Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia Open “The Prado in the Hermitage” Exhibition
SAINT PETERSBURG.- Spanish King Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia on Friday presided over the opening of an exhibition of works from Madrid’s Prado museum in Russia’s imperial capital Saint Petersburg.
The State Hermitage Museum, the Museo del Prado and the State Society for Cultural Action [Sociedad Estatal de Acción Cultural] today signed the collaborative agreements for the celebration of the exhibitions “The Prado in the Hermitage” and “Treasures from the Hermitage”, to be shown this year in Saint Petersburg and Madrid respectively within the context of the bi-lateral Spain-Russia Year 2011.
The Prado in the Hermitage (25 February to 29 May 2011) presents in Saint Petersburg a group of 66 paintings from the Spanish, Italian and Flemish Schools that will allow Russian visitors to appreciate the historical and artistic importance of the Prado’s collections. At the end of this year, the Prado will present Treasures from the Hermitage (8 November 2011 to 26 March 2012) with 170 items (including classical art, decorative objects, paintings, sculptures and drawings) loaned from the Hermitage. They will in turn reveal the variety and breadth of that museum’s collections, which run from the 5th century BC to the 20th century.
The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg is one of the greatest and most spectacular museums in the world. Located in a series of palatial buildings in the banks of the Neva, in particular the Winter Palace, the residence of Catherine the Great in the 18th century, the Museum’s collections encompass pharaonic Egypt, Siberian cultures, the Greco-Roman world, Renaissance art, Neo-classical sculpture and the paintings of Matisse and Picasso.
The exhibition to be held at the Prado offers a unique and remarkable opportunity to see treasures from the Hermitage, in particular ancient gold objects, examples of the decorative arts, and the museum’s magnificent holdings of fine arts, paintings, sculptures and drawings. The exhibition will look at the principal figures in the creation of the palace-museum, the splendor of its interiors and the magnificent works of art and archaeology that it houses.
Paintings to be loaned to the Prado include major compositions such as Saint Sebastian by Titian, The Lute Player by Caravaggio, Saint Sebastian by Ribera, and Three Men at a Table by Velázquez. Two important works by Rembrandt, Portrait of a Scholar and Haman accepts his Fate will also be on display. Drawings on loan will include works by Dürer, Rubens, Watteau and Ingres, while sculptures include the terracotta study by Bernini for The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa and one of Antonio Canova’s masterpieces, Mary Magdalen in meditation. The exhibition will also have notable examples of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the Hermitage, including works by Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin and Matisse, the latter represented by The Game of Bowls and Conversation. There will be three canvases by Picasso, including Seated Woman and The Absinth Drinker, while this section will be completed with two Russian avant-garde abstract works, Composition VI by Kandinsky and Malevich’s enigmatic Black Painting.
Among the highlights from the Hermitage’s archaeological collections are the Comb with Battle Scene, a Scythian work from the 4th century BC, and the pieces of Siberian jewellery that came to the Museum from Peter the Great’s collection. Among the decorative works of art to be shown in Madrid will be the sword embellished with silver, rubies and diamonds that was given to the Czar in the 18th century by the Indian Ambassador, and the Vase of Flowers in rock crystal, gold and diamonds by Carl Fabergé (1846-1920), jeweller to the Imperial family.