The President gave the museum a gift of two works by Carl Faberge: a clock created for the 25th anniversary of the marriage between Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Rothschild-Faberge-Clock-Egg.
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Speech at reception honouring 250th anniversary of State Hermitage
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, friends,
It is no exaggeration to say that yesterday, December 7, saw a very significant, historic event: the State Hermitage marked its 250th anniversary. I want to congratulate all the experts, art history and culture connoisseurs with all my heart, and offer special congratulations to the museum staff.
It is natural that I should say these special words to these special people because throughout all times, the keepers of this incredible treasure – which is a source of pride not just for our nation and our culture but for global culture – this treasure was kept, studied, passed on from hand to hand, preserved in the hardest, most difficult times in our history by the people who worked here. There have been entire dynasties working here, entire generations.
It is hard to imagine that 250 years ago, the museum’s collection began with 225 paintings bought from abroad by Catherine the Great, and now it houses over 3 million works. The Hermitage is certainly an attraction for millions of people from our nation and around the world.
People come here, they travel and fly here, not only to look at the masterpieces of global art, but also to learn about the history of the creation of these masterpieces, to learn more about their authors, their lives and the traditions of their work. In this regard, we can say that the Hermitage is an invaluable and genuinely limitless source of knowledge.
The Hermitage organises dozens of various programmes that can be considered benchmarks for modern museology. I will particularly note the museum’s outstanding website: it is simply a wonderful initiative that allows millions of people from around the world to experience the masterpieces of global art without leaving their homes.
Earlier, Mr Piotrovsky [director of the State Hermitage] and I were talking about creating a network of branch museums, as I called it, but Mr Piotrovsky called it by a different term: satellites. In essence, these are small branches of the Hermitage in other Russian cities: Yekaterinburg, Omsk and Vladivostok.
Plans are in place, and one way or another, the plans are moving forward. I am certain – absolutely certain – that these museums will be unique, not just as regional centres but as national attractions. The Hermitage has created a restoration centre; I just saw the photographs, and it is simply an outstanding centre. An Armoury Museum is being created in the Exchange building. So overall, the Hermitage is developing.
I want to once again congratulate the Hermitage and all art lovers on this anniversary. I wish you all the best, and for all your plans to be realised. Naturally, as is customary in these situations, my colleagues and I did not arrive empty-handed. I would like to present a gift to the Hermitage: a clock created by Carl Faberge, and a clock-egg, another of Carl Faberge’s works.
The first is a clock created for the 25th anniversary of the marriage between Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna. The second is called the Rothschild-Faberge-Clock-Egg. I hope they will find a place in the Hermitage’s displays.
Thank you very much.