The Hermitage State Museum in Italy

Written by  Piergiorgio Dall'Acqua

Our city has been chosen to house “Ermitage Italia”.

The agreement between the Hermitage State Museum and the province of Ferrara, the city of Ferrara and the Emilia–Romagna region, was signed on 23 February last year in St. Petersburg. This date set in motion the schedule which will establish the Hermitage scientific and cultural centre in Ferrara. In October of 2007, the inauguration of the various spaces will take place and with it the centre will start its activity. The province of Ferrara has given over the castle which belonged to the Estense family for exhibitions and entertaining, and the group of buildings in Giglioli Park, for offices and guest accomodation. Ferrara was(proposed and chosen to house the Hermitage museum complex not only because it is an area rich in art and culture but also because of its importance on the Italian art scene. The city’s strong points are as follows: - it is one of the most well known county towns in Europe, famous for its Renaissance history, culture, town planning and architecture; - the province is the proud owner of two important UNESCO certificates which recognise Ferrara and the delta of the river Po as World Heritage Sites. - the UNESCO connection has led to the role as chairman of the group of Italian cities that are also World Heritage site for the mayor of Ferrara. - for many years Ferrara has organised cultural events of the highest quality; - the collaboration between the province of Ferrara and the Hermitage began in 2004 when Antonio Lombardo’s bas-reliefs left their home in the Russian museum to be exhibited in the castle of the House of Este, where they had originally hung in the legendary private study of Duke Alfonso the First. A tight network of collaborators from the business, banking and institutional communities connected to the city have been involved in Ferrara’s candidature. The participants are: the Emilia-Romagna region, the city of Ferrara, the banks Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara and Fondazione Carife, Ferrara University, all the Departments for Cultural Heritage in the region, the Precious Stones Workshop in Florence, the local and regional Manufacturers’ Associations, the Ferrara Institute for Renaissance Studies.

The presence of this network proved to be an important element in swaying the of Board of Directors’ decision at the Hermitage.

At this point there is the matter of setting up a Foundation with a Board of Governors and a scientific committee; this is planned to take place between now and October. The aim of the former, composed of the founding partners: the province of Ferrara, the city of Ferrara and the Emilia-Romagna region, will be to put into practice the cultural programme of the scientific commitee. The latter which will have as its chairman professor Michail Piotrovkij, also director of the Hermitage State Museum, will be made up of scolars and experts from both the Russian and Italian cultural scene. The activity of the centre will focus on creating and implementing a scientific programme, consisting of research, study, and cultural projects as well as publishing and exhibitions mainly dedicated to the results obtained from its own programme.

Over the next few years some important artistic and cultural events are to be announced. The first, which is planned for the spring of 2008, will have as its subject, painting in Ferrara in the 16th century. This is to bring to a close the year dedicated to the House of Este and to tie in with another large exhibition of 15th century painting planned at Palazzo dei Diamanti. The Rennaissance works from Ferrara normally conserved at the Hermitage will be exhibited in the castle at Ferrara so as to be admired by an Italian audience, in many cases for the first time. The second, planned for the year 2010, deals with the theme of Islam. Again this event will dip into the vaste patrimony, actually one of the largest in the world, of valuable objects, documents and art works kept at the Hermitage. Important cultural institutions from Russia, Iran and all over the East will be involved. This too promises to be an important occasion that will involve Ferrara yet again in international relations and artistic and cultural exchange on the one hand; on the other there will be the chance to consolidate the way towards peaceful comunication and coexistence with different peoples thanks to the exchange of knowledge, both historical and artistic.



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