The Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and oldest in the world, is made up of six magnificent buildings on the banks of the Neva River, four of which are open to the public. The Winter Palace, former residence of the czars, houses the museum’s headquarters. Also part of the vast complex, the Old Hermitage, the Small Hermitage, and the New Hermitage.
The Museum received more than $500 million as a birthday gift, which will be used to restore the Winter Palace Square and the Small Hermitage building, where Catherine II founded this institution, in 1764. “The next thing will be to restore the interiors of the Winter Palace. We will transfer funds and renew the interiors”, said Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky.
In addition to the renovation of the existing facilities, a modern complex will be built to house additional works from the museum´s collection. Although, as a rule, these annexes are concentrated near the museum’s headquarters, in a large city like St. Petersburg that would impossible without ruining its historical center.
The Hermitage is considered one of the best museums in the world, next to the Louvre in Paris, the Prado in Madrid, and the Metropolitan in New York. It houses an inventory of more than three million pieces with significant artistic and historical values, including the largest collection of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, Goya, Raphael, Velázquez, Michelangelo, Manet and Matisse, among other artists. However, the Hermitage has extended its reach beyond Russia’s borders, with franchises in Amsterdam, London, Barcelona and Vilnius. ■