The Hermitage: Great Collections of a Great Museum
Mikhail Piotrovsky, Oleg NeverovISBN: 5-9501-0015-8;
"A treasure-trove of Russian and world culture, the State Hermitage is called upon to collect, preserve, study, and show art works to thus promote a better understanding among peoples. Apart from Russia's largest art repository, the name Hermitage implies a research institute, a culturo-educational centre and a historico-architectural landmark. The history of the Hermitage falls into several periods, among which the reign of Catherine II, who founded the Imperial museum, is naturally the principal one. Of enormous importance is also the reign of Nicholas I, who did not simply add a new building to the palace complex but created a truly public museum universally recognized as a masterpiece of world architecture. It was under Nicholas I that the museum turned into a scholarly institution with its own traditions, written and unwritten rules. The Hermitage collections, however, were formed not by the crowned heads alone. Among the connoisseurs and lovers of art, whose holdings...