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The State Hermitage and Procter & Gamble are continuing their joint programme “The Hermitage Next to You”

Published 01 December 2021

December 2021 will see the start of a new phase in the strategic partnership between the State Hermitage and the company Procter & Gamble as part of their joint project “The Hermitage Next to You”. The programme has become not only an example of successful interaction between business and art, but also a pertinent response to the challenges of the time – the digitization of society and maintaining constant communication with one’s audience.

“One of the most important tasks that we tackled during the pandemic was interaction with our visitors thanks to working online. When it is unnerving or impossible to go to the museum, new online formats for interaction come to our aid. Now the State Hermitage’s Lecture Centre is shifting to a virtual format. Its further development raises the question of finance. The splendid project with Procter & Gamble is aimed at achieving an important social result – making something that is paid-for free of charge. The museum is a luxury. That means we need to arrange things so that luxury is accessible to all, and it is made clear thanks to whom it is accessible. Proctor & Gamble is making lectures accessible to 10,000 people. Another example of collaboration is the series of gift sets carrying images of paintings from the Hermitage collection. We spent a long time discussing and carefully selecting those paintings that, when people encounter them in their daily lives, will nurture the eye and taste,” Mikhail Piotrovsky. General Director of the State Hermitage, observed.

The programme “The Hermitage Next to You” includes 30 online lectures in the State Hermitage Lecture Centre that users will be able to attend free of charge thanks to the support of Procter & Gamble. This cultural and educational initiative between the company and the Hermitage under the difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will help to provide an introduction to masterpieces of world art in the Russian language to listeners around the world.

The first lecture in the cycle will be devoted to the theme of everyday life in art and will tell about how people’s daily existence has been depicted in paintings and where its true appearance has been somewhat embellished at the request of an artist’s client or at the whim of the painters themselves. How can we find out about daily life in centuries past? Objects of everyday use do not survive well, nor is it always easy to understand how they were used. How can we know how people styled their hair? How they wore jewellery? What a Christmas cake looked like and what utensils were used to make it? How tables were laid? How people looked after their homes and washed their laundry? What the right way is to bow or to perform a country-dance? Here Old Master paintings come to our aid. Is it always possible to trust the artist, though? Visitors to the online lecture centre will be able to find out the answers and much more from 2 December onwards.

“Looking to works of art particularly devoted to everyday life, we can see that at different times in history care for the family, for children and the home have been and still remain key values. And that is precisely the field in which our company knows practically everything. The partnership between P&G and the State Hermitage is not merely a union of business and culture, but also an opportunity to bring art even closer to a broad audience,” said Ruslan Nozdriakov, Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Stable Development for Procter & Gamble in Eastern Europe.

With the support of Procter & Gamble, the State Hermitage’s online lecture service plans to offer the following lectures in December:

  • 7 December – “The Hermitage – from treasure house of the tsars to NFT tokens”
  • 9 December – “Raphael’s Conestabile Madonna
  • 14 December – “Renoir’s Portrait of Jeanne Samary
  • 16 December – “The Gold of the Ancient Nomads”
  • 21 December – “The Roman Portrait. From the Hermitage’s treasury of sculpture”

The lectures will take place in an online format on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30 pm Moscow Time (UTC+3). To connect to the lectures free of charge, users will need to reserve a ticket and register through the special section of the official Hermitage website. An hour before the start of each lecture, registered ticket-holders will receive a message by e-mail giving a link to the broadcast (on the ZOOM platform). The number of places in the online lecture hall is limited.

In the run-up to the New Year holidays, as part of the partnership there will be a second issue of the limited series of gift sets with images of Hermitage masterpieces on the packaging. Participants in the renewed “Give Masterpieces of Beauty” programme this year will be such P&G brands as Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Old Spice. The exclusive gift sets carrying images of Alfred de Dreux’s Pug Dog in an Armchair, Albert Marquet’s Bay of Naples and Raoul Dufy’s Sailing Boats in Deauville, as well as Renoir’s Portrait of the Actress Jeanne Samary and Joseph-Désiré Court’s Portrait of Princess Yekaterina Scherbatova are a real journey into the world of art that will begin for many thousands of customers with the choice of products belonging to their favourite brands. Every pack carries a brief description of the work depicted, providing a unique opportunity to learn more about each of the paintings. By scanning a QR code in the catalogue or on special signs in the shops, customers will be able to immerse themselves in virtual reality and learn the story behind the creation of the works depicted. The gift sets will be available from 15 December 2021.

General Partner of the project