«Музей — это не Диснейленд». Прогулка по Эрмитажу с М. Б. Пиотровским

Мечтали ли вы когда-нибудь, чтобы вашим гидом по Эрмитажу стал его директор Михаил Борисович Пиотровский? Мечтали ли вы когда-нибудь побывать в его кабинете, в котором работали министры Российской Империи, увидеть стол Александра III, увидеть подарки современных королевских семей и огромное количество книг?

Это не просто экскурсия по Эрмитажу в сопровождении его директора, но и мастер-класс для гидов-переводчиков о том, как правильно представлять каждый зал Эрмитажа или другого классического музея, как связывать российских монархов с искусcтвом, о чем рассказывать в проходах между залами, как шутить и многое другое.

А также эта экскурсия прекрасно демонстрирует на примере журналиста Чарльза Пита-Роуза-младшего, как ведут себя американцы во время экскурсии в русских музеях, что от них следует ожидать, какие вопросы могут вам задать, насколько предвзято мнение американских туристов о России и многое другое.

Начну с того, что сегодня ни одна экскурсия в любом русском музее не пройдет без попыток со стороны путешественника заговорить с гидом о нынешнем российском президенте, что не стало исключением и в случае с американским журналистом.

Во-вторых, гид должен приготовиться, что англосаксонские туристы (под этим термином я имею в виду как англичан, так и выходцев из Великобритании, высадившихся на берегах штата Массачусетс в 1620 году, и которые стали основателями США) постоянно будут повторять за гидом только что им  произнесенные названия картин или экспонатов, иногда думаешь, я же точно так и сказала, почему он повторяет, может он поправляет меня? Определенно он поправляет вас. Любое отклонение от норм произношения, даже самое незначительное, едва уловимое для уха, просто не переносится англосаксонскими туристами. Тем временем, обратите внимание на совершенную неспособность американцев произносить русские имена на примере того, что в устах Чарльза Роуза имя Михаил Пиотровский звучит как Miguel Petrovsky, а слово «perestroika» произносится иностранцем, словно во рту у него горсть камушков.

Помимо корректировок произношения гида, довольно часто туристы подходят к этикеткам и уточняют, правильно ли гид сообщил название или год создания того или иного произведения искусства.

What do we see next? — очень распространенный вопрос, словно турист раздражен и ему не терпится идти вперед. На самом деле, это от того, что турист уже перегружен информацией и скорее желает услышать ответ, что мы уже заканчиваем. How many Matisse? How many Rembrandt? — часто туристы интересуются, сколько именно картин того или того художника находится в музее или вообще сколько в музее картин или экспонатов.

Хочу также отметить важные вещи, о которых упомянул М. Б. Пиотровский во время экскурсии, иногда даже предвосхищая вопросы экскурсанта — количество посетителей в год, количество сотрудников Эрмитажа, о реставрационных работах, о первых приобретениях Эрмитажа, о выставках за рубежом. Часто эта информация известна лишь сотрудникам музея, но неизвестна частным гидам, но при желании ее можно узнать.

Слушая директора Эрмитажа, даже не верится, что перед вами директор, на чьих плечах административное и хозяйственное управление, а не экскурсовод с многолетним стажем работы за спиной.

Тем не менее М. Б. Пиотровский все-таки допустил одну очень распространенную и обидную ошибку в разговоре с американцем, когда упомянул, что Владимир Путин подарил музею изделия фирмы Фаберже — яйцо и часы. Это подействовало на американца словно красная тряпка на быка. Сразу посыпались вопросы, а откуда у президента эти изделия, и на какие деньги он их приобрел, потом выяснилось, что их приобрел некий бизнесмен, а потом пошел разговор, что русские олигархи приобретают произведения искусства по всему миру и намек на то, что они могут ими владеть, пока последние не понадобятся нашему президенту. Здесь надо быть осторожным, а то придется оправдываться за всех и вся.

Также было заметно, как проснулся интерес американского туриста в залах с картинами импрессионистов по сравнению с классическим искусством. Это тоже отчасти правда.

Мне понравились многие шутки Михаила Борисовича Пиотровского, но приводить их без контекста не имеет смысла, так как это не анекдоты. Те, кто заинтересуется, услышит их в интервью.

Еще мне понравилось определение перестройки, которое привел Михаил Борисович: «Perestroika destroyed everything to build something” и определение Эрмитажа, которое, как известно, происходит от слова «отшельник» и которое актуально и по отношению к современному посетителю — Эрмитаж и его коллекция позволяет оградить посетителя, позволить ему отстраниться хотя бы на время посещения музея от всей суеты снаружи, проблем, политики и т. д.

Бесценны слова М. Б. Пиотровского о том, что музей — это собрание лучшего, что было создано цивилизацией, что это не Диснейленд, что посещение музея — это не простое удовольствие, как от бокала вина, которое само собой наступает, что понимать музей и оценить его экспонаты можно только через рассказ и объяснение профессионала, который раскроет вам ценность и красоту вещей, которые не всегда и не все могут понять самостоятельно.

И, конечно, после просмотра этого замечательного интервью мне снова очень захотелось в Петербург и непременно в Эрмитаж, хотя в последний раз я там была этой весной.

О второй части интервью мне сложно говорить, так как речь идет о цензуре русских художников в нашей стране сегодня. Эту проблему я считаю надуманной и раздутой. Я не понимаю, о каких художественных и выразительных акциях, запрещенных в России, идет речь. То, о чем я читала в газетах, далеко не художественно по своему замыслу и исполнению. Вспомним еще раз слова из интервью, что «Эрмитаж — это собрание лучшего, что создала цивилизация» и давайте все-таки этого придерживаться в оценке художественности.

