The collection of the State Hermitage includes more than three million works of art and artefacts of the world culture. Among them are paintings, graphic works, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological finds and numismatic material.
The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage situated in the centre of St Petersburg consists of the Winter Palace, the former state residence of the Russian emperors, the buildings of the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theatre and the Auxiliary House. The museum complex also includes the Menshikov Palace and the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building, the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
Creation of the museum
The museum was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased a collection of Flemish and Dutch paintings (225) from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernest Gotzkowski.
The museum's storerooms, exhibitions, departments and services are housed in 10 buildings, 7 of which are monuments of 18th- and 19th-century Russian culture.