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Culture news, 22.03.2004 13:10

Hermitage to exhibit Western European engravings of the 16th - 18th centuries

Western European engravings of the 16th - 18th centuries Exhibition of engravings which captured moments of dynastic festivities and gala ceremonies that were marked in various centers of Western Europe in the 16th – 18th centuries opened in the Peter Gallery of the Hermitage museum. The coronations and funerals of sovereigns, their festive entry into cities, the marriages of princes and princesses, and the birth of heirs to the throne were all cause for public celebrations that were supposed to create an aura of majesty around the persona of the ruler. The organization of festivities lasting many days and involving a great many people was a matter of state importance and the object of special concern by the monarch himself.

This chronologically organized exhibition embraces the period from the start of the 16th century to the French Revolution and it offers the visitor about one hundred first-quality prints from German, Italian, Dutch, and French engravers. Among the masters represented here are some very well known names: Lucas Cranach the Elder, Jacques Callot, Stefano della Bella, Jean Lepotre, Giuseppe Vasi, Charles-Nicolas Cochin-fils, Jean-Michel Moreau… The jewels of the show, without a doubt, are the Hermitage prints of two Dutch engravings from the 16th century: ‘The Coronation of Charles V’ by Nikolaus Hogenberg and the ‘Funeral Procession in Brussels on the Occasion of the Death of Emperor Charles V’ created on the basis of a drawing by Hieronymus Cock; these works are distinguished by amazingly fine and beautifully colored gouache to which gold and silver have been added. Special attention should also be given to such rare prints as the proofs of engravings by Francois Chabot made as illustrations for a publication devoted to Louis XIV’s famous carousel.

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