Но тем не менее, интересно высказывание Марка Кельнера, вице-президента Фонда Эрмитаж в США, во второй части интервью о том, что Эрмитаж — это тоталитарный музей, и все решения в нем принимаются его директором. На мой взгляд, это характерная черта не только Эрмитажа, но и других музеев в нашей стране. Конечно когда у руля такой лидер, как Пиотровский, у этой позиции могут быть и свои плюсы, но также это может и значительно затруднять рабочий процесс, когда приходится постоянно спрашивать разрешение и получать одобрение руководства, вместо того, чтобы оперативно действовать, а также это снижает уровень инициативности сотрудников.

Одно из последних высказываний Марка Кельнера о том, что оказывается, американские организации распространяют культуру в России, и если не они, то кто это будет делать, более чем удивляет. Улыбнемся этому высказыванию, как и давлению со стороны интервьюеров о том, что все искусство в России политизировано и всегда таким было и остается, и вспомним все хорошее, что услышали в этом интервью. Спасибо Эрмитажу и М. Б. Пиотровскому за очень интересный рассказ.

Так как ссылка на видео с интервью может стать со временем недоступной, то я привожу расшифровку интервью для тех, кто не только не поленится досмотреть это часовое интервью до конца, но еще и решит отыскать что-то в тексте, то есть для истинных фанатов музеев, экскурсий, американских туристов и конечно же Эрмитажа:

Вступительное слово Чарльза Пита-Роуза-младшего:

Tonight we tour inside one of the largest and oldest repositories of art and culture in the world. All of my life I have wanted to visit the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg in Russia. It is where Catherine the Great began assembling her personal art collection in 1764. Today it houses more than three million items including everything from antiquities to the largest painting collection in the world. During our recent trip to Saint Petersburg I was able to finally visit this historical palace of art. My guide — Mikhail Peotrovsky, Hermitage director and a good friend. Many consider him the most influential art director in the world. He inherited a post from his father in 1992 and he has guided the museum through transition from the Soviet Union to the presidency of Vladimir Putin. With little notice, very little notice he made time for me and invited me to visit on a Saturday afternoon. The museum was full of people. This is not movie making perfection, but it is what it would be like if you were there yourself. So join us as we examine the history of its vast interiors and look at some of the most famous works of Tissan, Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. We begin in Mikhail Peotrovsky’s office. This was done on a busy weekend with no light, one camera and no preparation. We simply took advantage of an extraordinary opportunity and wanted to take you with us on the journey.

Charlie Rose: We are in the office at the Hermitage of Mikhail Peotrovsky. He and I have known each other for a long time, and he has been on my programme a number of time, including most recently when came to New York to talk about the 250th anniversary of this remarkable museum. This is his office. It looks like anybody’s office that loves books, that loves art, that loves culture. But it is from this office that he directs this magnificent museum and its extensions in the art that he brings in, in the art that he allows to be seen around the world. This great museum put together by Catherine first as a palace and a museum recently celebrating the 250th anniversary. He has assumed the directorship of this museum following his father. There is a photograph of his father here, but he has been to America for a number of times, this is the first time that I have been in Saint Petersburg and in Hermitage. Of all the things that I wanted to do certainly high on the list was to interview the president but secondly was to come here, at this place and see this man. Thank you.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Thank you. And welcome to Hermitage and welcome to the office. So it is my office now, it was my father’s office for many years, but historically it was the office of the cabinet of ministers of Russian Empire in the middle of the 19th century.

Charlie Rose: The cabinet of the ministers was here. 

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes. And now it is a working office, a lot of books because I work here and archives are here. And all it is historical, the desk belonged to Alexander III.

Charlie Rose: This desk belonged to Alexander III.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Certainly he had many desks like this. This clock belonged to Tchaikovsky. This portrait is portrait of Catherine the Great, our founder and it is tapestry. This is the way of diplomatic gifts, how they are giving their portraits as diplomatic gifts. Now they give this kind of gifts.

Charlie Rose: The queen and the king, prince Philip.

M. B. Piotrovsky: And Queen of Netherlands and king of Netherlands. These are all friends of Hermitage, because we have a lot of friends.

Charlie Rose: And this little clock tells us that it is noon in Saint Petersburg.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, there is a cannon.

Charlie Rose: …. wow. And here is, may I take this? 

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, sure.

Charlie Rose: This is your father.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, my father worked all his life in Hermitage, 26 years as a director and all his life 80 years or 70 years from the young student to director. He was an archeologist.

Charlie Rose: He was an archeologist.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, great archeologist. I am nothing in comparison with him.

Charlie Rose: But your expertise was Arab and Islamic art.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is Arab and Islamic art and ancient history of the Arabian Peninsula, that’s my expertise.

Charlie Rose: And you took over from him at his death.

M. B. Piotrovsky: At his death, yes it was in 1991 he died and 1992 I became a director, I was appointed a director of Hermitage.

Charlie Rose: There is a remarkable similarity between the two of you as you can see.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Not exactly, because he was very tall. He was even a little bit taller than you.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, well, but well, my mother was not.

Charlie Rose: And what was the legacy that he left to you?

M. B. Piotrovsky: The legacy was, the first one that the scholarship is the main thing for the museum. He was a scholar and the tradition is that the directors of the museums must be the scholars, write books, publish books, my last book just came out two days ago. The scholarship is the base of everything. This is one thing. Scholarship and culture. So this is the main legacy, which you need a lot of time and effort to protect because of this problem what is a museum a temple or a Disneyland is an important one. To show that it is not a Disneyland.

Charlie Rose: Repeat the question that you have to ask, that museum is …

M. B. Piotrovsky: Museum is more a temple

Charlie Rose: A temple

M. B. Piotrovsky: a temple and a university than a Disneyland

Charlie Rose: Aha, so, that museum is more of a temple and a university, it is not a Disneyland.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is not a Disneyland.

