Flora

Hermitage, St Petersburg 
October 2020

Flora is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the great works of Old Masters in the Hermitage collection through a synthesis of the arts – literature, acting, music and dance. The invited creators will push back the boundaries of the perception of the collection belonging to one of the world’s greatest museums.

»The concept consists in having famous and highly fashionable writers from around the world select paintings from the Hermitage and write an essay about them. On the basis of those essays, actors and musicians devise performances that they then present in the Hermitage. It will be a very interesting example of the way that we give painting a new literary life and literature a new painterly-museum life«, Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, said of the programme.

This initiative is an original rethinking of the Ganymed project that has been running successfully for a few years now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Its realization in the Hermitage will acquire its own unique forms and meanings, while the multinational team of participants will present a wealth of creative thinking inspired by treasures of world art.

The director Jacqueline Kornmüller and the producer and dramatist Peter Wolf have invited outstanding writers and musicians from Austria, Russia, Germany, the UK, the USA, Belarus and other countries to produce texts and compositions based on works in the Hermitage. With a team of 20 actors, dancers and performers, Kornmüller will create a series of performances that will encourage a new interpretation of famous paintings. Involving the audience in their piece, the creators will invite the spectators to acquire a new artistic experience in a classic museum.

In October and November 2020, each Thursday evening the Hermitage halls will appear to people in a new, unaccustomed form: Flora will allow them to immerse themselves in the world of art and see what creations have been inspired by the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Antonio Canova and other great artists in the Hermitage.

The participants in the project include the writers Yevgeny Vodolazkin, Olga Sedakova, Tatyana Tolstaya, the Belarusian author Victor Martinovich, the Austrian prose writer and dramatist Thomas Glavinic, the British author Zadie Smith and the Iranian animation director Shadab Shayegan.

writers composers

Premiere: October 2020
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg