The Hermitage – museum with the largest collection
Currently, the collection of the Hermitage includes 3 million 130 thousand objects. The Hermitage is considered one of the most frequently visited historical museums in the world. Every single year up to 4 million people come to the museum in order to witness the works of the best artists, sculptors, as well as to see the collection of unique historical items. The collection of the Hermitage includes not only works of the Russian masters, but the most impressive paintings and other objects of the art from Europe and the Middle East.
The main collection of the Hermitage is located in 5 buildings: the Winter Palace with the Big, Small and New hall of the Hermitage, as well as the Hermitage Theater. The overall area of 350 halls of the museum covers 58 thousand square meters. At the same time, the Hermitage has 5 storage facilities with unique objects, as well as several branches in other cities.
The history of the collection of the Hermitage
The Hermitage was officially opened for the visitors in 1852 by the order of Nikolay I. By the year of 1880 it was visited by 50 thousand people per year, which was a very high result for that period in time. It’s worth noting that even though it was a public museum, it was closed for the majority of people. In order to get here, ladies had to wear pompous dresses, while men had to wear a suit. The requirements for the visitors were made a bit softer only at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Hermitage was founded in 1764. Ekaterina II bought the personal collection of paintings from Johann Gotzkovsky, who wasn’t able to pay the debt to Duke Dolgorukov. There’s no information about the number of paintings in the collection, but some paper noticed different numbers from 225 to 317. The majority of them were made at the beginning of the 17th century by the representatives of the Dutch-Flemish School. Currently, the Hermitage has only 96 paintings from that collection.
Currently, the collection of the Hermitage includes 3 million 130 thousand objects. The majority of them can be seen during the permanent exhibitions of the museum located in 350 halls. They cover the entire area of 58,000 square meters. The collection of the museum started to form during the reign of Ekaterina II. In the beginning, it included only paintings, but not it contains a lot of archaeological finds, arts, and crafts.
In the following years, the Hermitage was getting new and new collections from Europe. During the reign of Ekaterina II, the Hermitage received 3996 paintings, antique statues, and sculptures, including works of Michelangelo Buonarroti.
At the beginning of the history of the museum, the collection was stored in a part of the palace that was called the Hermitage. In French, it means “a hideaway” or “a monastic cell”. Keeping in mind the growing number of paintings, it was decided to build a new place for it, but the name remained the same.
After the death of Ekaterina II, other emperors continued making the collection of paintings. They preferred works of the European painters, but starting from the middle of the 19th century, they decided to buy works of Russian painters, as well as other arts and crafts.
During the revolution, the collection of the Hermitage was added with numerous objects from private collections. However, some of them were sold abroad and sent to other museums in Russia. Lately, the collection of the museum is added with the objects of art of the 10th century.
The first collection of the Hermitage included only paintings, but later it started to contain sculptures, ancient furniture, tapestry, jewelry, and other objects. Currently, one can see exhibits from the period of several thousand years. For example, the Hermitage gas the unique collection of Scythian gold and Pazyryk culture, which were found in Altay Region.
The Hermitage is interesting not only with its collections but with the design of the buildings. The majority of them were used as the residence of the emperor. One can witness the original atmosphere of the royal palace, and see the traditional household items and clothes of the royal families.