Charlie Rose: It is a home of the best that a civilization can produce.

M. B. Piotrovsky: And it needs some explanation. You have to explain to the people. It is not just something, you just drink a glass of wine and you are happy. You have to study, you have to think, you have to look, you have to listen to some explanation, then you understand how beautiful it was.

Charlie Rose: And also, you know this well when the country goes from one administration, one rule to another, it has to be always protected as the center of learning and the best of the civilization, it has a unique place, you hope above politics.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We hope, we think it is above politics. Always we have to use it as a connection between the nation when the politics, so and so and it is exactly as it is now. But certainly we have to protect it when the political situation changes. We have to protect the national treasure from all different kinds of intervention, ideological or monetary or whatever.

Charlie Rose: We’ll talk more about that later. You want to show me today what?

M. B. Piotrovsky: I want to show you one important thing, two important things. The first one — tradition. This museum and palace. We’ll go through museum and a palace. It was always a palace and museum. Because Catherine the Great established Hermitage as a part of her palace than she built buildings for her collections, but it was also part of the palace. So it was always the royal life, important political decisions and pictures and sculptures around. So, this combination of a museum and a palace is more or less unique, that is why Hermitage is a great collection, it’s a great museum of the world’s art. It is also a great monument of great Russian political history, imperial political history. Russian Empire began here, it was Peter the Great and it was ended when here — it was Nicholas II.

Charlie Rose: She was a remarkable woman.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Catherine was fantastic. I think she was a fantastic woman, she has done so many things, which we can learn now, you know, beginning from presenting history, collecting, behaving when woman behaved like a man and it was well kind of feminism. So, we study and study. We male every year an exhibition about her and it is always very interesting and important.

Charlie Rose: So, what we will do this afternoon? It is not just see some of the best art, but also the fact that Hermitage has expanded beyond its original.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes.

Charlie Rose: You have new buildings.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, we have new buildings, we have a new system of the concept, which is called Great Hermitage. Which means it is expansion, but not exactly just new buildings. It is sometimes new buildings and then new building for the storage where we show everything what we have in the storage, then Hermitage sputniks, satellites outside of Saint Petersburg in Europe and in Russia. So it is very dynamic, two sides on the Internet, dynamic system of Hermitage, global Hermitage. It is more than just extension in Saint Petersburg. Global Hermitage. We are ambitious, I am sorry.

Charlie Rose: Ambitious to be global as an expression of …

M. B. Piotrovsky: As an expression of world culture. This great museum was certainly collected in Russia for Russians, but it does not belong just to Russia. It belongs to the world. That’s why we must be present all over the world, that’s why we have connections and friends and organizations of friends all over the world. That’s why when we have problems, we have friends all over the world and we ask them help, this kind of help or another kind of help. Because we belong to the world and the world belongs to us. I think, this is a very important issue today. It is not everybody likes this issue. This kind of, this point. But we think it is very important. It is a world’s museum, it belongs to the world.

Charlie Rose: Not everybody in Russia like that or everybody where?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Not everybody in Russia likes that.

Charlie Rose: Let’s go and I cannot be more excited about coming here with you and to see it. I am almost happy that I have not seen it before.

M. B. Piotrovsky: I am always saying, people who come for the first time to Hermitage you are lucky.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Because you will see something new, which is definitely interesting.

Charlie Rose: You lead the way.

M. B. Piotrovsky: I lead the way. This is one of the inner staircases of the Hermitage, it is also the staircase of the Hermitage theatre. There is a small theatre in Hermitage was built specially for Catherine the Great, very exclusive 250 persons.

Charlie Rose: So, this is where she had her friends.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, she loved theatre, she was writing libretto for historical operas.

Charlie Rose: This is the museum? With a Saturday afternoon crowd. How many people on average?

M. B. Piotrovsky: On average we have three million and a half people a year.

Charlie Rose: Three and a half million people.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The problem is that most of them come in summer.

Charlie Rose: In the summer.

M. B. Piotrovsky: That’s why so many.

Charlie Rose: so many. As we do this in June, we have all these people who are away from school.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Exactly, from school and it’s white nights and so on. This is a room of Italian mannerism, Italian department, here we have beautiful views.

Charlie Rose: What do we see.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Peter and Paul fortress.

Charlie Rose: Yes, Peter and Paul fortress.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Here we have the celebration of the end of the school year, on the Neva.

Charlie Rose: So, this is the Neva right here in front of us.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The Neva. And one of the special features of Hermitage is that it is not only one of our best collections and la-la-la but the best views from the windows in the world. Because you will see the Neva, Palace Square. No other museum in the world has that.

Charlie Rose: You say that as a proud director of the Hermitage.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Right. This is another Italian room and this is one of the most famous rooms, rooms of Leonardo da Vinci.

Charlie Rose: So, what are we seeing here, in this room? This room is…

M. B. Piotrovsky: This room is of Leonardo da Vinci.

Charlie Rose: This is the room of Leonardo da Vinci.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, here we have two pictures by Leonardo da Vinci — Madonna Benois and Madonna Litta. Two of them are our main masterpieces. And in the 19th century these rooms were used as the guest rooms for the guests of the Tsars.

Charlie Rose: For the guests of the Tsars.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Some rooms were for the pictures and some rooms were for the guests of the Tsars. This is a room of Titian.

Charlie Rose: This is the room of Titian.

M. B. Piotrovsky: All pictures by Titian. Fantastic «Saint Sebastian» by Titian, which is one of the most important painting in our collection.

Charlie Rose: Has any other leader ever done as much for art as Catherine?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, it is difficult to compare. She was certainly in competition with Frederick the Great. But she has done more. Definitely, because she managed the money better than he. She also had another trick, she was buying the best collection. She bought collection of Crozat from Paris, she bought collection of Walpole, the first prime minister of Britain. She knew that the best you just buy by the brand. So, all her style, her methodology of her collection —it is very interesting.

