News List

Online Meeting of the Heads of Hermitage Foundations and Friends’ Organizations

Published 09 November 2020

On November 3 2020, the international meeting of the Heads of Hermitage Foundations and Friends’ organizations took place in the format of an online conference.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Hermitage Friends’ organizations and Foundations from Russia, the Netherlands, USA, Great Britain, Italy, Israel, Finland, and China.

The first international Conference of the Hermitage Friends was organized in St. Petersburg back in 2002 with the participation of four then existing Hermitage Friends’ organizations. Since that date, regular meetings have been held every two years. However, for the first time in more than twenty years’ existence of the International Hermitage Friends’ Club the conference was held online.

The meeting was opened by the General Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Prof. Mikhail Piotrovsky: “Culture remains the bridge that connects countries and people, even during the pandemic. The Hermitage develops this bridge through the network of its satellites, as well as through a wide range of online activities." Prof. Piotrovsky told the conference participants about the life of the museum during the lockdown and afterwards. He also spoke of various temporary exhibitions that the Hermitage continues to open: “Our exhibitions provide a kind of ‘medicine’ for a pandemic. Some of them are ‘tranquilizers’, these are exhibitions such as Art Deco Figurines from the Collections of Sergey Morozov and Evgeny Gerasimov or A Renaissance Model of the Universe. Others are strong ‘medicine’: Zhang Huan. In the Ashes of History, Lk 15, 11–32. Rembrandt. Dedication, Alexander Sokurov, and the forthcoming 2020 exhibitions The Iron Age. Europe without Borders, After Raphael. 1520–2020 and Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity .”

Representatives of the Hermitage Friends’ Club in Russia and foreign Friends’ organizations shared their experience of surviving in the lockdown situation, which was specific for each attending country. They also talked about various projects in support of the Hermitage Museum implemented in 2020, and discussed proposals for developing cooperation not only with the Hermitage, but also between the Friends. Among the suggested initiatives were, for example, production and promotion of global audiovisual content for the Friends' websites and social media, development of holistic identity for the Hermitage Friends, exchange of useful materials, and holding f such working meetings more frequently: up to four times a year.

In conclusion, Prof. Piotrovsky urged the participants to be even more proactive and creative, responding to the challenges of today. He also thanked all Friends for supporting the projects of the State Hermitage Museum and for spreading the ‘Hermitage style’ throughout the world. Prof. Piotrovsky stressed that today more than ever, the words are true that art is a luxury, but a luxury accessible to everyone.


List of participating organizations:

The State Hermitage Museum

Foundation Hermitage Friends in the Netherlands

Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA)

Hermitage Foundation (UK)

Association of the Friends of the Hermitage Museum (Italy)

Hermitage–Italy Foundation

The Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel

The Hermitage Friends' Club in Finland

Beijing Hermitage Foundation