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The Foundation supported the documentary feature film Hermitage Revealed

The Foundation supported the documentary feature film Hermitage Revealed

This year the Hermitage State Museum is celebrating its 250 years anniversary. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation has had a long lasting friendship and collaboration with the museum so it came as a more than a natural continuation of this relationship that the Foundation supported the documentary feature film Hermitage Revealed.

The film was directed by Margy Kinmoth to mark the occasion with a made-for movie theatre documentary. It was shot in the Winter Palace, the General Staff Building and in the store and conservation centre Staraya Derevnya designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on the outskirts of St Petersburg. It also features a section shot in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC and includes even an interview with Earl A. Powell, the director of the Washington National Gallery of Art.  The film director was given an unprecedented access to all the Hermitage complex buildings with its enormous assemblage of 3 million objects comprising one of the world’s largest and most sumptuous art collections.

“Hermitage Revealed” shows how wars and the revolution have transformed and endangered the famous museum, how dramatically the history of the country reflected upon the history of the Hermitage. Just to give one example,  Earl A. Powell in his interview describes how the banker and art collector Andrew W. Melon purchased 21 Old Masters, which are now on display in Washingtom but used to be part of the Hermitage collection until they were sold by the Bolsheviks in 1930s along with other treasures.

But what makes the film really unique is not even access to special collections and exclusive areas that remain hidden from the public eye and not even a thrilling journey through the museum’s dramatic history from imperial palace to state museum but the fact that human stories, lives and tragedies are revealed behind those monumental walls.

Though the audience’s main guide in the film is the Museum’s director  Mikhail Piotrovsky, whose father was also the Museum’s director, the main hero of the story is Catherine the Great, the Russian empress who founded a private museum in 1764 which was later opened to the public in 1852. She began buying entire major collections and managed to purchase among other works around 400 great paintings while waging two wars.

Hermitage Revealed premiered at the Moscow Film Festival and now is being screened as part of the UK-Russia “Year Of Culture”. It will be released in the cinemas across the UK on 9 September and later across the world in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and some other countries.