Charlie Rose: She must have had a group of people that informed her.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It was always the triad. She had some friends intellectuals who could advise her, for instance Denis Diderot in Paris, she had Russian diplomats who knew what she likes and she also had dealers, friends, who were telling her how much worth it was and so on. She was very good in asking advice.

Charlie Rose: Advisors, about quality and price. This?

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is one of the first paintings done by Titian, it was done in Venice. It is one of the first landscape in Italian art and recently restored, it took 10 years to clean it properly.

Charlie Rose: So, you took it out of circulation and cleaned it over ten years?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Over ten years. This was scientific cleaning, which took ten years, with x-ray just to clean not to paint something additional.

Charlie Rose: Wow. It is one treasure after another, isn’t it?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, well, this is a problem, this is also a problem for us, because that’s why you need to have exhibitions, satellites all over the world because you must show all these things and also to show them a little bit apart, because when you have ten Titians in one room it is difficult to appreciate each one of them. One is okay.

Charlie Rose: One will be 

M. B. Piotrovsky: One will be enough.

Charlie Rose: Museums would like to borrow one.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Exactly. That’s what we are trying to do the same here. We are bringing one masterpiece from one museum just for those who do understand. Now we are crossing the room of the early Italian paintings.

Charlie Rose: With changes in politics, is it difficult to take the museum to another part of the world and loan to you?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Sometimes it is difficult. Now it is difficult.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It also depends on the politics and economics and now it is tragedy we don’t have exchange with American museums.

Charlie Rose: Yes

M. B. Piotrovsky: Because there is a law suite to Russian state about the Hasidic library.

Charlie Rose: Right

M. B. Piotrovsky: And because of this Russian state is afraid that something could be arrested.

Charlie Rose: Right.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We demand that there will be proper guarantee of the state, not just legislation, guarantee that it comes and it comes back. So, we are now in the middle of negotiations.

Charlie Rose: So, this is…

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is one of the most important, one of the best pictures in the world by Rembrandt «Return of the prodigal son».

Charlie Rose: Rembrandt «The return of the prodigal son».

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is Rembrandt’s room and this is one of the biggest treasures of Hermitage. Picture full of philosophy and beautiful and whatever, «Return of the prodigal son». Here you can see hours and hours. Books are written just on the inner theological sense of this painting.

Charlie Rose: Rembrandt «The return of the prodigal son». We are in the room where it is. So this is another Rembrandt room.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Another Rembrandt room. We have approximately 21 Rembrandt. Let’s look at this one, which is one of the most beautiful ones. This is «The holy family».

Charlie Rose: This is «The holy family».

M. B. Piotrovsky: «The holy family» — one of the most human pictures by Rembrandt.

Charlie Rose: Rembrandt «Holy family» dated 1645. Rembrandt lived from 1606 to 1669, acquired by Hermitage in 1772 from Crozat’s collection.

M. B. Piotrovsky: During the First World War they wanted to evacuate Hermitage for what they had three trains. Two trains left, one stayed because the October revolution happened.

Charlie Rose: Right

M. B. Piotrovsky: During the Second World War they prepared also three trans, two left and the one stayed.

Charlie Rose: Where did they take the art when they took it away?

M. B. Piotrovsky: To Ural mountains.

Charlie Rose: To Ural mountains.

M. B. Piotrovsky: To Ural mountains, to Sverdlovsk.

Charlie Rose: Right. What is this room?

M. B. Piotrovsky: These are Italian and Spanish rooms. This is the room of Spanish collection. This building was built for Nicholas I and the museum.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Nicholas has been in Munich, has seen the buildings of Leo von Klenze in Munich and said: I want the same. So he brought Leo von Klenze from Munich and Leo von Klenze built this museum, which is still considered to be a masterpiece of museum architecture with the lighting and everything.

Charlie Rose: There is a lot of light.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is decorated by these objects of stone, Russian made, it was passion of Nicholas I, it was Nicholas I idea to put stone, Russian stone in the rooms, which is beautiful. And also here we have a collection of big paintings of Italian and Spanish art.

Charlie Rose: It is a great room.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We have three rooms. It is a lot of sun,

Charlie Rose: Where do we go from here?

M. B. Piotrovsky: We go through the Dutch paintings.

Charlie Rose: Okay. Peter the Great.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Peter the Great loved Netherlands, Holland. For him, he thought that Holland was most technically developed country in the world, in Europe. He learnt a lot from Holland and he visited Holland, also he loved Dutch art. And after him Catherine was buying Dutch art. So we have the best collection of Dutch art outside of Netherlands.

Charlie Rose: Of Holland.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Outside of Holland. Certainly Rembrandt and many, many other rooms…

Charlie Rose: Catherine, did she buy a lot of Flemish art as well?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, and we’ll see some of the Flemish art also there. But Dutch certainly may be well the closer thing, well Dutch small paintings…

Charlie Rose: Look at this room.

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is one of the rooms of Leo von Klenze. It is called a tent room. And there is another problem of these rooms, you know, they are so beautiful. When you do the lighting, you think how to concentrate the light on the paintings definitely, but when you see ceiling and the walls.

Charlie Rose: Because everything is beautiful

M. B. Piotrovsky: Everything is beautiful.

Charlie Rose: Everything has been so thoughtfully considered. How many employees in Hermitage?

M. B. Piotrovsky: We have 2500.

Charlie Rose: 2500. Curators.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Curators, guards sitting in every room. Now it is terrible, but we have more and more people in security.

Charlie Rose: Because of cyber terrorism, or because of terrorism period.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Because of terrorism period, we have increased in security. Increasing and increasing. But in general, we have something like 300 curators, 300 restorers, engineers and guards, and so on, and so on.

