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Hermitage and the French Art Classicism

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 385
  • Category: Art

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The Hermitage Masterpieces is an 18-part-video that audiovisually ‘tours’ the viewer into the 353 galleries of the famous museum providing insights and views into the Western Art from its early prehistoric forms to the modern types. It is practically a condensation of the Hermitage museum’s astounding collection— 16,783 paintings, 621,274 works of graphic art, 12,556 sculptures, 298,775 works of applied art, 734,400 archaeological monuments, 1,125,323 numismatics and 144,185 other exhibit items.

Video # 116 illustrates the French and Classical Style of the 17th and 18th Centuries and tours, not only the origination of the Hermitage Museum but the depiction of the renowned Classicism of French Art from the Late Baroque to famous Neoclassicism of the Rococo styles.  The ‘visceral’ appeal of Carravagio’s, Poussin’s, and Lorraine’s works transmitted to my senses as I watched the video. It was tantamount to being transported back to the splendour of the court of King Louis VIII! One can never decide between the voluptuary lines and colours employed by Rubens and the rational control of Poussin. Watteu and Boucher’s lighter elements and more natural patterns eventually changed the heaviness of the barocco. Both the Classic and the Neo-Classic has captured the intensity of French Art and Architecture and of course, the Glory of France!

Fashion and pomposity of the French noblesse was captured in Watteau’s Capture Girl`; Bouche’s Concert depicts the addiction for opera and the profound appreciation for music ingrained in the deep French culture; Jean Baptiste’s Grace Before Meal illustrates the mundane household setting for a typical French family; and J.H. Fragonard `Stolen kiss` shows the gaiety and voluptuary characteristics of the period.

With the deep hunger for culture, vanity, beauty and finally, curiosity that was flared by the 30 minute video, I am now suffering from a profound itch to visit the real thing—-the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.


Gardner, H., F. S. Kleiner, C. J Mamiya. (2005). Gardner’s Art through the Ages, Belmont, California: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Hermitage Masterpieces. (2008). WLIW21. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from http://www.wliw.org/productions/hermi.html.

Hermitage Museum. (2006). State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from http://www.hermitagemuseum.org.

History of French Art. (2008). History World. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?groupid=3262&HistoryID=ad14

State Hermitage. (2008). Optima Tours. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from http://www.saint-petersburg-hotels.com/hermitage.htm.

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