Exposición: El Hermitage en el Prado (8 noviembre 2011 - 25 marzo 2012)

Uploaded by museodelprado on 24.11.2011

The bi-lateral Spain in Russia/Russia in Spain Year is a remarkably important one for the life of our museum
given that during the course of this year the Hermitage has had the chance to present a marvellous exhibition
of works of art from the Prado, while at the present moment the Prado is hosting one from the Hermitage.
Two such important, universal museums as the Hermitage and the Prado have thus had the chance to exchange collections,
which is an event of significance not just for the museum world but on a global scale given that both museums
have entrusted their greatest masterpieces to the other institution
and there is a wonderful possibility to see works of art out of their usual environment.
This way, the Prado paintings that we saw in the Tzar Nicholas I galleries in the Winter Palace,
had a different aspect than the one that they have displayed in the galleries of the Museo del Prado.
Now, the same thing happens with the works of the Hermitage’s collection, here you see them in a different perspective, in the exhibition galleries, displayed in the walls of the Prado.
The collections of the Hermitage largely derive from those of the Russian rulers Peter the Great,
founder of Saint Petersburg, his grandson’s wife, Catherine the Great, and her grandson, Nicholas I.
The Winter Palace, the most important architectural monument in Saint Petersburg,
was built between 1754 and 1762 for the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great.
However, the building acquired its celebrated Neo-classical appearance between 1762 and 1850, during the reigns of Catherine the Great, Alexander I and Nicholas I.
The series of views of Saint Petersburg painted by the Swedish artist Benjamin Patterson,
official painter to the Imperial court, depict the majestic city beneath luminous skies and emphasise its elegant, ordered appearance.
The exhibition "The Hermitage in the Prado" brings together more than 170 works of art.
Our intention is to present a representative and extremely highly quality selection of works
from the Hermitage’s collections at the Museo del Prado as if the Prado were extending a fraternal embrace to this great museum in Saint Petersburg.
The Hermitage has a rich and eventful history and is among the world’s museums that can be considered truly encyclopaedic
due to its mission to assemble collections representative of numerous world cultures,
from ancient archaeology and Pharaonic Egypt to the 20th century and everything that lies between.
From the 7th to the 3rd centuries BC, Scythian nomads in southern Siberia and the region of the Altai Mountains
built rich tombs of complex construction with funerary chambers and covered with mounds, known as "kurgans".
These tombs contained weapons and gold ornaments in the so-called "animalistic style".
The first Russian archaeological collection, known as the "Siberian Collection of Peter the Great", was created in the first half of the 18th century
from objects looted from the "kurgans" and others excavated during the first scholarly archaeological campaigns.
The Hermitage’s collection of Greek goldsmiths’ work includes ancient jewels of outstanding artistic and historical importance that entered the Museum through acquisitions,
personal gifts and donations, as well as others excavated during archaeological campaigns on the north coast of the Black Sea.
In comparison to the gold ornaments of the classical era, which combined smooth surfaces with others covered in filigree,
Hellenistic jewellery is characterised by the use of polychromy created with inlaid stones, particularly garnets, which were the most popular.
In the selection of works made for this exhibition our intention was to convey something of this variety and the long history behind the objects in the Hermitage.
For this reason, the exhibition includes ancient gold from Siberia of the 5th to 3rd centuries BC and Hellenistic gold by Greek makers of the 2nd century BC.
The exhibition then moves on to the fine arts, with paintings from the Renaissance to the 20th century, from Titian to Kandinsky.
There is also a representative selection of the decorative arts, from 16th-century jewels to a marvellous object by Fabergé.
The final section of the exhibition covers 20th-century art from the Post-impressionists to the 1930s.
The Hermitage has a particularly fine representation of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painting (Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Hals),
as well as Italian and Spanish Baroque works. These paintings were acquired by diplomats and art agents in Berlin, London, Paris and Amsterdam.
The selection shown here is of exceptionally high quality and includes extremely celebrated works such as Titian’s late "Saint Sebastian",
acquired in Venice in 1850,
and Caravaggio’s "The Lute Player", painted for the Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani and acquired in Paris in 1808.