Charlie Rose: You are constantly restoring?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, we are constantly restoring. First of all every picture, which goes for an exhibition must be restored when it comes back. And also we are doing scientific restoration like Titian when you just clean the picture and you study it, study the history of it.

Charlie Rose: Oh, I see. So may give you the new insights once you clean it.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Absolutely. Now we are, here are Flemish paintings. Room of Rubens. These two paintings are the first two paintings bought for Hermitage, this one and this one, «Adam and Eve» and «Bacchus».

Charlie Rose: The first painting bought.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Bought for Hermitage by Catherine the Great,

Charlie Rose: And it was?

M. B. Piotrovsky: 1764

Charlie Rose: 1764

M. B. Piotrovsky: Bought by Catherine, it was a political story.

Charlie Rose: Where did she buy it from?

M. B. Piotrovsky: There was a war between Russia and Prussia. And it was ended. During the war German dealer Gotzkowsky, very famous one, collected a very good collection of paintings for Frederick the Great who was the collector. But the war ended and Frederick had no money to buy this collection, he spent all his money on the war with Russia and Russia had the money enough. So, Catherine bought the collection. So, it was the beginning of the collection and it was also a very important political gesture — war nor war — we can do it. It could be yours.

Charlie Rose: This is crossing from …

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is crossing from Hermitage building to the Small Hermitage as well as the Winter Palace. We see the courtyards and one building and another. And the building of small Hermitage, on the first floor in the Dutch fashion.

Charlie Rose: So, we are now …

M. B. Piotrovsky: Now we are in the rooms, we are going along the garden, and we are in the rooms of early Netherlands paintings.

Charlie Rose: Ah ….

M. B. Piotrovsky: These galleries have been the first, which Catherine built for her collections. And we are crossing and entering the Winter Palace, the main residence of Russian Tsars.

Charlie Rose: Describe the Winter Place, because in the beginning it was palace and a museum.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, from beginning it was palace and a museum. The museum was put in the palace and then from the beginning it was building built for the museum near the palace, so there were receptions here and there. Always it was a combination of museum and a palace. And now we turn to the left to Winter Palace — official residence of Russian Tsars. We enter …

Charlie Rose: Nice residence.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Not a bad one. Not a bad one.

Charlie Rose: (laughing)

M. B. Piotrovsky: We enter not from the main entrance to the St. George Hall. This hall is called Apollo room. This is the St. George Hall. This is the throne room of Russian Empire.

Charlie Rose: The throne room of the Russian Empire.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The throne is here, and the room — St. George was considered saint patron of Romanovs, so that’s why the main room also in Moscow is also called St. George Hall in the Kremlin. May be we stay here to look at the throne. It has its history, after the revolution it was demolished and the big map of the Soviet Union was put here, a beautiful map from precious stones. Then Soviet Union finished and it was taken out to another museum. And then we began to restore the throne. We found details of the throne hidden in different places of the museum, unnoticed, unregistered, hidden. So we found everything, we restored and now it is here.

Charlie Rose: Yes (laughing). So, what happened in the throne room?

M. B. Piotrovsky: In the throne room, it was a part of museum. They put a big map of Soviet Union of precious stones and here there have been different things displayed. Here we usually display, we have different ceremonies and here we display some gifts, which we are getting from some important people.

Charlie Rose: Right.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Putin gave us two Fabergés for our anniversary. They have been displayed here for a month.

Charlie Rose: So, Vladimir Putin gave the museum

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, at the anniversary, 250th anniversary.

Charlie Rose: Two Fabergé eggs.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, two Fabergé eggs. One Fabergé egg and one big Fabergé clock.

Charlie Rose: He gave it to you from where? He acquired it or it was?

M. B. Piotrovsky: He acquired somewhere. It was bought by some Russian businessman

Charlie Rose: and presented to the museum

M. B. Piotrovsky: And then presented to the president to give it to the museum.

Charlie Rose: Yes, that’s how it happened.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Not directly, sometimes the officials give it directly, this is how it works.

Charlie Rose: yes (laughing).

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is how we have got things bought by Russian businessman that have been abroad.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: So it was waiting to return back.

Charlie Rose: So, these Russian businessmen, all are got very wealthy, as they travel all over the world they see art that is for sale.

M. B. Piotrovsky: They buy a lot for their collections and most of their collections are abroad.

Charlie Rose: They buy a lot.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, it is not easy to say, to make them to bring forever back in Russia. All this is gifts.

Charlie Rose: Until Vladimir Putin says «Your president would like … (laughing) for his Hermitage.

M. B. Piotrovsky: For Hermitage, well, it is a good thing because definitely those are marvelous things.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Usually this was where the Tsar was receiving the ambassadors.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Never sitting, always standing near the throne receiving the ambassadors.

Charlie Rose: He was never sitting?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Never sitting. Always standing.

Charlie Rose: The Tsar was always standing.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Always standing. The ambassadors before coming into the throne room have been crossing through this room — military corridor

Charlie Rose: Which has …

M. B. Piotrovsky: Which has portraits of all generals of Russian army who fought Napoleon.

Charlie Rose: Who fought Napoleon.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Who fought Napoleon. So, it is a special room commemorating Russian victory over Napoleon, which is the most important thing we had in the 19th century.

Charlie Rose: The victory over Napoleon. First Russians showed Napoleon «no» and then they said to Hitler «no».

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, exactly.

Charlie Rose: Net.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Net. Yes, and in the 19th century it was cleaner than the 20th century.

Charlie Rose: Yes. These are the generals who fought Napoleon. Only here we have the Duke of Wellington because he was the field marshal of Russian army.

