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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.

The 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 Fund Storage.
One 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 Dvortsovaya Square.
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
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The Hermitage
 
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Related Links:
The official homepage of the State Hermitage Museum: www.hermitagemuseum.org

Complete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etcComplete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etc. !
World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights". Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights".
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