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Hermitage History. Part 1

Sep - 22 - 2013


The State Hermitage is one of the most famous museums of the World. Its picture gallery acquired its world-wide fame for vast and various collections, as well as for the great number of prominent works of art it possesses among which there are some masterpieces of world-renown. It arose in the second half of the XVIII century being originally a private collection of Catherine II. The museum got its name from a mansion called the Hermitage built in 1765 close to the Winter Palace, and intended for the informal passtime of an intimate circle of courtiers of Catherine II, away from the strict rules of etiquette. It is considered that the Gallery was founded in 1764, when the first collection of pictures was purchased from Gotzkowsky, a Berlin merchant. It grew very quickly for in most cases large private collections of great renown, containing precious works of art, were bought and incorporated in the gallery.
Among the most famous collections that were added to it during the XVIII century the following may be named: Bruhl’s gallery from Dresden (1769), Crozat’s gallery from Paris (1772), Lord Walpole’s gallery from England (1779), Baudouin gallery from Paris (1781). Separate works of art were purchased at the same time. By the eighties of the XVIII century the Museum had more than 2500 pictures, among which there were already such gems as pictures by Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, the majority of the works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and many other Dutch artists; as well as pictures by Poussin, Watteau, Chardin and other artists of France. Due to these acquisitions it began to rank among the best great royal galleries of the European courts.

V.F. Levinsol – Lessing

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