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: 2016-12-30
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The Making of the collection()
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Although visited now by thousands of people the Museum

traditionally retains the old name of the Hermitage attached to it in

the 1760s and meaning a hermits dwelling, or a solitary place. The

name is due to the fact that the Hermitage was founded as a palace

museum accessible only to the nearest of the near to the court.


A number of objects of which but a small part was later incorporated in

the museums collections were acquired in different countries by Peter

I. These were antique statues Marine landscapes, land a collection of

Siberian ancient gold buckles. However, the foundation of the

Hermitage is usually dated to the year 1764 when a collection of 225

pictures was bought by Catherine II from the Prussian merchant



A feature characteristic of the 18th century accusations was the

purchase of large groups of paintings, sometimes of complete

galleries, bought en blok at the sales in Western Europe.Count

Bruhls collection acquired in Dresden in 1769, the Gallery of Crozat,

bought in Paris in 1772 and the gallery of Lord Walpole acquired in

London in 1779 were the most prominent among the acquisitions made in

the 18th century. Together with numerous purchases of individual

pictures, they supplied the museum with most outstanding canvases of

the European school ,including those by Rembraandt,Rubens,Van Dyck

and other eminent artists, and made the Hermitage rank among the

finest art galleries of Europe. Works , commissioned by the Russian

court from European painters also enriched the Picture gallery.By

1785 the Museum numbered 2658 paintings. Prints and drawings, cameos,

coins and medals were likewise represented at the Hermitage.


The acquisition of complete collections and of individual works

of art was continued in the 19th century but on a more modest scale

than during the previous period. Among the most notable acquisitions of

the 19th century were: Mathew Malmaison Gallery of the Empress

Josephine bought in 1814; the collection of the English banker Coesvelt

consisting mainly of Spanish paintings, purchased in Amsterdam the same

year; as well as the paintings from the Barrbarigo Palace inVenice which

gave the Museum its best Titians.


As to the individual works of art, the acquisition in 1865 of

Leonardo da Vinces Madonna Littafromthe Duce of Litta collection and

the purchase of Raphaels Virgin and Child from the Conestebite

family in 1870, were important landmarks in the growth of the treasures

of the Hermitage.


In 1885 the Hermitage received an important collection of

objects of applied art of the 12th 26th centuries, gathered by

Basilevsky; , together with the Armoury transferred from Tsarskoe

Selo, notably enriched the Museum with a new type of material



The first decade of the 20th century witnessed the acquisition

of a magnificent collection including 730 canvases by the Dutch and

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