M. B. Piotrovsky: And these are great families.

Charlie Rose: Yes. Unbelievable. And it goes on and on and on. We are still фе the palace.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We are still фе the palace. In the main rooms of the Winter Palace.

Charlie Rose: Right.

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is called the Room of the Coats of Arms. Here we have the coats or coats of arms of all governors of Russia on the chandeliers. So, when the governors have been coming to be presented to the Tsars they had been standing, everybody was standing under the symbol of his.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: A wonderful picture of Russian army entering Berlin for the first time in 1760. This is time of Elizabeth II and Frederick II.

Charlie Rose: But it is here now because of the commemoration of the 70 years of WWII, the end of WWII.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The storming of Berlin it was the third time, the third time, the second time it was with Napoleon together with the Prussians to get to.

Charlie Rose: I love the size of it too and the scope of it.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We have other battle paintings, still some of them need space to be shown.

Charlie Rose: And this room?

M. B. Piotrovsky: This room is called Aleksandrovsky Hall, commemorating the name of Alexander, the one who had the victory over Napoleon. This is a portrait of Alexander. There are some things, which belonged to him. And now we are having here a big exhibition of European silver. But this room by itself has pictures, symbols of different battles between Russians and French.

Charlie Rose: In a way, Napoleon gave a lot to Russian art, did not he? (laughing)

M. B. Piotrovsky: Absolutely, absolutely.

Charlie Rose: His defeat commissioned so much.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Not only to art, you know, because this war it was such a clean war for Russians, it was not dirty and terrible and nobody is right. This war was very clean. This is one of the things to be proud of. That’s why all this commemorating the victory over Napoleon and the Palace Square. Yes we are leaving the Winter Palace. We have not seen everything.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: There’s still a lot of things to see.

Charlie Rose: We’ll see some of the new?

M. B. Piotrovsky: We’ll see some of the new. We’ll cross the square, thanks God now the weather is beautiful, we’ll cross the square and we’ll see the eastern wing of the building, which is called the General Staff building.

Charlie Rose: okay. Beautiful day.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We are lucky.

Charlie Rose: St. Petersburg day in the summer.

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is one of the most important halls. It is hall of Matisse.  Collection of Matisse in Hermitage is one of the best in the world and here …

Charlie Rose: Look at this, look at this, look at this.

M. B. Piotrovsky: We experiment with the new lighting. You know, big halls not always, not every pictures likes a big hall or too much light, it is always some kind of experiment. I think here, it is quite good. This is famous «Madame Matisse», this is the family portrait, which looks very much like Persian miniature.

Charlie Rose: Yes. How many Matisse?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Around forty.  This is the «Music», there is also the «Dance». The «Dance» is now in Paris in museum of Luis Vuitton.

Charlie Rose: Yes, Luis Vuitton.

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is a fantastic Matisse «Café arabe». For me it is the best.

Charlie Rose: The best.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The best one.

Charlie Rose: But you have something that you unloan to the new museum of Luis Vuitton.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, we have the Dance by Henri Matisse, because this picture is a pair «Music» and «Dance» and «Dance» is very famous, «Music» and «Dance» do not travel never. Because they are very fragile, and the «Dance» was given to the museum of Luis Vuitton, we have agreements with them for certain exchanges and cooperation.

Charlie Rose: I love the colour.

M. B. Piotrovsky: The colour is fantastic and in general.

Charlie Rose: So, you must be very proud of this.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes.

Charlie Rose: A significant addition to the Hermitage.

M. B. Piotrovsky: I think that now it happened, we have the proper space, you can experiment with the light. This is a fantastic portrait and now it looks fantastic. Also there are some discussions now and I decided to make a kind of a, because it is so new, new rooms, a kind of a referendum of the visitors, how do you like the new display?

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Because you can fight inside the museum, this is right, this is wrong, so I decided to ask the people for a while.

Charlie Rose: People who come to see the museum?

M. B. Piotrovsky: People who come to see the museum. What do you think about Henri Matisse or white room, or walls or red walls, and this and that.

Charlie Rose: And what is the respond, do you know?

M. B. Piotrovsky: No, I have just decided to do this.

Charlie Rose: Look, what is this?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Oh, this is fantastic «Red room». I think, they all look very well.

Charlie Rose: How do you feel about yourself, from your own sense.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is good.

Charlie Rose: It works for you good? You like it?

M. B. Piotrovsky:  It is good. A week ago I was here, it was another, it was different, it was bad.

Charlie Rose: It was bad. You said no.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is absolutely wrong, don’t open it, change it. I think, now it looks quite good.

Charlie Rose: Yeah.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, this is Picasso.

Charlie Rose: So, here we are. How good is your Picasso collection?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Very good. I’ll show you some classics. Matisse is the best, Matisse like this do not exist, only in Moscow and her.

Charlie Rose: But this is Picasso.

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is the best Picasso we have. This relates like on the level like «Mademoiselle d’avignon».

Charlie Rose: Yes, yes. Almost. You can see the connection. 1908 («Three women»). But you can still sense that this is the painting of the museum of modern art.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, it is the same period and the same way of showing the forms and so on.

Charlie Rose: Every one of these rooms has natural lighting.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, every one of these rooms, the other rooms no, but these, most of them have natural lighting. And this play between modern forms and classical.

Charlie Rose: And light floors.

M. B. Piotrovsky: You see it is a historical building, so you can do only some things here and we have a lot of places where we show how it looked historically. Well, this is the famous «Sisters».

Charlie Rose: Yes. Tell me about the painting.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, this is one of the great Picasso paintings called «Sisters». It has a lot of stories. Two sisters meeting in a prison, two sisters meeting at a hospital, or it is Maria and Elizabeth — you can always have many explanations about it.

Charlie Rose: How long has it been in the Russian collection?

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is from the beginning of the century.

