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Wonderful Collection of Book Treasures

12 Febuary, 2013 г.

An exhibition dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the Library of the State Hermitage Museum is opened till the 17th of March in The Twelve-Column Hall of the New Hermitage (Dvortsovaya sq., 2) .The jubilee exhibition features 234 book monuments which were received to the Library fund during two and a half centuries.

Some collections started to form as long ago as in Catherine II days. Among them there are albums with engravings, geographic maps and atlases, descriptions of travels, geographical research and discoveries. One of the example of fortunate book acquisitions of the Empress is Memories by L. Skrafton from the Voltaire library with his autograph, architectural treatises of famous architects (Marcus Vitruvius, Andrea Palladio).

Passion of Catherine II for the Russian history led to the appearance in the Library of Slavic manuscripts and theirs lists: annals, chronicles, lives. The acquisition of the manuscripts in Cyrillic and Latin, the medieval illuminated manuscripts continued throughout the entire history of the Imperial Library. This section of the exhibition is opened by a remarkable pergamic manuscript of the 11th century in Latin language: Marcus Tullius Cicero Treatise On the Friendship with impeccable grace of handwriting and text composition.

In 1792 together with the library of Peter III the books on military history, history of weapons, knights’ tournaments, wars and battles were receieved to the collection of Catherine II. The military topic has always been one of the main sections of the imperial collections. The worthy monument in the book collection is the multi-volume work of the military historian A.V.Viskovatov Historic Description of the Clothes and Weapons of the Russian Troops (1841-1862). This unique encyclopedia on the history of the military suit includes more than four thousand coloured lithographs.

An important place in the imperial collection was taken by the Western European collections of symbols and emblems, collecting of which started in the days of Catherine and continues till present day.

A special place in the Hermitage book depository is taken by the European and the Russian editions of the Bible and books on biblical subjects. The liturgical books were part of the personal library of the imperial family and the collection of the Cathedral of the Winter Palace, the Hermitage curators turned to them for attribution of plots of artistic works.

The Hermitage Book Collection also includes an interesting collection of the bibliophilic book and the artist’s book (livre d’artiste). The European bibliophilic book is featured at the exhibition with the French editions of the late 19th and early 20th century. Russian small edition of the masters of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century (B.D.Grigoriev, A.E.Kruchenykh, K.S.Malevich) — are the real masterpieces of the graphic and applied art.

Opening hours:

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:
Wednesday: 10.30-21.00

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