The collection of French art in the Hermitage

Room 284-289. 18th century art. This room contains several pieces by one of Frances most eminent artists, Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)

The collection of French art in the Hermitage

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Министерство образования Российской Федерации

Санкт-Петербургский государственный инженерно-экономический университет


Институт туризма и гостиничного хозяйства











Курсовая работа


На тему «The collection of French art in the Hermitage»

по дисциплине «ИЭД»













5014 гр., 2 курса

Измакова Мария


Н.А. Лаковская





2002 год


The Hermitage is one of the greatest museums in the world. Put together throughout two centuries and a half, the Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Today the Museum is creating its digital self-portrait to be displayed around the world. The collection of Western European art is regarded as one of the finest in the world, and forms the nucleus of the Hermitage display. It occupies 120 rooms in the four museum buildings, and reflects all the stages in the development of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collection includes numerous works by outstanding masters from Italy, Spain, Holland, Flanders, France, England, Germany, and other Western European countries.

The collection of French art in the Hermitage is exceptionally rich and is the finest outside France among the museums of the world. More then forty rooms are used to house the displays of painting, sculpture and various items of applied art.

















French Art: 15th-18th centuries.

The Hermitage collection of the 15th-18th century French painting is rich and variable. It enables us to trace the development of different styles and schools of that time.


Rooms 272 and 273. 15th-16th century art. At the end of the fifteenth century the separate feudal provinces were united into a single French state governed by the king with in the framework of this national state there developed conditions favourable to the growth of culture. In the town of Limoges the production of enamels was revived after a long interval of time, not champleve as in the Middle Ages but painted. The very rich collection in the Hermitage allows us to trace the development of the style of fifteenth and sixteenth century French enamellers. Religious subjects were gradually replaced by mythological ones, medieval convention gave way to a realistic handling of themes, and grisaille (a painting executed entirely in monochrome, in a series of greys) superseded polychrome painting, thus making it possible to convey volume, both of figures and of space. The Renaissance artists turned from objects connected with religious worship to the creation of decorative secular articles, such as dishes, jugs and plates.


Room 273. In a large cabinet there are some faiences by Bernard Palissy (1510-1589), the inventor of a colored, transparent glazing which gave pottery additional beauty and durability. At one time his decorative dishes with relief designs of fish, snakes and crayfish were tremendously popular; this was called Palissys rustic pottery. In a case by the window there are exquisite sixteenth century faience vessels made in the small French town of Saint-Porchaire. They have been preserved up to the present day only as separate items, not as part of a set.


Room 274. Sixteenth century French court art; the so-called Fontainebleau school, developed under the significant influence of Italian Mannerism (the Italian Mannerists Primaticcio and Rosso worked in France and painted decorative murals in the royal palace at Fontainebleau). The Venus and Cupid relief was created by one of the leading representatives of the Fontainebleau school, Jean Goujon (1510-1568). The sculptor has skillfully worked into his composition, carved on an oval medallion, the graceful, somewhat elongated figure of the goddess presented in a fanciful pose. The distinctive originality of sixteenth century French art is seen more clearly in portrait painting. Two fine examples of the latter are Portrait of a Man by an unknown painter and Portrait of a Young Man by Pierre Dumoustier.


Room 275-278. Early and mid-17th century art. During the seventeenth century a number of different trends developed in French art. A painting by Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Portrait of Anne of Austria as Minerva, is a typical example of court art at the time of Louis XIII. Of great importance in seventeenth century French art was the work of the Le Nain brothers, who portrayed peasant life with great sympathy and respect for the common man. The Dairywomans Family was painted by Louis (1593-1648), the most talented of the brothers. The figures of the peasants in it are full of dignity, and the compact group stands out boldly against the greyist-silvery expanse of the masterfully painted landscape. Also in this room is A Visit to Grandmother, attributed to Mathieu Le Nain.


Room 279. The Hermitage has a very large and valuable collection of the works of Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), the founder of Neoclassicism in seventeenth century French painting. In the center of Poussins vision stands Man, endowed with reason, will and spiritual beauty. Such are the heroes of his numeous paintings on biblical, mythological and literary themes the sefless Erminia in Tranced and Erminia, the fearless Esther of Esther before Ahasuerus, and Moses, the wise tribal chief in Moses Striking the Rock. Poussins rationalism and philosophical outlook are revealed in his delightful Landscape with Polyphemus (1649). Polyphemus, the one-eyed Cyclops, is sitting on the top of a rock playing a pipe, with nymphs, satyrs and a ploughman tilling the land, all drinking in this song of nature. In his search for an ideal representation of nature Possin does not paint from life, but builds up his from separate details observed in nature.


Room 280. Claude Lorrain (1600-1682) was a leading exponent of the classical landscape. Composed according to the rules of Classicism, Claudes canvases are saturated with light, which lends them a particular emotional quality. The famous series The Four Time of the Day (Morning, Noon, Evening and Night) reflects the artists interest in light, which was something new for French art.


Room 281. late 17th century art. The official art of France during the golden age of the absolute monarchy served the task of glorifying Louis XIV. Artistic life was regulated by the Academy, at the head of which was the premier peintre to the king, Charles Lebrun (1619-1690), and after him Pierre Mignard (1612-1695). Mignards work is represented by the monumental Magnanimily of Alexander the Great . After his victory over the Persian emperor Darius, Alexander enters his tent where he encounters the family of the vanquished emperor begging for mercy. With a gesture of the hand the victor grants the captives their lives. The choice of subject was not fortuitous; in the figure of Alexander is glorified le roi soleil, Louis XIV. If Mignard extolled the king in the figure of the great general, the sculptor Francois Girardon (1628-1715) portrayed him as Roman emperor. Girardons small bronze model for the unpreserved equestrian statue presents the king in the attire of an ancient Roman soldier and in a wig, such as worn in the seventeenth century.


In room 282 there is a unique collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century Western European silver, for the most part French.


Rooms 290-297 contain items of French applied art, including furniture, Gobilin tapestries, faience, bronze, and porcelain. This collection is known throughout the world on account of its exceptional wealth.


Room 283. this exhibition introduces the visitor to the French portrait painting of the second half of the seventeenth century. The eminent portrait painter Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743) is represented by The Portrait of a Scholar.

The two ebony cupboards, decorated with bronze and tortoise-shell and used for keeping medals in, were made in the workshop of Andre-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), a well-known furniture-maker. An original Boulle cupboard can be seen in room 293.


Room 284-289. 18th century art. This room contains several pieces by one of Frances most eminent artists, Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) who, in his search for a realist approach, broke with hidebound academic convention. In his small paintings The Hardships of War and The Recreations of War Watteau portrayed the everyday life of a soldier rather than ostentatious battle scenes as his predecessors had done. The Savoyard with a Marmot (1716), a picture of a simple-hearted young traveling musician, also confirms Watteaus interest in the simple phenomena of life. The blue expanse of the cl

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