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The Hermitage Collection

The Hermitage, the world-renowned art museum on the banks of the River Neva, is the pride of Russia and its northern capital, St. Petersburg. It contains incalculable treasures of world culture. In the Hermitage collections there are some three million separate items. They are works of art and culture of the peoples of East and West spanning an immense period of time from deep antiquity to the twentieth century. All forms of artistic creativity, a multitude of different facets of world culture, are represented in the museum's stocks. Archaeological items inform us about the oldest cultures of the ancient World, the East and Russia. Extremely rich collections of paintings, graphic art and sculpture give an outstanding picture of the history of fine art from the rock drawings of primitive peoples to the painted vases and sculpture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, from early Christian art - the Fayum portraits and Byzantine icons - to the great masters of the Italian Renaissance, from the Classical schools of the seventeenth century - the "Golden Age" of Western European art - to the French Impressionists and the leading figures of the twentieth century, from the painting of China and Tibet to the miniatures of India and Iran. The wealth of the Hermitage's collections of applied art is inexhaustible - Ancient pottery and Chinese porcelain, the gold of the Scythians and the Ancient Greeks, Persian carpets and European tapestries, the silver of the remote Sassanid kingdom and of the eighteenth-century craftsmen of Paris and Augsburg, clothing, furniture, jewellery and much else besides. Almost a million coins and medals, from ancient times to the present day, belong to the Hermitage's numismatic department. Glistening in this vast "ocean" are the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Giorgione, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso...

Mikhail Piotrovsky
Director of the Hermitage, Professor of Historical Sciences,
Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
and the Russian Academy of Arts


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