Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director General of the State Hermitage Museum, opened today in St. Petersburg the Peter the Great Gallery, the first part of the permanent exhibition entitled “Russian Culture in the First Half of the 18th Century.”
The exhibition is timed to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great. It will be displayed in eleven halls of the courtyard enfilade of the Winter Palace. The exhibition is centered on the arts, culture and history of Russia in the era of Peter I and his daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who followed in the footsteps of the first Russian Emperor. Gazprom is the general sponsor of the project.
Three halls are currently open to the public as part of the exhibition.
The first hall is devoted to the victory of the Russian army led by Peter I over Sweden in the Great Northern War. The key exhibits include: the painting “The Battle of Poltava in 1709” by French artist Louis Caravaque and one of the battle’s signature trophies, the saddle of King Charles XII. The hall also showcases a model of a triumphal column created by architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli for one of the squares in St. Petersburg.
The second hall contains paintings and sculptures depicting the Russian Emperor, his family and associates.
The third hall boasts unique exhibits from the personal collection of Peter I, as well as things that used to be stored in his showroom at the Winter Palace. Among them are articles of clothing and various items made by Peter I himself in his palace’s wood turning shop, as well as artworks, scientific instruments and devices he brought from his voyages across Russia and Europe.
Over the course of 2022, another eight halls will open as part of the exhibition. They will showcase lathes and turning tools of Peter I, interior and household objects, and finery of the era of Peter I and his immediate successors.
“We have entered the year 2022 – the 350th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s first Emperor, Peter the Great.
He considered the emergence of Russia as a leading world power and the creation of an empire to be his life’s work. He achieved that in his lifetime. Peter I gave all his energy and strength to this mission. He was a true passionarian.
The era of Peter I left a lasting legacy in the arts and culture of our country. Today, we are opening the first part of the Russian Culture in the First Half of the 18th Century permanent exhibition – the Peter the Great Gallery. It is very fitting that the anniversary events that will take place across the country this year are being launched here in St. Petersburg, the brainchild of Peter the Great and the capital of the Russian Empire, and right in its treasure trove of the Hermitage Museum,” said Alexey Miller.
“Jointly with Gazprom, we are inaugurating the big Hermitage program devoted to Peter the Great. The anniversary of Peter I is very important to our country and especially to St. Petersburg and the Hermitage. We cherish his belongings, his spirit and his memory. Peter the Great is an everlasting presence, the founder of an Empire. His history is also present in this hall, the so-called Rotunda.
We are grateful to Peter I for many things. It goes without saying that he was the founder of St. Petersburg. He was also the first Russian collector: it was he who brought the Venus Tauride and Rembrandt’s first painting to Russia. He founded museology with Russia’s first museum, the Kunstkamera. We are following in his footsteps, and we will praise the first Russian Emperor during this whole year through special celebrations. Today, we are holding the opening ceremony for the first halls of the Peter the Great Gallery, and the remaining halls will open by the end of 2022. I would like to thank Gazprom for being our partner and sponsor in this particular project,” said Mikhail Piotrovsky.
In June 2021, Gazprom and the State Hermitage Museum signed an Agreement of Intent at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The document outlines the main avenues of cooperation, including during the implementation of joint social-and-cultural projects.
Gazprom actively takes part in the preparation and holding of ceremonial events celebrating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter I. The celebrations will be held across Russia, with the main events taking place in St. Petersburg.
In addition to organizing the Russian Culture in the First Half of the 18th Century exhibition, Gazprom and the State Hermitage Museum are implementing a joint project to recreate the flags of the Preobrazhensky Life-Guards Regiment.
Moreover, Gazprom is joining forces with Russian museums and other organizations to pursue a number of other ambitious projects, namely, the 30 Paintings from the Life of Peter the Great exhibition on the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole); the exhibition at the Peter and Paul Fortress devoted to the search for and study of sunken ships from the era of Peter the Great; restoration of the painting “Peter I at Krasnaya Gorka” by Ivan Aivazovsky; the Imperial Hall project based on the imperial collection of the Kunstkamera; and the creation of the documentary entitled “Peter I” which is scheduled to premiere on Palace Square in St. Petersburg.