Canadian Friends of the Hermitage
Amis canadiens de l'Ermitage
Winter 2001 Volume II, Number 5
National Office, 280 Metcalfe Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, ON K2P 1R7 613-236-1116
A Russian cultural evening
The 14th of November 2001 at 7:30 pm at the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa
The Canadian Friends of the Hermitage, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University will sponsor a showcase that presents the talents of students who pursue Russian culture in their studies. There will be a variety of performances, including piano recitals and poetry readings.
Following the performances a small reception will be held at the same location. The Carleton University Art Gallery is located in the St.Patrick's building on the Carleton University campus.
Ample parking, or take the O-train or a bus. For more information, please
call our office at 236-1116
A Branch of the Hermitage in
by Leo Roggeveen: Director Foundation Hermitage aan de Amstel
With great pleasure I inform the Canadian Friends of the State Hermitage Museum on the development of the Hermitage aan de Amstel in Amsterdam.
The foundation Hermitage aan de Amstel will create a large branch museum of the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg in the centre of Amsterdam. An agreement to this effect has been signed with the State Hermitage Museum and the Russian Ministry of Culture in June 2001 during the visit of Queen Beatrix to Russia.
The Hermitage aan de Amstel will be an active, vivid cultural centre that hosts temporary exhibitions of works of art of the Hermitage and befriended museums in Russia. For the Hermitage St. Petersburg the Hermitage aan de Amstel will form its largest embassy in the Western world. For Amsterdam it will be an important new cultural institution with art that is complementary to existing public collections.
The centre will host two high quality exhibitions each year. Some of the proposed exhibitions are:
A primary goal of the centre, next to the organisation of large exhibitions, is the creation of an educational centre. Currently plans for the Hermitage for Kids are nearing its completion.
The exhibition centre will be located in a building "De Amstelhof", situated in the centre of Amsterdam on the embankment of the Amstel River. The building dates back to 1683. Approximately 4.100 square meters of exposition space will be created in De Amstelhof.
Focus is on both domestic and international visitors. The Hermitage aan de Amstel expects to welcome approximately 250.000 visitors per year.
The Hermitage aan de Amstel is sponsored by the Bingo Loterij (a large Dutch lottery) and has received amongst others the warm support of the city of Amsterdam and the Province of North-Holland. The Art Council of Amsterdam has acknowledged the cultural importance of the initiative.
The opening is planned in the fall of 2006. We hope to welcome many visitors from the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage.
Ottawa Chapter News Items
The Ottawa Chapter is looking for one or two people who are interested in joining our volunteer team on a regular basis. If you have four hours a week to spare, please call Doris Smith at 729-3504.
WE CELEBRATE HERMITAGE DAY
Tuesday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Please reserve your tickets by calling 236-1116. Tickets are $45 for members and for one guest per member, tickets for additional non-members are priced at $55 each. Note that as of November 9 2001 we are sold out, but you can add your name to the waiting list in case someone cancels.
Of Interest to Our Members
"The Wedding" directed by Pavel Lounguine will be screened on November 23rd in the Lamoureux Building, Room 122, University of Ottawa (145 Jean-Jacques Lussier Private). This film is part of the series Cinema International 2001. Free admission. For information call 241-0273 or 562-5800, ext. 3748.
On November 12, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra presents an all-Russian concert at the National Arts Centre. On the program are works by Tchaikovsky, Glazunov and Mussorgsky.
On December 2, the Kirov Orchestra from St. Petersburg is playing at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, led by its charismatic conductor, Valery Gergiev. The orchestra performs Stravinsky's Firebird, Debussy's La Mer, and is joined by young Russian virtuoso Alex Slobodyanik for Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40.
On January 22, Ottawa lawyer Paul Francis will speak at The National
Library about the eighteenth century Romanov rulers of Russia. His talk will
be followed by a 54-minute video on the Hermitage Museum, called
Catherine the Great - A Lust for Art (the first in a series of
three, called "The Hermitage - A Russian Odyssey"). Place: The Auditorium,
National Library of Canada at 7:30 p.m. Admission: Free for members, $6 for
general public, $5 for Friends of the National Library
Toronto Chapter News by Joan McNabb, President
You are all welcome to visit our office in the George Brown House - a heritage site - at 50 Baldwin Street (ON M5T 1L4), but please call first: (416) 979-0932
Wednesday, December 5th - Toronto's First Annual Hermitage Day Dinner
The Canadian Friends of the Hermitage
invites you to celebrate Hermitage Day with a Festive Russian Dinner
Tickets are $50.00 for members and for one guest per member
Mail Ticket order and cheque to:
Irina Minaev, a Toronto Friend, sent her impressions of our September lecture…
The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg with its architectural diversity and the biggest collection of Art in the world is a pride of every Russian.
