The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg didn’t plan to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution — which happened in its walls — until foreign colleagues expressed shock over the move.
The Hermitage Museum has one of the largest art collections in the world and is visited by almost three million people yearly. Its main building — the Winter Palace — was the main residence of Russia’s tsars, and was stormed by Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Celebrations of the revolution were muted in Russia this year, as the country’s leadership preferred to downplay the controversial event.
The Hermitage eventually did mark the centenary with an exhibition titled "Hermitage in 1917: History Was Made Here" that opened on Oct. 25 — the date of the revolution under the former tsarist calendar.
But on Thursday, The Art Newspaper reported that the museum’s director Mikhail Piotrovsky was not planning to commemorate the date at all until colleagues in Amsterdam expressed bewilderment.
“Our Dutch colleagues said: ‘Are you crazy? The whole world is waiting. Something needs to be done,’” Piotrovsky was cited by the news outlet as saying.