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08 May 2012 Lecture by Prof.Michael Petrovsky, the Director-General of State Hermitage Museum
Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, museums experts, diplomatic corps and media personalities, attended a lecture delivered by Professor Michael Petrovsky, the Director-General of the Saint-Petersburg-based State Hermitage Museum, among the biggest in the world. The lecture, entitled "Hermitage and its Branches", is part of the "Museums Month", organized on the sidelines of the "Manama as Capital of Arab Culture".

The lecturer highlighted the history, plans, and branches of the 250-year-old Hermitage Museum in Russia. He also shed light on his long experience in the field of museums. Over the two and a half centuries of its existence, the State Hermitage Museum has assembled collections comprising over 3,000,000 items, which present the development of world art and culture from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Today, the museum is one of the largest in the world.  The State Hermitage Museum originated with the purchase in 1764 by the Empress Catherine the Great of 225 paintings from the Prussian king Frederick II. These paintings were mainly from the Dutch and Flemish schools. The collection was housed in two pavilions, now called the Small Hermitage and the Old Hermitage, which were built in the 1760s and 1770s in the Classical Style, as additions to the official imperial residence, the Winter Palace with its splendid Baroque façade. In 1783, the collection of Count Baudouin, comprising 119 first-class paintings of the Dutch, Flemish and French schools, was purchased in Paris. This tradition of collecting works of art later became part of state policy. Sculpture, jewelry, medals, archaeological artifacts, scientific instruments, mosaics and other artworks were purchased over the years, making the Hermitage State Museum into a truly universal museum of art and culture. In 1852, the New Hermitage was the first Russian State museum to open its doors to the public.

A recent initiative of the State Hermitage Museum is the Digital Collection. This is the first stage of a project that aims to digitise the Hermitage’s entire collection, so that everyone may enjoy its treasures on the Web, wherever they are in the world. Advanced technology allows the collections to be searched according to a wide range of criteria: the artwork can be identified by artist, title, subject, or by certain attributes such as style, genre, theme, region or date. Artworks can be viewed from multiple perspectives, and those with similar characteristics can be called up and displayed. Hence the State Hermitage Museum is working on ensuring universal access to information about the museum and its history, and to the treasures it contains.
 
It is to be noted that, on the sidelines of Professor Michael Petrovsky's visit to the kingdom, an agreement was signed between the Culture Ministry in Bahrain and the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg in Russia, in line with the kingdom's keen interest to enhance cultural exchange with other countries.

He entered the Leningrad branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies as a research assistant in 1967 and worked there until 1991. In 1991 he was invited to join the Hermitage staff as first deputy director with responsibility for research work. In July 1992 Mikhail Piotrovsky was appointed Director of the State Hermitage by government decree. Dr. Piotrovsky has taken part in archaeological excavations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Yemen. He is the author of more than 200 scholarly works, including catalogues of Arabic manuscripts, the publication of mediaeval works and ancient inscriptions, works on the spiritual and political history of Islam and Arab culture, and on the archaeology of Arabia.

 Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a full member of the Russian Academy of Arts, and a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute, deputy chairman of the President's Council for Art and Culture, a professor of St. Petersburg State University, chairman of the Union of Museums in Russia, president of the Worldwide Club of St. Petersburgers, chairman of the board of the European University in St Petersburg, editor-in-chief of the magazine The Christian Orient.

 It is worth mentioning that, under the agreement, the mobile Tylos Exhibition," Journey Through the Afterlife"  opened earlier this month, will be showcased at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and then the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow. The cultural exchange agreement will promote and enhance the bilateral relationships between Russia and the Kingdom of Bahrain and will help visitors discover the ancient history of Bahrain. The idea behind this exhibition is the promotion of Bahrain as a tourist destination, as preparations are underway to celebrate Manama as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2012. 

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map