Charlie Rose: Right.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It was in Moscow in private collection, then it came to Hermitage.

Charlie Rose: So, this is the gift from the …

M. B. Piotrovsky: This is gift from the United States of America just for our anniversary. A big collection of American art, applied American art and masterpieces of the post war period collected by Helen W. Drutt English, American historian and given to us from the American foundation of Hermitage. So, it a full room of masterpieces of American decorative art. It is a big addition to our collection and a big gesture of trust.

Charlie Rose: So, Hermitage is not building, it is acquiring. Yes, we are acquiring, we have a lot of friends.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, this is another gift by the artist. It is «the Red wagon» Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, both considered to be the masterpieces of the art of the XX century. We have just built a hall, which is suitable for this. It is «Red Wagon», it is a wonderful thing, it is kind of a history of Russia. First it is utopia — that goes to the sky and inside you have pictures of Soviet Russia with some old Russian songs, very nostalgic. And it is also a problem to explain that this is not rubbish, it is installation

Charlie Rose: It is an installation.

M. B. Piotrovsky: And we see perestroika. We added another thing to this — perestroika is rubbish and this is the next stage of Russia (pointing to the space in the room).

Charlie Rose: This is (pause) blank (laughing). So you say that perestroika is in the dust of the history.

M. B. Piotrovsky: He destroyed everything. Perestoika destroyed everything to build something. And Kabakov knew this that just everything was destroyed. Now that what we have built shows that we can build something.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: A very important gift. You know that artists are always more generous than billionaires. Because this costs at least 6-5 million dollars.

Charlie Rose: And it was given to you by …?

M. B. Piotrovsky: By the artists.

Charlie Rose: By the artists himself.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Yes, by the artist himself, Kabakov.

Charlie Rose: You ever thinking about stopping work?

M. B. Piotrovsky: No.

Charlie Rose: Why?

M. B. Piotrovsky: No, because my work is being a director is part of my work.

Charlie Rose: Yes.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Orientalist and historian this will never stop. My profession is orientalist. Directing is my hobby.

Charlie Rose: Yes, quite a hobby, sir. Quite a hobby.

M. B. Piotrovsky: So, I work any moment.

Charlie Rose: So, after a couple of hours walking around and looking at this amazing museum and not only the past and the present, but the future — we watched at the end the mounting of the exhibition. What does it mean to you this place?

M. B. Piotrovsky: Well, for me, it is, first of all it is my home, because I grew up here. And for me it is one of the symbols, working symbols of Russian culture and the world culture. It is a wonderful place, it is a place, which helps people to live, you know, helps people to be isolated, it is not a coincidence it is called Hermitage, which means place of isolation. It isolates you from all the terrible things, which are happening around: political and troubles, not only political, people can relax here in this museum, people can relax in this temple. And I think this is the function that does work.

Charlie Rose: Thank you for being our guide. Thank you for being our friend. Thank you for keeping this place in such a remarkable way, so that it continues, we saw new exhibitions, new space and yet at the same time acquiring art across the spectrum.

M. B. Piotrovsky: Thank you very much.

Charlie Rose: Thank you.

(shaking hands)

M. B. Piotrovsky: Sorry for taking so much of your time.

Charlie Rose: No, no, no.

M. B. Piotrovsky: It is my home and I wanted to show you.

Charlie Rose: I say to our friends around the world. This is a remarkable place, this is beyond political, conflict, beyond politics. This is the place that harbours some of the great, great treasures of the world. And for me to come and be here and to see it with my own eyes and to have such an articulate and brilliant and honoured guide, I have had one of my great pleasures of my life. You should all come to Russia and you should all come see the Hermitage as a reflection of a great country.

(конец интервью с М. Б. Пиотровским и мы переносимся в студию Чарльза Роуза)

Charlie Rose: Continue our exploration of the Hermitage we talked to Mark Kelner, he is the vice president of the Hermitage Foundation and I would begin with that question «What is the Hermitage Foundation?»

Mark Kelner: The Hermitage Foundation is a group of American friends that are interested in supporting the Hermitage and it s director in whatever they might need — logistically, creatively, financially, in exhibiting Western and American art or restoring work that needs help in Hermitage. We have a very interesting situation because in the post Soviet period there is a period that involves cultural diplomacy, they can call on us saying that we are interested in learning American art and what access can you offer in New York, in Ohio, in Denver?

Charlie Rose: We are talking about the Post Soviet period, aren’t we?

Mark Kelner: Yes, we are in the post Soviet and sometimes it is very difficult in terms of what is going on politically but truthfully these are people that are servants of culture that are not really paying attention to what is happening politically, because it really one does not affect the other.

Charlie Rose: But your central function is to serve the Hermitage.

Mark Kelner: Yes. And specifically whatever request they might have, logistically we are there.

Charlie Rose: And a bit about you. Russian parents. You were conceived in Russia, you were born in America.

Mark Kelner: Yes, in Cleveland, very proudly.

Charlie Rose: And you wanted to be or are an artist?

Mark Kelner: I am an artist, a lot of my work is rooted in Russian-American duality. I think, that is what led me to working with Russian collectors of art, anything having to do with art that happened to be coming from a Russian place, I was involved in. There are Russian emigre artists in Mew York that are now considered in the staples of International contemporary work and I was around them and because of that the Hermitage Foundation found me. And we got to work together in a couple of interesting contemporary, international contemporary projects. This is really, really cool.

Charlie Rose: Yeah, concerning your background. Characterise this museum for me.