Being a Russian born Canadian, I am no exception. It was a great pleasure for me to attend the lecture by Christina Corsiglia, Curator of European Art at the AGO, on the architectural history of the Hermitage.
Christina's professional, vivid and passionate presentation took us all on a wonderful virtual tour into the land of divine art, diverse architecture, luxurious ornate interiors and rich history.
I dare not say that I know the Hermitage museum very well - it would take months to be really familiar with it, so enormous is its collection. But I have been there many times and know my way around. Yet through Christina's enthusiasm, beautiful slides and impressive knowledge of the subject, I rediscovered familiar rooms and looked at them from a different angle, through the eyes of a person who has fallen in love with the Hermitage not long ago.
Now I am anxious to visit again. Thank you Christina, and all those who have made this event happen and who bring great art and history to Canada.
Toronto Winter Lecture Series
Tuesday, January 29: Her Excellency, Anne
Leahy, the former Canadian Ambassador to Russia, will speak on The
Hermitage and its Place in 21st Century Russia.
Tuesday, February 26: Dennis Reid, Chief
Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, will speak on Inventing Canada - the
collection of Canadian Art from the AGO which will be on exhibit in the
Hermitage in June, 2002.
Tuesday, March 19: Michael Parke-Taylor,
Assistant Curator of European Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, will tell us
of The Voyage into Myth - L'Invitation au Voyage French Painting from
Gauguin to Matisse coming from the Hermitage to Toronto and Montreal
in the Fall of 2002.
Each lecture will start at 7:00pm following a reception at 6:15pm.
Cost of Lectures: $40.00 for series of 3 lectures (only applies to members) $15.00 single lecture (for members) $20.00 single lecture (for non-members) To order tickets or for more information, please call 416-979-0932.
The English-language newspaper of St. Petersburg, Russia.
Published since May 1993 by Independent Press.
Galina Stolyarova wrote recently in The St. Petersburg Times that "no other museum in Russia has been so active internationally as the State Hermitage Museum," whose administration is dissatisfied even with the two and a half million visitors of last year. "It is looking," explained Ms. Stolyarova, "for ways to reach a wider audience."
Last Fall, London's Somerset House opened its Hermitage Rooms, and in the summer The Hermitage "joined forces with the New York Guggenheim Foundation to bring more contemporary art to the Hermitage, as well as holding joint exhibitions with museums around the world. One of these, the Hermitage Guggenheim Museum in Las Vegas has opened. In the meantime, the Museum is preparing to open another exhibition in Amsterdam."
"Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky says that the museum intends to make its collection accessible to the largest possible audience, especially by establishing facilities to host the museum's exhibits outside of Russia. Piotrovsky even has a name for this: cultural expansion…"
"According to Alexei Grigoriev, head of the Hermitage's Information Technologies Department, the Guggenheim is getting ready to present its improved Web site, www.guggenheim.com, with links to the Hermitage Web site, www.hermitage.ru, and extensive materials on the Hermitage collections."
Ms. Stolyarova quotes Alexei Grigoriev: "Now we have approximately one million visitors to our Web site per year. We are hoping that the numbers will grow because of our partnership with the Guggenheim." Mikhail Piotrovsky, adds Ms. Stolyarova, "is convinced that the museum's international activities contribute towards building a positive image of Russia abroad." He said, "When the Hermitage Rooms opened in London, for the first time in years the general tone of Russia-related stories in the British media was more favourable than usual."
It cannot all be done, Ms. Stolyarova acknowledges, without "Help From Friends". "Mr. Piotrovsky announced the decision to create a Friends organisation at a press conference on November 22, 1996. The next day, people were knocking at [the] door."
Doris Smith, Ms. Stolyarova reveals, "is the President of the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage, a non-governmental organization that was founded two years ago. She believes that friends' organizations help build an objective image of St. Petersburg."
"Misconceptions," said Doris Smith, "die hard, and this is one of the reasons I became involved with the Canadian Friends to get the word out and tell it as it is, so that people know about the beauty and culture to be found in St. Petersburg, and its jewel, The Hermitage Museum…"
"Many of our members have never been to the Hermitage, but are interested in the visual arts. Those working in museum-related fields know how much the Hermitage deserves to be known and supported. On the whole, there is a great deal of good will towards this exceptional museum and the beautiful palace it occupies."
