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Opening of Exhibition Roman Applied Art of the 1st to 3rd Century A.D.

The exhibition in the Pompean Room of the New Hermitage opening 7 December 1999 became another step in the realisation of the concept of the museum of the 21st century. The interior of the Pompean Room conforms to the subject of the exhibition and the character of the exhibits. It is a moderate in size but richly decorated with wall-paintings room of the type of a study. Designed by Leo von Klenze as a study it was originally meant to display and scrutinize jewelry, rarities and small articles like those displayed at this exhibition. To keep and exhibit these articles Klenze designed show-cases that are still in the Hermitage. Obelisks with ormolu decorations, small pyramids for exhibiting gems and intaglios, show-cases of Karelian birch are functional and convinient in usage and also integral of the museum interior of 19th century. Design of the show-cases and decoration of the room are executed in one neoclassical style. As a result of restoration the show-cases were supplied with safety glass preventing reflexes of light, modern light design and safety precautions which enabled these old pieces of high artistic value to be used in a modern museum.

Part of the rich collection of the Roman artistic crafts of the 1st - 2nd centuries A.D. - the period of the Early Roman Empire and of the flourishing of artistic crafts - is represented at this exhibition. Jewelry articles made of gold and precious stones, ornaments of semi-precious stones, glass and chrystal, terra sigillata and figured vessels, bronze- and silverware, bronze figurines and carved stones are on display. Variety of materials and texture, richness of styles and decor, complexity of techniques and striking expediency of forms give an idea of not only the high level of craftsmanship of the artisans of the first centuries A.D. The articles closely connected with everyday life of people also demonstrate artistic tastes and lifestyles of the citizens of the empire and characterize religion and leasure of the Romans of the period of flourishing of the Roman state.

Attractive subject and spectacular material of the exhibition will undoubtedly be of interest for the visitors of the Museum.

Reconstruction of the Pompean Room was sponsored by Ms. Jayne Wrightsman (USA) , an old friend and one of the main patrons of the State Hermitage.


Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky at the opening ceremony of the exhibition

Cameos in the old modernized show-cases


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