Boris B. Piotrovsky Hermitage Memorial
15 February, 2006
Mikhail Piotrovsky. The Elephant and "Avian Flu" in the Koran.
I.V. Kalinina. On a Subject from the Collection of Shigir Antiquities.
The report is about the head of an elk cow from the Shigir peat bog which
has been displayed in the permanent exhibition of the Department of the
Archeology of Eastern Europe and Siberia and was included many times in
exhibitions abroad. In the exhibition catalogues this masterpiece of primitive
art is mentioned as a rod.
The form does not allow the head of the elk-cow to be viewed as an insert,
the top of a staff, rod or similar object. Trasological analysis and indirect
data allow us to imagine that this was part of the handle of a wooden
mallet for stunning fish. However, such a subject can be sacral and used
in religious practice.
L.A. Vaiman. An Urart cuneiform tablet from Karmir-blura on payment of
tribute. Purpose - translation from one language to another.
M.M. Dandamaeva. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Legends and the Historical
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a celebrated wonder of the world which
to this day inspire architects to imitation, though they are an unexplained
mystery: who created them; in which city were they found; and did they
ever really exist? These questions were mixed up in the time of the Ancient
Greeks, and 20th century scholars expressed contradictory hypotheses about
the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The objective of this report is to systematize
the available data, to present a survey and comparative analysis of all
the sources which have survived to our day: Greek, Babylonian, and archeological.
A.Ya. Kakovkin. The Excavations of Jean Claude in Bawit and the Reaction
to them in Russia.
At the beginning of the 20th century, French archeologists near Bawit
(Middle Egypt) discovered the ruins of a monastery of Apa Apollo and a
necropolis. The excavations provided diverse material that was very valuable
both in terms of science and art. The leader of the expedition Jean Claude
(1871-1943) regularly published accounts of the course of the work which
evoked huge interest in the scientific community. Russian scientists were
also interested. In the period 1903-1905 the popular journals Historical
Herald, New Journal and Foreign Literature, Art and Science
and the scientific publication Byzantine Annals published information,
reports and reviews of Claude's work (B.A. Turaev, L.B. Ainalov, V. Sonkin
et al). Later the drawings of Bawit were widely used by N.P. Kondakov
and V.N. Lazarev in their work.
M.R. Kramarovsky, V.D. Rukin. Glass with Polychrome Enamel in the Eastern
Crimea (Archeological Context and Attibution).
The report analyzes a group of finds of rare European glass with polychrome
enamel. Fragments of three beakers, of which one was assembled in full
form, were discovered in a closed complex of the household waste pit of
a potter in the rural settlement of Bokatash II, near the Golden Horde
Solkhat. The complex can be dated by coins found there to the second half
of the 13th - early decades of the 14th century. Typological and stylistic
analysis allows us to attribute the vessels with three-color painting
in enamel to the range of Venetian glass from the "group of Aldrevandino:
(Murano (?), late 13th - early 14th century). The heraldry on one of the
vessels links the beaker to the Genoese family Monelli, whose members
are well known from documents (Kafy, 1289-1290). The "Monelli Beaker"
is the first instance of European glass from the "group of Aldrevandino"
in the Crimea.
N.V. Yankovskaya. Alexander the Great.
S.O. Androsov, N.Yu. Zharkova. Sculpture on the Attic of the Menshikov
The report is an attempt to recreate the image of six lost wooden statues
that once were found on the attic of the Menshikov Palace and are depicted
on A.F. Zubov's engraving "Entrance from the Sea in Triumph,"
1714. In the opinion of the authors, the figure on the right can be interpreted
as depicting Peter the Great. The adjacent figures are the Christian virtues
of Prudence, Mercy and Moderation, and also the Antique gods Jupiter and,
possibly, Dionysus. The movement of the hand of Prudence can be interpreted
as a summons to turn one's gaze to heaven, and the gesture of the figure
on the right indicates some sign which has appeared in heaven. Possibly
in this way they turned the attention of the viewer to a flying eagle
which would have embodied the authority over the territory. The entire
sculptural group on the attic was intended to glorify the virtues of the
Russian monarch and also the idea of the legitimate rule over the Neva
The engraving by Zubov does not give us the slightest idea of the artistic
features of the statues and the manner of their execution. Practically
no genuine work of carvers in wood who worked in Petersburg soon after
its founding has been preserved. Therefore an attempt to recreate the
statues on the attic of the Menshikov Palace in life size and cast them
in bronze appears to be impractical.
L.K. Kuznetsova. The Russian Order of the last Crimean Khan.
