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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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