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  • Writer's pictureDimitri Ozerkov

Hermitage Day in Venice

17 December 2018 became Hermitage Day in Venice: a pair of exhibitions – one in the “mainland” part of the city, the other on the islands – were opened by Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage.

The Candiani Cultural Centre in Mestre was the venue for a press conference devoted to the exhibition “VENICE AND SAINT PETERSBURG. Artists, Princes and Merchants” in which Mikhail Piotrovsky participated together with Luigi Brugnaro, the Mayor of Venice, Mariacristina Gribaudi, President of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Gabriella Belli, Director of the Musei Civici, and Maurizio Cecconi, General Secretary of the Hermitage–Italy Centre.

After the press conference, the journalists and guests viewed the exhibition. It has been conceived by the curators – Irina Artemyeva, Director of the Hermitage–Italy Centre, and Alberto Craievich, Chief Curator of the Ca’ Rezzonico, a museum of 18th-century Venetian art – as a dialogue between the Hermitage and Venetian collections: drawings by Tiepolo, Quarenghi and Novelli; paintings by Pietro Longhi and Luca Carlevarijs. A considerable portion of the twenty pictures from the Hermitage selected for the exhibition have never been shown abroad before and are unknown even to experts: Jacopo Tintoretto’s Perseus and the Muses; Matteo Ponzone’s Portrait of Carlo Ridolfi, Carlevarijs’s Capricci. For the first time the graphic works of Pier Antonio Novelli are being presented in such quantity – the Hermitage possesses a very rich collection of his drawings and the display allows visitors to acquaint themselves with his graphic legacy in all its diversity. In all 50 drawings from the Hermitage collection appear in the exhibition and they have articles written by Irina Grigoryeva and Yekaterina Orekhova of the Drawing Sector in the Hermitage’s Department of Western European Fine Art devoted to them in the catalogue prepared by the Linea d’acqua publishing house.

The second exhibition Futuruins: The Future of Ruins and Ruins of the Future opened in the historic part of Venice, in the Palazzo Fortuny. It is the result of collaboration between the Hermitage and the Museo Fortuny. Its curators – Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the Hermitage’s Department of Contemporary Art, and Daniela Ferretti, Director of the Palazzo Fortuny – have arranged the display that occupies three storeys of the palace as an endless spiral of time in which ruins symbolize the eternal struggle and indissoluble link between past and present, life and death, movement and stasis, destruction and creation. Ruins in their philosophical and material state accompany the whole of human history, the rise and fall of civilizations belonging to various historical eras, and so the 250 exhibits (80 of which were selected from the collections of the Hermitage) span an immense period of time, from prehistoric artefacts to works by contemporary artists, and a great diversity of genres: installation, video, painting, sculpture, decorative and applied art. Alongside works by Jean Dubuffet, Francesco Jodice, Lawrence Carroll, Alberto Burri, Giorgio De Chirico and many other 20th- and 21st-century artists, visitors will be able to see others by Caspar David Friedrich, Albrecht Dürer, Jacopo and Francesco Bassano, Gianpaolo Pannini, Ippolito Caffi and Franz von Stuck.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue edited by Daniela Ferretti, Dario Della Lana and Davide Daninos with an introductory article by Dmitry Ozerkov.

The concluding event of the Hermitage Day in Venice was the hand-over to the Hermitage–Italy Centre of premises situated in the very heart of the city – in the Procuratie Vecchie on St Mark’s Square. They now house the Centre’s library and are equipped with workplaces for visiting grant-holders. Participating in the ceremony were Luigi Brugnaro, the Mayor of Venice, Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, Gabriella Belli, Director of the Musei Civici di Venezia, Irina Artemyeva, Director of the Hermitage–Italy Centre, and Maurizio Cecconi, the Centre’s General Secretary.

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