In 1777 the Russian protege Shagin-Girei (Shakh-in Girei, circa 1748-1787)
became Khan of the Crimea, a position independent of Ottoman Turkey. When
he was still heir to the throne, he visited Petersburg in 1771. However,
a pro-European minded ruler could not long remain on the throne and on
17 April 1783 he voluntarily abdicated and his former subjects took an
oath of allegiance to Russia. In the summer of 1783, Shagin-Girei wanted
to become a Russian general. On the order of Catherine the Great, the
Petersburg jeweler Jean-Pierre Adore made specially modified symbols of
the highest Russian Order - St Andrew - for Shagin-Girei conferring on
him general's rank: an oval medallion covered in diamonds (instead of
a cross) and a star with the motto "Loyalty", as well as epaulettes.
M.E. Ilina,S.A. Matsenkov. The Design and Decoration of the Multi-Story
Ceilings of the New Hermitage (Based on Archival Materials and On-Site
The report uses the examples of the Aura (N 108), Dutch Painting (N 248),
Athena, Īval (N 112, 113) and Twelve-Column (N 244) rooms, where on-site
investigation was made. The specific features of the design of the ceilings
between the first and second stories and decorative finishing of the ceilings
and floors are discussed.
Detailed description is provided on the flat riveted T-beam which is part
of one of the first Russian iron building elements in the first half of
the 19th century and was the basis for the ceiling of the halls, and also
the flat iron caisson ceiling.
During their research in the archives and on-site observations made as
preparation for scientifically based restoration work, the authors set
for themselves the main task of preserving the historic building elements
and genuine decorative finish of the interiors of the New Hermitage.
E.V. Pavlova. "Socialist Reconstruction" under B.V. Legran
and I.A. Orbeli. From the History of the Hermitage Exhibition. 1932-1937.
The period 1932-1937 was one of "Socialist Reconstruction" of
the museum. It was a time when changes were made to the works on display
in keeping with the new principles of the country's life and new policies.
The "Socialist Reconstruction" of the Hermitage began in 1932.
The was the start of the second Five Year Plan - a period when a new country
was being created, a time of new ideology, the "new man' and "new
society. The second Five Year Plan in the museum can be divided into two
parts: the time of the "reign" of B.V. Legran (1931-1934) and
the time of I.A. Orbeli (1934-1937). The role of Boris Vasilievich Legran
is usually disparaged. He is mostly accused of failing to oppose the sale
of museum treasures and of creating a "vulgar" exhibition imbued
with ideology. In fact, the museum was turned into an instrument of propaganda
and re-shaping the masses. However, the huge task of reorganizing the
palace space and turning objects of art into "evidence of the oppression
of peoples" was never achieved in any world museum.
Among all the work carried out in the State Hermitage during the 1930's,
it is especially worth mentioning the "musical exhibitions."
That they appeared in the museum was due exclusively to B. Legran and
A separate part of the work is devoted to the propaganda of the achievements
of the Hermitage in the 1930's. This was the little-known special exhibition
of 1934 entitled "Our achievements in scientific research and exhibitions
of the museum as the result of the first Five Year Plan and the first
year of the Second Five Year Plan" and the film "Our Museum,"
which was especially created for the Paris exhibition of 1937.
T.F. Bolshakova, V.E. Alifirenko. Standards and Rules in Modern Requirements
for Controlled Climate Installations in Museum Buildings.
The determination of the optimal values for parameters of the atmosphere
which correspond to the various types of monuments, technical possibilities
of air conditioning installations and the climate of the region where
one or another museum is located is a task that is highly complex and
has more than one solution.
Existing regulations, instructions and rules cannot be taken as unconditional
guides to action. Often they are adopted without special discussion and
understanding of the physical processes that occur in museum monuments,
and sometimes they can appear to be not only inadequate but even harmful.
Thus, for example, the international standard of 50% relative humidity
of the air is too high for heated premises in a cold climate (the middle
zone of Russia, Canada) and can be inadequate for unheated premises existing
in a natural temperature regime.
The basic norms on lighting exist in world museum practice since the middle
of the last century. They are based on measurements of illumination depending
on the light sensitivity of the human eye. The use of modern systems of
lighting makes it possible to reduce the destructive action of light,
influencing changes in the visible part of the spectrum, and high-technology
measuring and control apparatus allows us to evaluate the intensity of
a light source by the energy characteristics of the source. In the future
this can serve as a reason for reviewing existing standards on lighting
The choice of an optimal microclimate in museum buildings and choice
of materials should be strictly individual to each separate museum. The
right approach makes it possible to have conditions of microclimate that
approximate a natural background, and this in turn facilitates reduction
of the energy intensive system of air conditioning and simplification
of its design. In some circumstances it makes it possible to achieve stabilization
of the microclimate and use simpler means.
The readings take place in the Hermitage Theatre. Admittance is from
the Small Entrance, Dvortsovaya Embankment, 34. The beginning of the morning
session is at 10.30 and the afternoon session begins at 14.00.