Mark Kelner: It is not an art museum, it is a museum of civilization, it is a museum that Catherine, when Catherine the Great founded it, we are having its 250 centennial, she is like look, Russia demands and deserves a museum much like nothing the world has ever seen. And that was very much a personality and she started collecting. And what’s very interesting, everyone is thinking she was collecting works that were ancient, but the joke among Hermitage nexus that she was collecting works that were contemporary to her. And I like to think that we are doing at the Foundation is work that is contemporary to us — 20th-21st century. When Dr. Piotrovsky comes to America I get a chance to introduce him to some of the great photographers of our day, some great curators, some great gallerists that are also interested in using the Hermitage as a means of promoting culture that they have never seen before.

Charlie Rose: So, who is this man who my audience has just had a chance to walk through the museum that he has been the director of for a number of years and before that he father was a director. Who is he?

Mark Kelner: He is an interesting guy and like not anyone I’ve met before. He is the decider. The Hermitage is a very totalitarian environment. One man makes all the decisions.

Charlie Rose: In addition to what art goes on a wall, where they put.

Mark Kelner: Or when Charlie Rose shows up on any specific day unannounced, he would say, yes I’ll lead him on a tour right now. It is very much his schedule and it’s his home. I mean that’s it, there is no separating someone from his station. You know, that’s his life. He very much curates every part of that museum, into his life, you know, when he comes here he is not just representing the Hermitage museum, he is representing Russian culture and culture that is essentially world culture that needs to be exported.

Charlie Rose: And how does the museum and how does the director handle those times in which the politics are strained between Russia and the United States or Russia and much of the Western world?

Mark Kelner: I think right now, it makes sad state of affairs that we always have to, Russian art has always been politicized. That no matter what it is avant-guard or during non-conformist Soviet times that Russian art has been censored, you look at what’s happening right now — artists are being censored and there is self-censorship among contemporary artists in Russia for fear of …

Charlie Rose: Self-censorship…

Mark Kelner: Self-censorship, for fear of prosecution, …

Charlie Rose: That they challenge the state.

Mark Kelner: That if I speak, if my voice speaks up and I am going to jail for it. And a lot of these actionisms that we see are artistic in the root and a lot of people are scared and we do not know what direction things are gonna go. On the other side of that coin we have the Hermitage museum that has been around for 250 years and governments and regimes have come and gone but the Hermitage has stayed, historically and that’s the world that I’d like to occupy, that’s when I go out with my tin cup and talk to people about ‘hey, let’s start supporting the Hermitage museum, in terms of building there contemporary art collection for the first time’ you know names like let’s het a Warhole, let’s try to find people that might be interested in putting on Koons, you know. If we are in the service of culture politics really should not be something to be concerned about. It’s got more difficult to talk to people in virtue to the museum. But among art crowd, I do not think many people care, they understand.

Charlie Rose: There is a lot of rich Russian people too

Mark Kelner: There is a lot of rich Russian people too in Russia and there’s a misguided notion that I have trouble with sometimes ‘Oh, we have a situation with a lot of rich Russians in New York, why can’t they help their culture? But here is the crocs of what I am trying to say. In America we have a system, we are the wealthy, Charlie, have supported art, have supported museums, museum culture, nothing like that exists in Russia and never has. We don’t have situation, we are trying to show, and I speak with Russian-Americans, and we are trying to show that ‘look, it’s your responsibility for where, you know, you have a choice, you have an opportunity to promote culture in Russia, outside of Russia, supporting the Hermitage, and it is your responsibility. And no one is going to do this for not you and I want the Hermitage museum Foundation to be kind of a leader in holding that flag and saying ‘we need help, look at our system and how could we, how is that behoved the Hermitage museum? Hermitage has a lot of friends, there are a lot of people who recognize the Hermitage museum without having to recognize ‘oh, we are living in Vladimir Putin’s Russia’.

Charlie Rose: There’s also Neil MacGregor who has been directed the British museum, who told the New York Times that he is confident that the Hermitage can weather the rocky relations that exists between Russia and West. “We’ve been through the Crimean War, we’ve been through the Russian Revolution, we’ve been through the Cold War,” Mr. MacGregor said. And the friendship has survived all the way through. None of us in any great museum has had to confront anything like the changes and the transformations that the Hermitage has. It’s stayed completely true to its traditions of being a great repository of great things, a full part of the international community. One can only guess at how complicated that must have been — administratively, politically, financially.”

Mark Kelner: Charlie, three million objects are stored at the Hermitage, there is no way anyone can see all of it in its lifetime.

Charlie Rose: 10 percent of it is on display I think.

Mark Kelner: I would think, less actually. I have to say, probably less. Even when it is a huge museum, three million objects. It is also a museum that is really interested in establishing satellites, all throughout Russia, in Moscow, there is going to be a satellite concerning contemporary art and that extends to Europe. I mean that, you know, my go would be, I’d love to see the Hermitage museum here n the United States. You know, that would be a dream. And why not? And whatever political manifestation of relations you know it is tough, we are in cold war 2.0 perhaps but you know I hope not. But I don’t see why that has to be, why art has to be politicized in that way. I mean, it’s the common core of what we have as …

Charlie Rose: Two cultures and civilizations

Mark Kelner: yeah, I think so.

Charlie Rose: And that is way, we live in a very, very difficult time in terms of culture, because we see people of variety of reasons destroy culture as a political statement.

Mark Kelner: The people at the leadership of the Hermitage museum Foundation, chairman of the board is a guy named Torkom Demirjian, he’s been in business since early 1970s, I think since 1972. And you know, I asked him about it, he is Turkish. And I am like ‘look what is going on with Ephesus, look what’s going on with people destroying the culture and kind of trying to make their own by destroying. Trying to make a legacy by destroying what’s been before. And he is like Mark it’s a terrible situation, but we move forward, there is no choice but to, you know, if there is war that is going on we are involved in preventing it by sharing what we have in common.

Charlie Rose: Thank you for coming.

Mark Kelner: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Charlie Rose: Pleasure to meet you.

Mark Kelner: My pleasure too.