy center in Venice, and the Hermitage Rooms have been opened in the Las Vegas Museum. Periodically, exhibitions of paintings brought from the St. Petersburg Hermitage are held in all branches of the museum. In 2016, the museum appeared in Omsk: it is called the Hermitage-Siberia.
The Hermitage appeared as a private collection of Catherine the Great: the Empress acquired a collection of 317 valuable paintings for 183 thousand thalers.
Its history and halls are well known to all Petersburgers, but not everyone knows about unusual stories and legends connected with the Hermitage. Mystical stories about the Hermitage, its ghosts and living artifacts are a whole layer of St. Petersburg mythology that deserves a separate story. But the most famous of them is the legend of Peter I. They say that the wax figure of the emperor rises, bows to visitors and points to the door. By the way, the doll really has hinges that allow it to be put in a chair or put, apparently, from here the legs of the legend grow.
But there are even scarier stories: for example, about the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet with a lion's head. Her sculpture stands in the hall of Ancient Egypt. According to myths, the goddess of war and the scorching sun Sekhmet was very bloodthirsty. There is a legend that the sculpture of the bloodthirsty goddess Sakhmet comes to life once a year. And blood appears on it, but by the time of the first petitioner, the blood disappears. It is said that sometimes on a full moon, a pool of blood appears on the lap of the sculpture, which later disappears.
The total area of the premises (buildings) of the Hermitage is 233 square meters. m. A exposition and exhibition area of 345 square meters. m
Some of the paintings by the artist Rembrandt, including the famous "Danae", "The Sacrifice of Abraham" and "The Disfavor of Haman", are stored in the State Hermitage Museum. One of them is Danae, Aman's Grace. In 1985, a mentally ill person doused a picture of Danae with acid. It has been restored for over 20 years. Now it can only be viewed under glass.
For half a century from 1711 to 1764, five whole winter palaces were built in St. Petersburg. The current Winter Palace is the fifth in a row.
In 1725, Peter the Great died in the Winter Palace.
The film “Russian Ark” was directed by Alexander Sokurov in the Winter Palace. Filming took place on December 23, 2001. The film was shot in 1 hour 27 minutes 12 seconds in one shot without the use of editing. This is the first full-length feature film without editing.
About 50 cats officially work in the Hermitage. These are aristocratic cats: descendants of a cat brought by Peter I from Holland, as well as descendants of the famous and now lost Kazan breed of mouser cats. Kazan cats were ordered personally by Catherine II from Kazan. Today, 70 cats live in the Hermitage. They have a passport and can move freely around the Hermitage. These cats are popular with visitors, they write articles about them, take pictures, bring gifts. These cats are freelance museum workers. And the American Mary Ann Ellin, who visited the museum with her granddaughter, even wrote a children's book dedicated to the Hermitage cats.
The director of the State Hermitage even once said that he was asked about cats almost more often than about Rembrandt’s canvases.
Cats survived the war with Napoleon and the October Revolution in the Winter Palace, but the blockade of Leningrad knocked them down, which immediately affected the increased number of rats. After the war, the museum was re-populated with cats.
In 2014, the museum management set a "limit" of 50 cats - the rest are given out each year in good hands.
Sculptures from Tsarskoye Selo and the Tauride Palace formed the basis of the collection of ancient monuments.
The Hermitage collection contains Kolyvan Vase — the work of Russian masters. It is made of solid stone - jasper. They did it for 14 years. The vase was made in 1843. It weighs 19 tons, and at the same time it seems elegant and light.
The pride of the Hermitage is organic exhibits. Such as: the oldest wool carpet, silk fabric from China, tattoos on real human skin. Such exhibits are stored in special temperature conditions.
Among the pearls of the collection of old European paintings are Tatishchev’s diptych of Robert Campen, “Madonna Benoit” by Leonardo da Vinci, “Judith” by Giorgione, “Portrait of a Woman” by Correggio, “St. Sebastian ”Titian,“ Lute player ”Caravaggio,“ Lady in Blue ”Gainsborough.
Emperor Nicholas II was very fond of cars. In his personal collection, there were more than twenty cars of the brands "Mercedes", "Rolls-Royce" and "Delaunay-Belleville". He bought his first car in 1905, and six years later there were about 50 brands. In 1910, a large garage was built specifically for the emperor's car park in the passage between the Winter Palace and the Small Hermitage. It was equipped with a gas station, a car wash and its own steam heating system. The emperor liked to visit the garage and personally washed and refueled the purchased cars.
Fleet of Nicholas II totaled more than 20 personal cars. But in 1917, when the Hermitage was looted, the Bolsheviks appropriated all the cars for themselves, so you can not see a single car of Nicholas II in the museum's collection.
Unusual Hermitage rituals. They have interesting and important dates for employees who celebrate them: St. Catherine's Day, Farewell to the White Nights, etc. And one of the most interesting rituals occurred when the floors were restored in the knight's hall. Horse knights were taken out of the hall under the orchestra. Thus, they saluted the valiant knights.
The Hermitage cancels the fee for photo and video shooting.
Opening hours of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday is always a day off) according to the following schedule:
- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday - from 10:30 to 18:00.
- Wednesday, Friday - from 10:30 to 21:00.
Official holidays, except Mondays: January 1, May 9.
How to get to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg
One of the easiest ways to get to the State Hermitage is by metro. You need to get off at the Admiralteyskaya station and walk 600 meters along Nevsky Prospekt towards Palace Square and the Hermitage complex.
You can also use public transport. These are trolleybuses No. 1, 7, 10, 11 and buses No. 2 MA, 3 MB, 7, 10, 24, 191, as well as route taxi No. 252, you need to get off at the Dvortsovaya Ploshchad stop. How to get to the ticket office of the museum, you can read on the official website of the object.
It’s also convenient for St. Petersburg to get to the Hermitage using taxi applications — Uber, Gett, Yandex.Taxi and others.
State Hermitage Museum on google-panorama