Spanish paintings include works by Velázquez, El Greco and Ribera, while the Dutch school is represented by two paintings by Rembrandt,
one by Hals
and an impressive still life by Willem Kalf.
The fine group of French paintings in this exhibition includes works by Champaigne, Poussin, Le Nain and Boucher, shown alongside drawings by Claude Lorrain and Watteau.
In order to offer a representative selection of the Hermitage’s collection and working in close collaboration with that Museum,
the group of works brought to Madrid includes some of the most famous and beautiful from its holdings.
Among them, for example, is "The Lute Player" by Caravaggio, the only Caravaggio in the Hermitage and in Russia.
For some months we will have it here at the Museo del Prado.
Also on display are two Rembrandts from what is one of the greatest collections of Rembrandts in the world:
an early portrait and a biblical scene from the artist’s late period, characteristically imbued with passion, emotion and psychological insight.
Other masterpieces include Canova’s beautiful "Mary Magdalen" and Matisse’s magnificent "Conversation", a work that has never previously been seen in Spain.
The Hermitage’s collections of 19th- and 20th-century art, which were assembled after the 1917 Revolution
following the nationalisation of the great Imperial, aristocratic and private collections in Russia,
includes major works by Ingres, Monet, Rodin and Friedrich, as well as avant-garde works that formerly belonged to the Muscovite collectors Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov.
The Hermitage’s collections of modern art have continued to grow through donations, including the group of works by Matisse
given by his friend Lydia Delektorskaya in 1971, and major acquisitions such as "Beethoven".
Large Tragic Mask by Bourdelle, which entered the museum in 1973. Numerous other avant-garde works including Soutine’s "Self-portrait" were acquired through the mediation of President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.
More recently, in 2002, the Russian State purchased "Black Square" by Malevich.
Our aim with this exhibition has thus been to reveal the diversity and richness of the entire Hermitage Museum.
We have begun with the ancient world and have ended in the 20th century,
showing on the way a great range of civilisations and the works that they have produced.
Oriental luxury and European refinement characterised the splendour of the Russian court.
In emulation of the court at Versailles, Catherine the Great had the Small Hermitage
built where she regularly met with favoured guests to enjoy the arts and other diversions.
Catherine also introduced the fashion for sumptuous dresses in the Russian style that surprised foreign visitors.
They were made of velvets and brocades and embellished with jewels and precious stones.
The atmosphere of the Winter Palace, which is an important element within the museum complex as a whole.
We have also brought a number of fascinating items that visitors might not expect to find in the Hermitage,
which are Oriental objects. The Hermitage has a marvellous collection of Oriental art
and the works on display at the Prado include not only examples of goldsmiths’
work but others that evoke the brilliance of Oriental civilisation as a whole.
The origins of the Oriental treasures in the Hermitage lie in the collections of jewels and precious objects assembled by the Czars.
They enriched their palaces and collections with diplomatic gifts and rare items purchased on the luxury goods market.
This collection of jewels and precious objects continued to grow in the 19th century through acquisitions and gifts.
Among these objects are examples from the great era of Russian goldsmiths’ work represented by the creations of Carl Fabergé in Saint Petersburg,
which were greatly in demand from royalty, the aristocracy and wealthy families across Europe.
In addition, the fascination with the East that arose in Russia in the 18th century is reflected
in the magnificent 17th- and 18th-century Chinese objects housed in the Hermitage.
They include gold vessels, caskets, boxes, flasks and hairpins made in filigree, some embellished with stones and coloured enamelling.
Similarly, the Hermitage’s collection of 17th-century Indian jewels and jewelled objects is probably unique in the world.
They were made using the complex traditional Indian technique known as "kundan"
in which the stones are inlaid into deep settings so that they barely protrude above the surface.
On show in the Prado are 47 European paintings, 14 Russian paintings, 10 European sculptures
and 3 drawings, all by world-renowned artists.