At the Russian Court

Palace and protocol in the 19th century

Hermitage Amsterdam Celebrates Opening with Sumptuous Exhibition from 20 June 2009

The inaugural exhibition of Hermitage Amsterdam, At the Russian Court: Palace and Protocol in the 19th Century, promises to be one of the most lavish ever presented in Europe, and one of the largest. With more than 1,800 objects on loan from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, the exhibition will fill the Amstelhof—the historic, newly restored home of Hermitage Amsterdam--from 20 June 2009 to 31 January 2010, as it recreates life at the Russian court during the nineteenth century: a period that spanned the reigns of six tsars, from the little-known Paul I, son of Catherine the Great, to the tragic Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia.

masquerade costume of Grand Duchess Ksenia Aleksandrovna-‘Boyarina’, 1903

Photography Herman van Heusden and styling Ruud van der Neut

One entire exhibition wing of Hermitage Amsterdam will be devoted to the elaborate protocol of the nineteenth-century Russian court, with its public demonstrations of power and opulence. The other wing will tell the story of the grandiose dinners, parties and themed balls hosted by the tsars in the Hermitage. Among the objects that will bring these subjects to life will be hundreds of exceptionally rich ball gowns and other costumes, magnificent court paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Ilya Repin, extraordinary items of furniture including the famous Romanov throne, impressive pieces of jewellery by makers such as Fabergé, vast and valuable dinner services and the last tsarina’s own grand piano.

Nikolai Bodarevski, Portrait of Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, 1907, oil on canvas

This spectacular exhibition, which will occupy 2.200 square metres, has been designed by Merkx+Girod Architecten, whose previous work includes the recent Rijksmuseum Amsterdam exhibition The Masterpieces (2008) and the exhibition Morocco: 5,000 Years of Culture in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam (2004). Inspiration for the design has been drawn from the two most famous rooms in the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, the Nicholas Hall and St George’s Hall. The decorations in these rooms will be reflected in the two great exhibition halls at the Hermitage Amsterdam.

The installation will include a number of interactive computer programmes, to offer information beyond the material found in the traditional text displays and the audio-tour. Another striking feature of the presentation will be the projection of images from the film Russian Ark, which was photographed entirely in the Hermitage in St Petersburg by the Russian director Alexander Sokurov. These images will combine with music and revolving display cases to create the impression of a nineteenth-century ball taking place within the Hermitage Amsterdam.

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