The Hermitage in the World of Publications
On 5 December 2006, during the 2006 Hermitage Days, a presentation was made of new publications and of the State Hermitage magazine, as well as of educational multimedia programs on CDs based on the State Hermitage collections
Presentation of new publications and of the State Hermitage magazine
The Hermitage's publishing activity is as varied as the functions of the Hermitage itself: it includes publication of art monuments in catalogues of the collections and in catalogues of temporary exhibitions; monographs and collections of scholarly articles containing research by curators; and popular science literature directed at all categories of museum visitors.
The series of Catalogues of the Collections was augmented in 2006 by a new publication - the catalogue of Monuments of Byzantine Applied Art of the 4th-7th Centuries by V.N. Zalesskaya. The catalogues of the collections are scholarly publications intended primarily for specialists. Hence, their strict design and the same dark green "Hermitage" color of the binding on all the catalogues. It is an essential condition that the catalogues in this series publish an entire collection and not only the most famous things. In the present publication, there are many monuments of Byzantine applied art that are being published for the first time.
Unlike the strict catalogues of collections with their identical binding, the catalogues of temporary exhibitions are varied in format and style. In 2006, the State Hermitage Publishing House issued around 20 catalogues of temporary exhibitions. Moreover, one should add to this number the catalogues of exhibitions which were put out by other publishing houses for other museums in many foreign and Russian cities, including exhibition centers of the Hermitage in Amsterdam, London and Kazan.
Hermitage monuments are published in international publications. In 2006, the State Hermitage continued its work on the publication of catalogues of ancient vases in the framework of the international publishing project called Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum ("Body of Antique Vases"). The three next volumes were published: on geometric, Mycenaean and Cypriot ceramics (A. G. Bukina); on Attic black-figured and red-figured kylixes (E.I. Arsentieva); and on black-figured Attic vases from the necropolis of Pantikapei (S.P. Boriskovskaya, E.I. Arsentieva). The catalogues were issued by the Italian publishing house L'ERMA by BRETSCHNEIDER, specialists in publishing scholarly literature about Antiquity.
The Hermitage collection comes into scholarly currency not only thanks to catalogues, but also due to monographs by museum curators. One example of such publications is the book Buddhist Painting from Hara-Hoto of the 12th - 14th Centuries. Between China and Tibet. The P.V. Kozlov Collection by K.F. Samosiuk. The author's subject for research was a unique collection of medieval Buddhist painting which the famous traveler and scholar P.K. Kozlov brought to Russia in 1909 from the "dead" city of Hara-Hoto, long lost in the sands of the Southern Gobi desert. The development of Buddhist painting is examined in the context of the history of the Tangut State of the Western Sia during the period of its flowering (12th century) and after it was conquered by the Mongols in 1227. The unique geographical situation of this state, which was located "between China and Tibet," was reflected in stylistic and iconographic peculiarities of its art. The monograph contains a catalogue of Hermitage monuments of painting from Hara-Hoto, many of which are published for the first time.
The monograph by E.S. Shchukina entitled The Series of Medals by F.G. Mueller on Events of the Northern War in the Hermitage Collection is devoted to a series of medals ordered to honor the victory in the Northern War for control of the shores of the Baltic that Russia conducted during the period 1700 - 1721. The objective of creating the series was to tell Europe about Russia's victories and to strengthen the country's international authority. The famous Augsburg medal maker F. Mueller created the dies which two years later were used in Moscow to mint gold and silver medals. Today the Hermitage owns the biggest collection in the world of genuine medals from the Mueller series, 185 pieces.
M.N. Lopato's book Jewelers of Old Petersburg tells the story of the creation and development of the Petersburg school of jewelry, from the founding of the city up to 1917. A unique school of jewelers was formed in the Northern Capital, organically combining European and Russian traditions.
E. F. Korolkova's monograph The Animalistic Style of Eurasia. The Art of the Tribes of the Lower Volga and Southern Urals in the Scythian Age (7th-4th Centuries B.C.). Problems of Style and Ethnocultural Attributes was issued by the publishing house St. Petersburg Oriental Studies. It investigates the so-called animalistic style - an artistic phenomenon that was characteristic of the culture of the Eurasian nomads during the first millennium B.C. to the beginning of the second millennium A.D. The author brings in a wide assortment of similarities occurring in various regions of Eurasia. Monuments made in the animalistic style are analyzed from the standpoint of their form and content.
G.V. Vilinbakhov's book Russian Banners is devoted to the history of Russian banners or standards from the 7th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The topics examined by the author range from the role of banners in Russian history, the significance of banners as a symbol and bearer of symbols and the standards or colors of the Russian regiments. The research is to a significant degree based on materials from the Hermitage's collection of banners and military graphics, as well as on archival data.
In the series Pages of Hermitage History, a new collection was issued entitled The State Hermitage. Museum Sales of 1928-1929. Archival Documents. This work was compiled by E.Yu. Solomakh under the general editorial supervision of Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Mikhail Piotrovsky. The collection includes all documents from the State Hermitage archive dealing with transfer of paintings from the museum for export sale from 1928 to June 1929. The documents are protocols, correspondence, acts, appraisals, as well as materials from the personal archival funds of Hermitage employees S.P. Yaremich and V.F. Levinson-Lessing, who were the experts used for selection of works of art to be exported. The collection has appendices including the documents recording the return of unsold paintings from the agency Antikvariat to the Hermitage. Illustrations include reproductions from the auction catalogues of Lepke dating from 1928-1929 and photos from the Hermitage Archive. Most of the documents are published for the first time.
