On 7 December 2017, during the Hermitage Days, the refurbished permanent display “Ancient Glyptics. Engraved Gems of Ancient Greece and Rome. 15th century BC – 5th century AD” was inaugurated in the New Hermitage after the completion of restoration.
At the opening ceremony, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, said: “Today we are opening the refurbished Hall of Glyptics, where the exhibits are masterpieces with their own history that evoke memories of the splendid past – of Empress Catherine II and her passion for engraved gems; of the members of the Hermitage staff who worked to compile and create the collections; and, of course, of the times when the Ancient Greek and Roman gems were created.”
The Hall of Glyptics (No. 120) is one of three halls completing the large-scale project for the re-exposition of the State Hermitage’s Department of the Ancient World. Under the programme for the refurbishment of the permanent display that began in the year 2000, twenty galleries have been opened. The final three rooms in the plan were the Gallery, the Hall of Vases and the Hall of Glyptics, which for almost 40 years served as researchers’ studies and storerooms for the Department of the Ancient World.
The Hall of Vases has been restored to its original appearance, as conceived by the architect Leo von Klenze, and is awaiting its display – around 1,000 unique examples of Ancient Greek painted ceramics, presenting the history of vase-painting in Antiquity and the history of collecting.
The renewed permanent display in the Hall of Glyptics contains more than 700 exhibits, the majority of which were in the stores and not shown to the general public. The items are arranged in chronological order, making it possible to trace the development of glyptic art from the middle of the second millennium BC right through to the demise of the Roman Empire, and supplemented by moulds of other engraved stones, analogues in other materials (bronze, marble, ceramics), and also copies and replicas made in the Modern Era.
The display was prepared by the staff of the State Hermitage’s Department of the Ancient World, under the guidance of the head of the department, Anna Alexeyevna Trofimova, Candidate of Art Studies. The curator is Yelena Igorevna Arsentyeva, researcher in the Department of the Ancient World.