Hermitage, St. Petersburg Russia

Hermitage 200 anniversary pin, USSR

Hermitage 200 anniversary pin, USSR

This pin is a tribute to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. I visited it May 19, 2015.

The State Hermitage (Russian: Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж) is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Apart from them, the Menshikov Palace, Museum of Porcelain, Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya and the eastern wing of the General Staff Building are also part of the museum. The museum has several exhibition centers abroad. The Hermitage is a federal state property. Since 1990, the director of the museum has been Mikhail Piotrovsky.

Of six buildings of the main museum complex, five, named the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage and Hermitage Theatre, are open to the public.

Catherine the Great started her art collection in 1764 by purchasing paintings from Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. He assembled the collection for Frederick II of Prussia who ultimately refused to purchase it. Thus, Gotzkowsky provided 225 or 317 paintings (conflicting accounts list both numbers), mainly Flemish and Dutch, including 90 not precisely identified, to the Russian crown. The collection consisted of Rembrandt (13 paintings), Rubens (11 paintings), Jacob Jordaens (7 paintings), Anthony van Dyck (5 paintings), Paolo Veronese (5 paintings), Frans Hals (3 paintings, including Portrait of a Young Man with a Glove), Raphael (2 paintings), Holbein (2 paintings), Titian (1 painting), Jan Steen (The Idlers), Hendrik Goltzius, Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick van Balen and Gerrit van Honthorst. Perhaps some of the most famous and most notable artwork that was a part of Catherine’s original purchase from Gotzkowsky was: Danae, painted by Rembrandt in 1636, Descent from the Cross, painted by Rembrandt in 1624, and Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Glove painted by Frans Hals in 1650. These paintings remain in the Hermitage collection today and were purchased by Catherine in 1764 among many others that were a part of Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky’s collection.

The Hermitage is a top tourist spot in St. Petersburg. If you visit, plan to be there as soon as it opens.

Location: 18-E2