In 2006 the series Works of the State Hermitage changed its appearance. Henceforth the publications under this imprimatur bring together all scholarly collections issued in the museum. The works of various departments will come out in a single format, though they will differ in terms of the color of the binding. The first of the works in the new format (volume 31 counting from the founding of the publication) contains scholarly articles on numismatics.
Unlike the analytical Works of the State Hermitage, which are constructed according to the thematic principle, the annual periodical publication entitled Communications of the State Hermitage (volume 64 came out in 2006) contain small articles with publications and attributions relating to exhibit items, both those which have been recently acquired via the Procurement Commission of the Hermitage and those which have long been held in the museum collection.
The popular science publications which the Hermitage began publishing in recent years are organized in several series depending on their themes and genres. In 2006, new ranges of popular science literature appeared. One of them is the Collections of the Hermitage - sketches written by museum curators and directed at a wide audience of readers. They tell about the museum collections, the history of their creation and about the most interesting monuments. The first book in this series is Scythian Antiquities of the Northern Caucasus in the Hermitage Collection by L.K. Galanina. It is devoted to Scythian antiquities which were discovered in burial sites on the territory of the region near the Kuban at the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the golden decorations, weapons and horse gear found there have become world famous treasures. The author devotes a lot of attention to the history of the excavations, and the entertaining stories read like a novel.
One other series of popular science literature which appeared in 2006 is Masterpieces of the Hermitage. The first brochure in this series, The Peacock Clock, is devoted tone of the most popular Hermitage exhibit items. The reader will learn not only about the history of this monument, but also about the operating principles of the mechanism of this famous clock.
An entire program of publishing brochures has been developed in the Hermitage within the framework of the popular science series entitled Halls and Buildings of the Hermitage. In a museum where the interior decorations themselves have huge historical and artistic value, publications of this series enjoy special popularity. This year the brochures The Malachite Room by T.L. Pashkova and The Winter Palace of Peter the Great by N.I. Tarasova were published.
The series Your Hermitage is intended for school children. This year the book Rulers of the Steppes by E.F. Korolkova was published. It is devoted to the culture and art of nomadic peoples.
The anniversary year of Rembrandt was marked by publication of the brochure Rembrandt the Engraver by R.G. Grigorieva (the series In brevi), released for the exhibition Rembrandt Etchings from the Collection of D.A. Rovinsky in the Collection of the State Hermitage.
Presentation of educational multimedia programs on CDs based on the State Hermitage collections
The Educational Multimedia Center in the State Hermitage was created in 1999 thanks to close cooperation between the museum and IBM. Educational programs on various themes in Russian and English are designed and created especially for staff of the Hermitage's Educational Center. These programs are intended not only for visitors to the museum, but also for anyone interested in the history of art. For these purposes, courses are offered on the Hermitage website under the heading "Virtual Academy" and they are also issued on CDs.
At present the Educational Center has prepared a set of 10 educational CDs:* Antique Subjects in Western European Art of the 16th - 20th Centuries from the Collection of the State Hermitage is a course made especially for children aged 10 years and above. It contains five sections - Antique authors, the Gods of Olympus, the Heroes of Ancient Greece and Rome, the History of Psyche.
* The program Gospel Subjects in Western European Paintings from the Collection of the State Hermitage is intended for all lovers of painting. It immerses the user in the world of Gospel subjects reflected in paintings by masters of various artistic schools and ages.
* The Gallery of Ancient Painting tells about one of the unique interiors of the New Hermitage museum building. The paintings of the Gallery were created based on drawings by Leo von Klenze, the architect of the New Hermitage. In the vision of the architect, the Gallery was supposed to remind museum visitors of the outstanding painters of Ancient Greece and Rome and to give an idea of their works which have not survived to our day.
* The disk on The Raphael Loggias presents another famous museum interior created at the behest of Catherine the Great to duplicate that celebrated monument of the Italian Renaissance - Raphael's Loggias in the Vatican.
* The course entitled Amazing Mechanisms is devoted to unique Hermitage exhibit items having complex mechanical devices.
* The program on The Winter Palace - Residence of the Russian Emperors tells about the history of the Winter Palace, the life the Russian Emperors and members of their families, and about the events which took place within the palace walls.
* The CD entitled The Times of Knights takes us back to the Middle Ages and tells about knights' armor and weapons, the Crusades and knights' tournaments, about coats of arms and orders.
* The course on Biblical Subjects is intended for a wide audience of users who are interested in history and art. The world of Bible stories is revealed in works of art from the collection of the State Hermitage.
* The course on Ancient Rome tells about the history, architecture, sculpture, painting and decorative and applied arts of Ancient Rome based on the collection of the State Hermitage. The program gives us an idea about the influence Ancient Rome had on the later development of Western European and Russian art.
* The program Rembrandt in the Hermitage helps the viewer to learn about the world famous collection of works by Rembrandt in the Hermitage.
The Information Partner of the Hermitage Days is television channel STO.