The State Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. The museum is located in 5 historical buildings of St.Petersburg, including the Winter Palace - the former residence of Russian tsars. The buildings of the museum, by themselves, are architectural chef d'oeuvres. The collections of the Hermitage number over 3 million items from prehistoric to modern times. Magnificent works of art embracing prehistoric culture, Egyptian art, the art of Antiquity, Scythian gold, and great collections of Western-European paintings and sculptures are displayed in 400 halls of the museum.
date of the Hermitage founding is believed to be 1764 when the
Emperor Ekaterina II bought a big collection of West European
painting. Now the Hermitage is included into the number of greatest
museums in the world. The State Hermitage takes six monumental
buildings, located along the Neva Embankment in n the very centre
of Saint Petersburg. The Winter Palace takes, built in 1754-1762
to the F.B.Rastrelli's design. The ensemble constructed in 18-19th
centuries is completed by the East wing of the general staff
building, the Menshikov Palace and not so long ago built the
of the greatest collections was collected in the Hermitage for
almost two and half centuries; it includes about 3 million works
of art and works of the world culture, started from Stone Age
and to our century. Nowadays with the help of modern technologies
the museum created its figure autoportrait which can be seen
all over the world.
The Winter Palace is the biggest building of the museum ensemble
the Hermitage - it was built as an official tsar residence by
the order of the daughter of Peter the Great Elisaveta Petrovna
from1754 till 1762. The author of the project - is the outstanding
architect of the Baroque epoch Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli.
Three-story building, taking the whole black of buildings, adores
its great range and brilliant decoration. The variety of impressions
which the Winter Palace has from different points of view was
born by different compositional design of facades, which differs
by rhythms of architectural masses with common symmetry and
riches of plastic decor, mysterious forms of lintels, luxurious
Corinthian capitals of columns, windings of complex ledges plenty
of statues and vases on the roof, smart colour give the building
the splendor related to the style of Russian Baroque.
The building works of the Winter Palace were completed after
the death of Elisaveta Petrovna. From 1762 till February 1917
when the ruling dynast of the Romanovs was dethroned in the
result of the revolution the palace was the official Emperor
residence of Russian monarchs. The most important events of
Russian history were connected with the Winter Palace and its
inhabitants; here flew the private life of Russian monarchs
and their families. The saved palace interiors where the collections
of the Hermitage museum are now placed have not only artistic
but historical value.
The South building was constructed in 1765-1766 by the order
of the Empress Ekaterina II by the architect J.M.Felton. The
features of the going Baroque and coming Classicism were organically
joined in the appearance of that building. Later, in 1767-1769
the architect J.B.Vallen-Delamot built the North Pavilion in
early Classicism style on the bank of the Neva River. The buildings
are connected by means of the suspension garden which has galleries
by sides. This architectural ensembles got the name "The
Small Hermitage", because in the North Pavilion Ekaterina
II made evenings with games and plays - "the small hermitages".
The Art Collections, located in the galleries, start the collections
of the emperor museum. The Small Hermitage in the architectural
ensemble of the Hermitage is a connective point between lavish
building of the Baroque Winter Palace and monumental buildings
of the Classicism epoch - the Big and New Hermitage.
The building of the Big Hermitage, intended for the placement
of palace collections and a library, was built in 1771-1774
by the decree of the Empress Ekaterina II. Created by the architect
J.M. Felten three-story building was organically suitable for
the palace ensemble. Structures and simplicity of the appearance
of Big Hermitage corresponded to the Classicism Style of 18th
century. The design of the facades based upon rhythmical combinations
of horizontal parts and vertical lines of window frames. In
1792 Gakomo Quarneghi made an outbuilding to the Big Hermitage
where Rafael Loggias were placed - the repetition of the famous
gallery of the Poe's palace in Vatican, that was close to the
original. The transitional gallery connected the new building
with the North Pavilion of the Small Hermitage and the arch
over the Zimniaya Kanavka - with the theatre.
The New Hermitage is the first building in Russia constructed
especially for placing the art collections of the museum; it
was erected to the project of a German architect Leo Von Klenze.
The architects V.P.Stasov and N.E.Jefimov, working at the project
of Klenze in 1842-1851, put essential changes into the idea
of their Munich colleague, connected the building with the present
architectural herroundings The
New Hermitage, designed in style historicism, has monumental
and strict appearance, quiet equilibrium of architectural forms.
The entrance to the museum is stressed by the portico with the
figures of Atlantes that were cut from monolithic gray granite
to a model by a Terebnev. The building is decorated by statues
and bareliefs, shown the famous artists, architects, sculptors
of last epochs. The ornamental decor with Ancient, Renaissance,
Baroque decorative motives revives the big plates of facades.
In building of the central part of the city the New Hermitage
included in the beginning of Millionnaya Street leading to the
The Hermitage theatre was erected by the order of Ekaterina
II by an architect Gakomo Quarneghi in1783-1787. The building
possessing the harmony and balance of architectural masses is
a fine sample of Russian Classicism of late 18th century. Windows
of the ground floor, decorated by rust, are adorned by lock
stones with lion masks - it is one of favorite methods of Quarneghi.
Well-proportioned colonnade of the second stage of the facade
is flanked with rizolites and statues of old Greek dramatists
and poets placed in nishes.
The sight from the embankment at the theatre building ad the
Hermitage Bridge with the arch over the Zimniaya Kanavka, is
a beautiful architectural picture.
The Menshikov Palace, located at the University Embankment of
Vasilievsky Island, was erected by the order of A.D.Menshikov
- the first governor of Saint-Petersburg, the assistant of Peter
I. The building the residence - one of the first monumental
stone construction of the city - was started in 1710 on the
project of Giovanni Mario Fontana and continued by Iohan Gotrid
Shedel (from 1712 till 1721). The architectural decoration of
the palace is usual for architecture of the first quarter 18th
century. The central pert of the building is finished by attic,
the side rizolites - by bent frontons, a high roof with "break"
crowns the palace. Two-colored bright panting of its facades,
storey arranged pilasters with stone carved capitels, inter-story
fraction and simple lintels of windows give the facades the
smartness of the architecture of Peter's Baroque. The palace
is the most luxurious building of Saint Petersburg of Peter's
time and was often used as a place for ceremonial diplomatic
receptions and assemblies.
The General Staff building was erected by the project of a great
architect of Russian Classicsm Kare Rossi in 1820-1827. Strict
classical building takes a huge area from Nevsky prospect to
the bend of Moika River. The main accent in the facade composition
faced to Dvortsovaya Square, is a majestic arch - the symbol
of triumph of Russia. A triumph six-horse chariot and sculptural
details of the arc - the statues of warriors, goreliefs in the
form of flying figures of genies of Fame and armor are made
by the sculptors S.Pimenov and V.Demuth-Malinovsky according
to Rossini's drawings.Full of sculpture decor a monumental design
of the centre of the building and rhythm of straight columns
of porticos of side wings are especially expressive on the strict
neutral facade background. Its low circle is treated as a rusted
socle, the windows of a parade storey are decorated by lintels
and sandrike, the upper part of the wall is accented by modeled
ledge. The East wing of the building, now possessed by Hermitage,
was intended for the Ministry ofForeign Office and Ministry
of Finance. Three porticos of strict Toscana order, strengthened
by rizolites, give the long facade faced Moika River the ceremonial
imposingness the forming. The monumental building of Rossi completed
the forming of the Dvortsovaya Square ensemble.
Address: Dvortsovaya Nab., 34 see map