…because for my money you will find no greater art collection on this fair planet, than right here with Saint Pete in The Hermitage (that’s the turquoise-y building to the right of my banner image)… and this year is its 250th birthday… not since it was built, but as an art museum, which (not knowing how old other galleries are, and as usual being too lazy to do the research and find out) I find quite impressive.
Founded by Catherine the Great (and as nicknames go that’s a heckuva lot better than Attila the Hun or Jones the Milk… although Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor isn’t far off) in 1764 (you do the maths) when she purchased an initial collection of 225 paintings for her Winter Palace (as it is also known), seemingly just to piss off King Frederick II of Prussia who had ordered the collection but couldn’t stump up the cash, it is now reputed to own over three million works of art (although not all are on show at the same time).
There have been several events to mark this momentous occasion, but last night’s was pretty special…
Or rather, a reasonably impressive (but not revolutionary) display of 3D projection mapping onto the General Staff Building opposite (that’ll be the big curved building to the left of my banner image) was rendered utterly stunning when Saint Pete turned on the snow.
Proper turned on the snow!
250 years of Hermitage history: tsars, tsarinas, fire, war, revolution, siege, and of course art; played out across the building facade to a classical score, whilst the weather nipped cold at our faces and put warmth in our hearts. The 10 minute show was free for everyone to enjoy and repeated every half hour from 7pm until 10pm.
There has been a lot of presumed (by many commentators) posturing in this country, especially over the past year, whereby the many everyday issues facing the man on the street have seemed almost brushed over in preference for the grand spectacle to rouse national pride… But I have to say, even cynical me couldn’t fail to be moved by this.
Maybe it’s because as far as I am aware it was a privately funded event… maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for snow and don’t believe even the Russian government would try to take credit for… I’m kidding, of course they would. And if they did I bet many of those men on the street would believe them.
“Почему ты говоришь по-англиский?” (*)
Actually, there are a lot of public events like this at Saint Pete’s. The first two times I came (in February and May) there were firework displays, which meant that when I came in September to arrange moving here I was rather disappointed that they hadn’t made more of an effort… But last night made up for it. Saint Pete, you are forgiven…
And I would hope that even the casual reader (and I have far too many hits already for it still to be just friends) would realise by now that I am the sort of person who prefers to live life in the moment than bother recording the whole thing to never watch back later, but there were plenty who did, so if you haven’t seen any 3D projection mapping or are simply interested in seeing the whole show then I’ll give you some Cyrillic to cut and paste into You Tube search and you can take your pick. If anyone finds a really good one then please post the link in the comments.
Эрмитаж 250 лет Бал Истории
‘ermitage 250 years ball (of) ‘istory
* “Pachemu ti gavarish pa-angliskiy?” (Why are you talking English?)