At present, Ms. Stolyarova reminds us, "the Canadian Foundation is working on a five year project to assist The Hermitage to create an electronic inventory of its collections. This in turn will enable The Hermitage to have instant access to its millions of works of art, as well as to share relevant information over the Internet with scholars and the interested public… According to Doris Smith, the project will cost at least $3.3 million, and the Foundation is continuing to raise funds for it."
But, as Svetlana Filippova, Head of the Hermitage Friends Club, pointed
out: "The Hermitage is not just a grateful recipient of Western Help… it
participates financially, very often on a 50-50 basis, in all projects carried
out by our partner friends organizations."
A MESSAGE TO OUR SENIOR MEMBERS
While our organization grows and matures, we are still finding our way - learning what programmes appeal to our members, who our members are, and how we can develop our mandate within the State Hermitage Museum Foundation of Canada.
We now have members in many parts of Canada, and at all levels. About one half have joined at the "Senior" level of $30 per person per annum. Unfortunately, we find that it costs us at present at least $34 per person to process memberships, mail out a minimum of four issues of the Bulletin and organize programs and events.
Reluctantly your Executive Committee has approved raising the basic "Senior" level annual membership fee to $45, starting January 1, 2002.
Members at all levels will continue to receive the benefits presently available to them: the Bulletin, discounted tickets to lectures and special events, invitations to participate in cultural tours and members-only events. A new publication, the twice-yearly Hermitage Magazine, is presently in the planning stage and we hope that this additional benefit will be available, free of charge, to our members within a year.
IT EXCEEDED ALL OUR EXPECTATIONS
by Tamara Galko
Some of us left with trepidation. After all, we were leaving for Russia on September 20, only nine days after the events in New York. But then, it was long enough for stringent measures to have been put in place at the airports. These measures were very much seen as a comfort rather than as an inconvenience.
For most of us, this was the first time we had flown with Austrian Airlines and what an experience it was! Very good food and an individual screen for each passenger to play games or watch a choice of films. On the feeder airline, Lauda, which flew us from Vienna to St. Petersburg, the quality of service continued and we felt as if we were being treated to first class.
On arrival at the Hotel Angleterre, we were treated to a welcome dinner and the superlatives cascaded with each dish. For our purposes, the Hotel Angleterre is ideally placed. First, it is across the square from St. Isaac's cathedral, an imposing sight with which to be greeted as we left to, and returned from, our forays. It is some 15 minutes' walk from the Hermitage, five from Nevskii Prospect, the main shopping street, less than a block from very good restaurants that have menus written in both Russian and English and, of note for some of us, around the corner from a McDonald's. The hotel itself has very comfortable rooms, a fabulous buffet breakfast and a business office for those who send e-mails rather than pay high prices for telephone calls home.
On Monday, a day when the Hermitage is closed to the public, we were first given a general overview of the museum before being taken on tour. Given that the Hermitage consists of four buildings, some of which were palaces, and has some 3.1 million exhibits, even a day's visit can only be a cursory glossing over some of its gems. That is why we are given passes for our entire stay in St. Petersburg, to allow us to return at our leisure, which we did. The visit to the rooms that contain the Scythian gold treasures are worth special mention.
Need one say that there is no way that we could see everything? Even Dr. Piotrovsky, the Director of the Hermitage, says that he still has not seen it all!
We were blessed with good weather as we visited Peterhof with its golden fountains, Pavlovsk, Paul I's palace and Catherine II's palace at Tsarskoe Selo. The locations, architecture and interiors are breathtaking and one can't help but admire the dedication with which they are being rebuilt after the devastation and destruction they underwent during the Second World War.
Moscow, our second city on this trip, was a treat of Russian art, starting with the Tretyakov Gallery. The Pushkin Museum, where we saw part of Schlieman's treasures of Troy, also has many works of the Impressionists and other artists that most people have not even seen as reproductions - Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Corot, Gauguin.
We must mention the guides, both of whom were fabulous. Tatiana in St. Petersburg and Natasha in Moscow added so much to our trip with their knowledge, helpfulness and good humour.
As we could not get a direct connection from Vienna, Austrian Airlines treated us to a bus tour of the city and a "typical Viennese dinner".
This was the first time that we had a vegetarian with our group. She was very pleased with her food everywhere we went. But one should remember to remind the kitchen everywhere that "vegetarian" means "nothing that once lived". Some think that it means "no meat" and are surprised when their fish is turned down.
"This trip exceeded all our expectations." How gratifying it was to hear this from the participants.
IN THE PLANNING STAGE: September 2002 RIGA - TALLINN - ST. PETERSBURG
Join Doris Smith, President of the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage, in exploring the Baltic Capitals of Riga, Tallinn, her birthplace, and St. Petersburg featuring "A Private Day at the Hermitage". Please call the National Office to register your interest.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS