News List

Hermitage Days 2020. 1–9 December

Published 01 December 2020

Every year on 7 December, the State Hermitage celebrates the Orthodox feast day of Saint Catherine, in honour of whom the museum’s founder, Empress Catherine the Great, took her name at the time of her Orthodox baptism. The year of the Hermitage’s foundation is considered to be 1764, when Catherine II acquired a collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky.

Each year, the Hermitage prepares a special programme that has come to be called the Hermitage Days. This year the festive events began on 1 December. The Hermitage Days will end in keeping with tradition on 9 December, the Orthodox feast day of Saint George, the patron saint of the Russian state.

During these days, the Hermitage reviews the preliminary results of the year, shares plans for the future, presents gifts to its visitors, organizes festive events and opens a number of new exhibitions.

Hermitage Days 2020

(all times are Moscow Time, UTC+3)

Tuesday, 1 December

11.00 am Internet Discussion with Mikhail Piotrovsky

On 1 December 2020, the traditional Internet meeting with Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, took place. The Internet discussion customarily marks the beginning of the Hermitage Days. The topic is "Results of the year and plans for the future". Mikhail Piotrovsky answered questions from Internet users about what has happened in the museum over the past year, how “Cultured Isolation” went, how the Hermitage is mastering online formats and living under new conditions. He talked about the museum’s exhibition policy, museum connections and satellite centres of the Hermitage, as well as plans for 2021:


A recording of the conversation can be found here.

4.00 pm Oman: the Land of Frankincense. Opening ceremony for the exhibition

The exhibition is devoted to archaeological treasures from the 3rd–1st millennia BC. It presents 14 objects from significant excavations carried out in the Sultanate of Oman over the past 50 years. The youngest find – a unique set of metal weaponry, includes the earliest quivers and bows ever discovered on the territory of Arabia. Besides metal artefacts, the exhibition includes very ancient stone mijmars (incense-burners), an Indus seal bearing an inscription and an astonishing stone countenance from a temple of Sin, the god of the moon.

After the opening ceremony, the exhibition curator Maria Sologubova gave a tour of the new display.

Wednesday, 2 December

The Day of Palmyra in the Hermitage

The Day of Palmyra, which was supposed to have taken place in November as part of the Cultural Forum, will be held in the Hermitage on 2 December. The day will see the opening of three exhibitions and a round table discussion on the problem of protecting the monuments and their restoration.

3.00 pm Plenary Session: Day of Palmyra. Problems of protecting the “Archaeological Monuments of Palmyra” UNESCO World Heritage site

The opening of the plenary session for participants from the professional community with presentations and moderation aimed at open discussion on the topic of problems of protecting the “Archaeological Monuments of Palmyra” UNESCO World Heritage site.

Moderator: Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage

The discussion will be broadcast on YouTube:

5.00 pm. Day of Palmyra in the Hermitage. Opening Ceremonies for the exhibitions “Two Palmyras”

The ceremonies will be broadcast on YouTube:

Two Palmyras. Architecture

This exhibition is devoted to the interrelations between Palmyra and Saint Petersburg, which began with a comparison of Catherine the Great to Queen Zenobia, and manifested themselves in the architecture and urban planning of Russia’s Northern Capital, primarily in the look of the Arch of the General Staff, whose composition repeats that of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra.

Two Palmyras: real and virtual

The display includes a detailed model of the territory of ancient Palmyra on a scale of 1:300 made by 3D printing on the basis of photogrammetric scanning carried out by specialists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Geoscan company; a detailed model of the Temple of Bel on a scale of 1:33 at two stages in its history – a complete reconstruction and its state on the eve of destruction – made by digital reconstruction performed by specialists from Mikhail Atayants’s Architectural Studio, and interactive software produced on the basis of that reconstruction which makes it possible to take a virtual walk around the temple area; information on the architecture of ancient Palmyra, the 2016 and 2019 expeditions, and a comparative series of photographs showing changes in the state of monuments over the past 250 years.

Two Palmyras. Archaeology

This exhibition is devoted to archaeological finds from Palmyra in the stocks of the Hermitage. It tells about the archaeological discovery of Palmyra, about how people in Saint Petersburg – the Northern Palmyra – have studied and continue to study Palmyran artefacts and monuments. The display will include items from the collection of the State Hermitage, the archive of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the collection of the architect Mikhail Atayants.

Thursday, 3 December

1.00 pm. The Hermitage for Children. An online quest “Munchausen’s Adventures in the Winter Palace”. A programme for children with special needs as part of the All-Russian Relay of Kindness festival

A recording of the programme will be available on the Hermitage’s social network pages

Friday, 4 December

12.00 pm. An event marking the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre

The general plan for the construction of the Hermitage Repository was approved in 1984. Initially it was not intended that the complex would be open to the public, but in the process of implementation a new concept emerged: the huge floor space made it possible to organize the presentation of the stocks to visitors with practically no change to the architectural design. On 4 December 1990, the first stone and a “time capsule” were ceremonially laid. In 2020, during “Cultured Isolation” a new “time capsule” with a message for posterity will be laid in the symbolic foundation stone for the third phase of construction.

The event will be available for viewing on YouTube:

2.00 pm Dmitry Vinogradov: The Man who Invented Russian Porcelain. Opening ceremony for the exhibition

This exhibition is dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Dmitry Vinogradov (1720–1758), the inventor of Russian porcelain.

The display will feature unique examples of Vinogradov’s porcelain from the State Hermitage collection. They include a one-of-a-kind bowl embellished with a relief grapevine bearing Vinogradov’s personal underglaze blue ‘W’ mark and the date “1749”; a snuffbox in the form of a package addressed to Empress Elizabeth, the founder of porcelain manufacturing in Russia (in 1744); an Easter egg painted with flowers and a stamp in the form of the Russian double-headed eagle; as well as pieces from Empress Elizabeth’s Personal Service. After the opening ceremony, the curator, Irina Bagdasarova, will speak about the display:


5–6 December

Hermitage Days on Palace Square

From 6.00 pm. “The Image of Victory in the Collections and Fate of the Hermitage”

A 3D mapping show

Today we all find ourselves in a state of bewilderment and a struggle with a previously unknown enemy. That is why we decided to speak during the Hermitage Days in the language of masterpieces from the museum collection about something that concerns everyone right now – about Victory. About its various guises and faces, but, most importantly, about its inevitability. Provided, of course, that we all retain our common sense, determination and human dignity.

Tickets are available free of charge from the website

On 6 December, at 9.30 pm, the 3D mapping show will be available for viewing on the website and also on the project’s own website

Sunday, 6 December

5.00 pm "Children’s Swan". Online broadcast of the performance from the Matisse Hall

We present a new event in the Children's Swan (Detskoye Lebidinoye) charity project, devoted this time to masterpieces of the Hermitage collection, the paintings Music and Dance. The unique project helps children who find themselves in a situation of prolonged isolation to get the opportunity to interact with a great museum, with its masterpieces, halls and history through live broadcasts and specially prepared educational programmes devoted to culture and art. For the Hermitage’s birthday, an online guided tour about the history of Henri Matisse’s masterpieces has been prepared together with a performance of the Neapolitan dance from the ballet Children’s Swan that is based on the composition and internal dramatics of the celebrated paintings Music and Dance in a choreographic version by the leaders of the project – Honoured Artist of Russia Irina Perren and Marat Shemiunov. Soloists of the Mikhailovsky Theatre ballet will dance to the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky in the year of the 180th anniversary of his birth.

This event will be broadcast on YouTube:

Monday, 7 December

12.00 pm Mikhail Piotrovsky’s press conference

The traditional press conference given by Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, on the results of the year 2020.

A broadcast of the conference will be available through the Hermitage’s social media:

Tuesday, 8 December

International Hermitage Friends' Day

Free of charge entry to the museum

Traditionally, during the Hermitage Days the museum makes a gift to its regular visitors and guests of the city. On 8 December, entry to the Main Museum Complex, General Staff building, and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory will be free of charge for all individual visitors.

Those who wish to visit the museum without paying on this day must obtain a ticket through the special website – On the site you can chose one of the museum locations and one of the suggested fixed routes, as well as a time slot. Free-of-charge entry tickets on this day are available only for those routes that do not entail guiding services: fixed route No 1 around the Main Museum Complex (entry by way of the Jordan Staircase), fixed route No 2 around the Main Museum Complex (entry by way of the Church Staircase). routes around the General Staff building and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory. A maximum of four tickets can be included in a single order.

After completing an application on the website, the visitor will receive an e-mail with an electronic ticket that can be printed out or stored on a smartphone. To enter the museum, you need to present the ticket’s barcode to the reader on the turnstile. The electronic ticket is valid for the chosen location and time slot only on the day of the visit.

12.00 pm Programme “15 Years of Collaboration. The State Hermitage and the Heineken company. A time of discoveries of new sources of energy in art”. Presenting the results of the energy-efficiency project and online discussion

The year 2020 saw the 15th anniversary of the signing of a memorandum on collaboration between the museum and the Dutch brewing company Heineken. This year also sees the completion of a three-year joint project to increase energy efficiency that has been carried out on funds provided by the Heineken company.

The event will be broadcast on YouTube:

4.00 pm Opening ceremony for the exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity”

This retrospective exhibition of the work of the celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton in the General Staff building makes it possible to see the transformation of the celebrity industry in the 20th century and to trace the development of the history of photography, which became a workshop for the creation of striking, attractive personalities. The display includes over 100 works taken by Beaton over the years, from the archive of the photographer’s studio, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the archives of the magazines Vogue and Vanity Fair. There are not only Cecil Beaton’s most famous photographs, but also items that provide an insight into the “backstage realities” of fashion shoots in the middle of the last century – a series of proof prints marked with the photographer’s comments, collages and pictures with evidence of retouching. Particular attention is paid to Cecil Beaton’s links to Russian culture – one section of the display is devoted to the pictures he took for the Ballets Russes.

After the official ceremony, the curator, Darya Panayotti, will give a guided tour of the exhibition:


7.00 pm Video Greeting on the International Hermitage Friends' Day


Wednesday, 9 December

12.00 pm Formal Ceremony marking Saint George’s Day

The Saint George Hall of the Winter Palace will be the setting for a traditional formal ceremony marking Orthodox Saint George’s Day.

A live broadcast will be available:

4.00 pm Opening ceremony for the exhibition “After Raphael. 1520–2020”

This exhibition is timed to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael (Raffaello Santi) and is devoted to the phenomenon of his influence on European art from the 16th century to the present day. Over the course of five centuries, exponents of Mannerism and Academicism, Caravaggisti and masters of the Baroque, Romantics and Modernists have invariably compared their own work with Raphael’s legacy. An analysis of this dialogue is capable of clarifying many things, both in the oeuvre of the Renaissance master himself and in the development of the whole of art in the Modern Era and our own times. The exhibition features several hundred works of painting, graphic art, sculpture and applied art (some of which have never been exhibited previously) – works by Raphael himself, and also Giulio Romano, Parmigianino, Poussin, Rubens, Mengs, Ivanov, Venetsianov, Ingres, Corot and Picasso. The main premiere of the exhibition will be the presentation of a set of frescoes by the school of Raphael that have been cleaned of later overpainting.

After the opening ceremony, the exhibition’s curators, Zoya Kuptsova and Vasily Uspensky, will be giving a guided tour of the display: