The Hermitage


The most important role for the Hermitage played the acquisition of the art collection of Baron Crozat in 1772 in Paris by Catherine II. This collection had largely predetermined the "face" of the gallery. There dominated paintings by Italian, French, Flemish and Dutch masters of the XVI-XVIII centuries. Among them - the "Holy Family" by Raphael, "Judith" by Giorgione, "Danae" by Titian, paintings by Rembrandt, works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin, landscapes by Claude Lorrain and works by Watteau.
The collection of paintings by the British Prime Minister Walpole, acquired in 1779, had added a number of HermitageRembrandt's masterpieces (among them "The Sacrifice of Abraham" and "The disgrace of Haman") and a group of portraits by Van Dyck. The impetus for the development of the graphical art was the purchase in 1768 of more than 5 thousands drawings from the collection of Cobenzl in Brussels, in which there was a "Portrait of a Man" by Jean Fouquet.
Another important acquisition was the collection of the English banker Lyde-Brown which included antique statues and busts, including a sculpture by Michelangelo "The Crouching Boy."
Due to the lack of space in the original premises the architect Felten in 1771-1787 created a building of the Grand Hermitage.

In Paris a collection of carved stones was purchased from the Duke of Orleans. In addition, Catherine commissioned works to Chardin, Houdon, Roentgen and other masters. She also acquired libraries of Voltaire and Diderot. The posthumous inventory of Catherine’s property in 1796 listed 3,996 paintings.

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