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. The entrance ticket for foreign tourists costs more than the fee paid
by citizens of Russia and Belarus. However, entrance is free of charge the first
Thursday of every month for all visitors, and free daily for students and children.
The museum is closed on Mondays. The entrance for individual visitors is located in
the Winter Palace, accessible from the Courtyard.
The Western European Art collection includes European paintings, sculpture, and
applied art from the 13th to the 20th centuries. It is displayed, in about 120
rooms, on the first and second floor of the four main buildings. Drawings and
prints are displayed in temporary exhibitions.
Italian and Spanish fine art
The first floor of New Hermitage contains three large interior spaces in the
center of the museum complex with red walls and lit from above by skylights. These
are adorned with 19th-century Russian lapidary works and feature Italian and
Spanish canvases of the 16th-18th centuries, including Veronese, Giambattista
Pittoni, Tintoretto, Velázquez and Murillo. In the enfilade of smaller rooms
alongside the skylight rooms the Italian and Spanish fine art of the 15th-17th
centuries, including Michelangelo's Crouching Boy and paintings by El Greco.
The museum also houses paintings by Luis Tristan, Francisco de Zurbarán, Alonso
Cano, José de Ribera and Goya.
Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque
The rooms and galleries along the southern facade and in the western wing of the
New Hermitage are now entirely devoted to Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque
painting of the 17th century, including the large collections of van Dyck, Rubens
and Rembrandt. They also contain several paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder
(Velvet period), Frans Snyders (for example, The Fish Market), Gerard ter Borch,
Paulus Potter, Jan van Goyen, Ferdinand Bol and Gerard van Honthorst.
German, British, Swiss and French fine art
The first floor rooms on the southern facade of the Winter Palace are occupied
by the collections of German fine art of the 16th century and French fine art of
the 15th–18th centuries, including paintings by Poussin, Lorrain, Watteau.
The collections of French decorative and applied art from the 17th–18th
centuries and British applied and fine art from the 16th–19th century, including
Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, are on display in nearby rooms facing the
courtyard. This area also holds paintings by German artists, including Hans
Wertinger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Barthel Bruyn the Elder, Caspar David Friedrich
(Moonrise Over The Sea), Anton Mengs, Hans Thoma, Anselm Feuerbach, Franz Stuck
(Two Men Fighting Over a Woman) and Heinrich Campendonk as well as paintings by
Swiss painters Angelica Kauffman, Alexandre Calame, Arnold Böcklin and Ferdinand
The richly decorated interiors of the first floor of the Winter Palace on its
eastern, northern and western sides are part of the Russian culture collection and
host the exhibitions of Russian art from the 11th-19th centuries. Temporary
exhibitions are usually held in the Nicholas Hall.
Neoclassical, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist art
The only portion of the second floor open to the public is in the Winter Palace.
French Neoclassical, Impressionist and post-Impressionist art, including works by
Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, is displayed there in the southeastern corner.
It also displays paintings by Camille Pissarro (Boulevard Montmartre, Paris), Paul
Cézanne (Mount Sainte-Victoire), Alfred Sisley, Henri Morel, and Degas.
Modern art is displayed in the General Staff Building (Saint Petersburg). It
features Matisse, Derain and other fauvists, Picasso, Malevich, Kandinsky, Giacomo
Manzù, Giorgio Morandi and Rockwell Kent. A large room is devoted to the German
Romantic art of the 19th century, including several paintings by Caspar David
Friedrich. The second floor of the Western wing features collections of the
Oriental art (from China, India, Mongolia, Tibet, Central Asia, Byzantium and Near