A 250th anniversary celebration for the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has generated fanfare and controversy. President Vladimir Putin was on hand for the museum’s jubilee reception December 7 when he presented the museum with a duo of dazzling gifts: a 19th-century clock made for Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and a clock-egg by jeweler to the tsars, Carl Fabergé.
Art Newspaper reports that in an interview with the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, Alexander Ivanov, a Russian businessman who opened the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany, confirmed that the egg was the one he bought at Christie’s in 2007 for a record £9m
Founded in 1764, the Hermitage grew from the art collection of Russian Empress Catherine the Great to become one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. The collection encompasses over three million objects housed in a series of historic buildings, including the former residence of Russian emporers known as the Baroque Winter Palace.
A massive 3-D show projected onto the facade of its General Staff Building drew crowds last Saturaday to St. Petersburg’s Palace Embankmen, to see a showcase of the Hermitage's finest works and a historical overview of the museum. The three-hour show, “Dance of History,” drew more than a half million visitors.
A British Museum loan of an Elgin Marble to the Hermitage for the anniversary celebration raised protests from the GReeks who seek the return of their coveted classical relic.