Sunday 4 January 2015

Hermitage Revealed

Delving into the TV schedules to find out if there's anything worth viewing this evening, I chanced upon Hermitage Revealed on BBC Four at 9pm. This is a film by Margy Kinmonth that traces the fall and rise of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg from imperial palace to one of the largest and most visited museums in the world. Its treasures include works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as post-revolutionary junk. If you miss it, it's repeated tomorrow and on Thursday (CLICK).


At 5/1/15, Anonymous Kris said...

Thanks for the tip. A good programme - especially with the off-screen narrator. My only real criticism was that the sculptures were not always named even when they were the focus of a shot. There were one or two for which that information would have been useful.

Programmes, or books, on mixed media galleries/museums always seem to favour the paintings. Is that because the public doesn't appreciate figurative sculpture - or because media people are mostly schooled in the quicker medium.

At 5/1/15, Blogger Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed it. The narration was informative, but not patronizing, pitched just right.

Believe it or not, the Hermitage has an entire gallery filled with statues by Antonio Canova. I noticed The Three Graces and L'amour with outstretched wings on Psyche. If you look at images for Canova on the Internet, you'll probably spot others you remember from the film.

Why do they concentrate on paintings? I guess cameramen like colour and most statues are greyish. But also there's really only one way to look at a painting: straight on. With statues, you need to pan round them to cover all the best shots. That could take some doing.

At 6/1/15, Anonymous Kris said...

It was good to see the Canova featured sculpture was correctly named in the subtitle as "Cupid reviving Psyche with a kiss". Too often it is called just "Cupid and Psyche" - which was a different Canova composition.

What eludes me is the one of a youth with what looked like a domestic pig running alongside him. Probably a Greek myth.

You are probably right about the camera and time problems of showing a sculpture "in the round". It has been the problem with most - but not all - sculpture documentaries. A pity - because 3D representation is what makes figurative sculpture so challenging to envisage and execute.

At 6/1/15, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, Kris

I had a browse on the Internet to see if I could find that sculpture of a youth with a pig, but couldn't find it. All I can think of is the sorceress Circe turning men into swine in Homer's "The Odyssey".

Sure it wasn't a shepherd boy with a fat sheep?

The Hermitage has both the Canova sculptures of Cupid and Psyche you mention. What a museum!

At 7/1/15, Anonymous Kris said...

Managed to find the "youth with pig" sculpture section on iPlayer. A complete 360 degree view at 21m30s to 21m41s. The rear view confirmed it as a boar.

Google pinpointed it as "The Death of Adonis" by Giuseppe Mazzuola (1644-1725). Another sculptor who has previously escaped my attention.

At 7/1/15, Blogger Unknown said...

Well done for tracking down the youth and pig. I haven't come across Giuseppe Mazzuola before either. There's a good picture (about 500kb) on the Hermitage website and a write up. Mazzuola was apprenticed to the great Bernini and spent nearly 30 years working on and perfecting his "The Death of Adonis". So it's a masterwork.

Here's the link:

This may be a computer specific link. (I need to watch out for these while doing by blog. No point in posting a link my readers can't use.) If so, go to the Hermitage website and use the search facility in the top right corner.

Thanks for spotting this and letting me know.


Post a Comment

<< Home