Posted by: aboutalbion | September 16, 2014

An evening in St Petersburg

Last week, I had a real treat.  A cinema documentary took me to the Hermitage Museum beside the River Neva in St Petersburg.

The film, ‘Hermitage Revealed’, has been made to celebrate the Museum’s 250th anniversary.  In the company of the director and his senior staff, I was introduced to a small fraction of the huge art collection (of around three million objects) that occupies around two thousand rooms there.

Credit is given in the film to Catherine the Great, who not only founded the (private) Museum in 1764 but also bought large collections around Europe in order to assert Russia as a cultural power (as well as a military power) in the world.

The Museum opened to the public some years later in 1852, and has been served by many generations of loyal staff.  The loyalty and dedication that was tested during the events of the October revolution in 1917, during the Stalinist purges, and again during the city’s siege in 1941-3, is acknowledged in the film.

I am unable to comment on the works of art that the film shows.  I was just grateful for the conducted tour.  I felt as though I had been to St Petersburg for the evening …

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