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The Hermitage wears Prado

Published: March 2, 2011 (Issue # 1645)



  • More than sixty canvases by artists including Velazquez, Goya, Titian and Bosch have been lent to the Hermitage.
    Photo: The St. Petersburg Times

An unprecedented itinerant exhibition from Madrids Prado Museum opened at the State Hermitage Museum last week, marking the year of Spain in Russia and of Russia in Spain.

The exhibition was opened by President Dmitry Medvedev and Spanish King Juan Carlos, who came to the city on an official visit to launch the year of his country in Russia.

Our people love the culture and art of Spain and there is no doubt theyll be delighted to expand their knowledge of it, Medvedev said.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum, described the exhibition as a historic event for the Hermitage and said he was very thankful that an exhibition of such high quality has arrived at the museum.

At this exhibition, every picture is a masterpiece, Piotrovsky said at a press conference devoted to the opening of the exhibition Friday.

Miguel Sugasa, director of the Prado, said the museum was inspired to bring the exhibition to Russia after Medvedev visited the Prado in Madrid two years ago and expressed enthusiastic praise about the museums collection.

At this exhibition, we have tried to present not only the quality but also the diversity of the [Prados] collection, including works by Western European and Spanish artists, and pieces from the Renaissance era, Sugasa said.

The exhibition features more than sixty canvases from the 15th to 19th centuries by Western European artists with a focus on the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools. The artists featured include Hieronymus Bosch, Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, El Greco, Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya, Titian and many others.

Titians masterpiece Venus and Cupid with an Organist, which pictures a musician playing at Venuss feet while contemplating the naked goddess, who is distracted by Cupid, is one of the works that has been brought from Madrid for the exhibition.

Some specialists consider the piece to be a straightforward erotic work, while others see its character as allegories of the senses of sight and hearing as the means for achieving knowledge of beauty and harmony.

Another canvas by Alonso Sanchez Coello depicts two girls of eight and nine years old the much loved daughters of King Philip II of Spain. The artist painted the portraits of the Infantes in keeping with standard court portrait practices, with both of them wearing similar sumptuous clothing and wearing a detached expression.

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Sunday, Apr. 20


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Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.