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Opening of the exhibition ‘For Service and Bravery’. 250 Years of the Military Order of St George

Published 05 December 2019

On 4 December 2019, the exhibition ‘For Service and Bravery’. 250 Years of the Military Order of St George began working in the St George Hall of the Winter Palace.

The formal opening ceremony was performed by Georgy Vadimovich Vilinbakhov, Deputy General Director of the State Hermitage for Research and State Herald Master of the Russian Federation

“The exhibition that we are opening in the run-up to St George’s Day is devoted to what is probably the most famous decoration in this country. The Order survived for several centuries, was abolished in the Soviet era and revived in the 1990s. This exhibition gains particular meaning from being held in the Saint George Hall of the Winter Palace, which was named in honour of Saint George and to a significant degree in connection with this Order,” Georgy Vilinbakhov said.

The ceremony was enhanced by the Admiralty Band of the Leningrad Naval Base conducted by Valentin Liashchenko performing three marches: the Saint George March, the March of the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment and, the best known, the Farewell of Slavianka.

The exhibition ‘For Service and Bravery’. 250 Years of the Military Order of St George brings together more than 400 items from the stocks of the State Hermitage. Besides the insignia of the order, it presents the statute of the order, Saint George presentation weapons, paintings, works of graphic art, sculptures and photographs, pieces of decorative and applied art, numismatic items, elements of uniforms and printed publications. The display is arranged along chronological lines. It opens with painted and sculptural portraits of Catherine II, who on 26 November (7 December New Style) 1769, on the Orthodox feast day of Saint George the Bringer of Victory, established an order of chivalry in his honour, and allows visitors to trace how the history of the award developed over the next two and a half centuries. The exhibition also encompasses our own time, when the Order of Saint George has been reinstated as the highest military honour of the Russian Federation.

The scholarly consultant and co-author of the exhibition concept is Georgy Vadimovich Vilinbakhov.

The exhibition curators and other co-authors of its concept are Lidia Igorevna Dobrovolskaya, Head of the Sector of Numismatic Items from European and American Countries, and Alexandra Mikhailovna Lukyanchikova, a researcher in the Department of the History of Russian Culture and Keeper of the State Hermitage’s Precious Metal Stocks.

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The General Sponsor of the exhibition is the Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group.