Venezia!

Professor Henk van Os curates exhibition for the Hermitage Amsterdam

The archaeological and historical collections of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg were highlighted earlier in the exhibitions 'Greek gold' and 'Nicholas and Alexandra' - which attracted a remarkable total of 160,000 visitors - and now it's the turn of the magnificent art collection. 'Venice! Art of the 18th century' is the third exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam.

Like St. Petersburg, Amsterdam is often referred to as the Venice of the North. This description will be all the more appropriate from 5 March 2005, when the Hermitage Amsterdam will present masterpieces from the collection of 18th-century Venetian art. This unusual exhibition was curated from the rich collection of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg by Henk van Os, advisor to the Hermitage Amsterdam. It includes 65 paintings, prints and drawings by artists such as Canaletto, Longhi, Guardi and Tiepolo. These works are complemented by superb examples of famous Venetian glass.

In the 18th century Venice experienced one last golden age in its already rich cultural history. The city was a centre of music, theatre, literature and art in this period. On show in the exhibition are examples of the celebrated vedute, the views of Venice painted by artists like Canaletto and Bellotto and particularly intended for travellers on the Grand Tour. Another genre, the capriccio, a fanciful view of the lagoon and aspects of the city, is represented by the delicate work of Francesco Guardi. Painters like Tiepolo, who also made designs for palaces in St. Petersburg, adorned Venice with imposing ceilings and altarpieces. Lastly, genre painters such as Longhi, recorded the city's social life, with its balls, carnivals and masquerades.

About the Hermitage Amsterdam

In the early 1990s Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg was considering the possibility of having satellites of the museum in the West. The Nieuwe Kerk and the Hermitage had already established a strong relationship through the organisation of major exhibitions, and Ernst Veen, director of the Nieuwe Kerk, suggested that Amsterdam would be the ideal location for a branch of the Russian museum, given the historical links between the two cities over the past 300 years.

At the same time the Nursing-home Amstelhof Foundation decided that the building no longer met modern nursing standards. The Foundation United Amstel Houses (an umbrella organisation of 23 institutions in the Amsterdam region) which Amstelhof is part of decided to build new nursing homes and to make the Amstelhof available exclusively for cultural purposes.

In 1988 Ernst Veen was awarded a prize for economic development in Amsterdam, the IJ Prize, and the money that came with it was used to fund a feasibility study for a Hermitage branch in Amsterdam. The results of this study proved favourable so the Stichting Hermitage aan de Amstel was founded. Because of the future destination of the Amstelhof as Hermitage Amsterdam museum (expected to be completed in 2007) the Reformed Congregation transferred the property to the City of Amsterdam in 1999.

In 2000 a part of the complex, the Neerlandia building on Nieuwe Herengracht, was offered to the Hermitage Amsterdam because it was regarded as unsuitable for nursing care. It was decided to open in this building at the end of February 2004 as the first phase with small exhibitions and a small educational element, the two cornerstones of the Hermitage Amsterdam.

About the State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is Russia's premier art museum, which originated as the private art collection of the imperial family and was nationalised and greatly expanded after the Revolution. The Museum's collection encompasses over three million works, and includes one of the world's greatest collections of Old Master paintings, important Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, Classical antiquities, European and Russian applied arts, Oriental art and items excavated by archaeologists throughout the former Soviet Union. It is housed in the buildings of the former imperial palace in the centre of St Petersburg, including the Baroque Winter Palace, the Neoclassical Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and Hermitage Theatre and the Historicist New Hermitage. The Museum opened its doors in 1852 and was known as the Imperial Hermitage Museum up to 1917. Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky has been the director of The State Hermitage Museum since 1992.

Opening hours

Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on April 26 and December 25

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

More information:
+31 (0)20 530 74 88

More information online ticketing:
+31 (0)20 530 87 55