On 8 December 2016, during the Hermitage Days, the traditional annual celebration of the International Day of the Friends of the Hermitage took place. This year the Hermitage Friends’ Club had its 20th anniversary.
The evening began with a stroll around the museum halls with a viewing of the Jan Fabre exhibition. The guests were met by staff from the Hermitage’s Youth Centre who answered their many questions. The tour ended in the foyer of the Hermitage Theatre.
Inside the theatre, the Friends were welcomed by Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage. He congratulated them on the 20th anniversary of the club’s foundation and looked back at the successful collaboration with Hermitage Friends societies abroad that support the museum in many of its undertakings. Among the guests of honour for the evening were representatives of Hermitage Friends foundations in Finland, Britain, the Netherlands and Italy.
The international activities of the Hermitage Friends’ Club began with the society of Dutch Friends. Exactly 25 years ago, Ernst Ween and Тиция Фрилинг first came to St Petersburg. The result of that visit was an exhibition of pictures by children of the Hermitage’s Art Studio held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Mikhail Borisovich congratulated Ernst Ween, the head of the Friends of the Hermitage foundation in the Netherlands, on the 25th anniversary of his personal friendship with the Hermitage.
Then the guests were offered a festive concert featuring Vasily Gerello, a soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre, leading soloists of the Mikhailovsky Theatre ballet, an orchestra conducted by Pavel Petrenko, and also Amy Pieterse and her group.
The evening ended with celebratory cocktails in the Jordan Gallery of the Winter Palace to the accompaniment of live music.