With the possible
exception of the Louvre, there is no museum in the world that rivals the
Hermitage in size and quality. Its collection is so large that it would
take years to view it in its entirety - at last count, there were nearly
three million works on exhibit. The museum is especially strong in Italian
Renaissance and French Impressionist paintings, as well as possessing
outstanding collections of works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse.
Visitors should also take advantage of its excellent Greek and Roman
antiquities collection and its exhibits of Siberian and Central Asian art.
Not least among the attractions of the Hermitage is the museum itself,
with its fine interior decoration and architectural detail. As the
Hermitage is so enormous, its collection so strong and diverse, and its
interior so attractive in its own right, many visitors find that the very
best way to tour the museum is to make several briefer visits rather than
one frenetic and exhausting marathon tour. While there is much to be
gained by simply allowing the curiosity of one's eye to take at least
occasional precedence over a list of works and collections dictated by a
guidebook or even a guide.
The origins of the Hermitage can be traced
back to the private art collection of Peter the Great, who purchased
numerous works during his travels abroad and later hung them in his
residence. Catherine the Great expanded the collection considerably, and
she and her successors built the Hermitage collection in large part with
purchases of the private collections of the Western European aristocracy
and monarchy. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was
heir to the greatest collection of art in Europe.
After the Revolution of 1917, the museum
was opened to the public, and its collection was further augmented by the
addition of modern works taken from private collections. Today, the
Hermitage has embarked on a major renovation effort. Its collection is in
the process of being reorganized, and many of its works have for the first
time become available for travelling exhibits outside of the country.
Exposition of the Jewelry Gallery "Golden Rooms"
It has taken over two centuries to assemble the unique collection of gold, silverware and gems fashioned into fascinating pieces of jewelry by Russian, European and Oriental artists and craftsmen. Known as the Treasure Gallery under Catherine the Great and augmented to yet greater splendor by her successors, the jewelry collection is finally back on display at the Hermitage Golden Rooms, re-opened after years of dramatic renovation.
Due to the incredible diversity and the enormous size of its jewelry collection, the Hermitage is planning to stage a number of displays so as to provide the most comprehensive coverage of all the different styles, epochs and regions.
First in a series comes the exhibition featuring three major sections.
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