Visitors to the State Hermitage have a unique opportunity to see the best plastic samples created by masters for the entire time that intelligent life on Earth has existed. Perhaps the State Hermitage is the only museum in the world that provides such an opportunity.
The collection of small plastics of the prehistoric era in the Hermitage is one of the largest in the world. More than twenty Stone Age Venus figures make up the well-deserved pride of the museum. The permanent exhibition of the museum has stone and bone sculptures. Among all the exhibits belonging to this era, one can note the plastic works of Scythian masters.
The Egyptian section of the museum has dozens of statues representing all the epochs of the development of the country of the pyramids. Funeral, temple, decorative sculptures, filled with significance, majestic simplicity and royal peace, allow the viewer to feel the depth and diversity of ancient art. Swirls of gods, pharaohs, priests, officials, noble Egyptians give a complete picture of the strictly canonical and at the same time realistic art of the greatest civilization of antiquity.
One cannot ignore the collection of sculptures of Babylon and Assyria. Despite the fact that the collection of plastics of this era is very modest, but the monumental bas-reliefs, as well as several figures of the guardian gods, are the best examples of Mesopotamian art.
The collection of antique sculptures of the Hermitage can impress the most sophisticated art historian. The basis of the collection is Roman copies of Greek sculptures. There are several original sculptures found in the Black Sea coast, a large collection of terracotta figurines found during excavations in Greece.
Particular attention of visitors is attracted by a copy of the famous statue of Olympian Zeus. The antique sculptural collection presents both images of the gods and expertly executed tombstones, as well as sculptural portraits.
The entire history of the development of ancient art is presented in hundreds of masterpieces made in marble and bronze. Archaic harmony and static, is replaced by majesty and inner drama in the classics. The inner fullness and psychologism of Roman sculptural portraits follows the emotionality and energy of Hellenistic sculptures.
The Byzantine collection of the museum is interesting and exquisite: a good shepherd, reliefs representing everyday scenes, the famous diptych (bone carving) - all exhibits of the collection are the most valuable artifacts of the Byzantine empire.
The medieval sculpture of the Hermitage is inferior to the rest of the museum's collections. In this section it is more interesting to view the eastern exposition (China, Japan), as for European sculptural specimens, most of the time these exhibits are stored in storage rooms, and they are exhibited only during specially organized exhibitions.
As for the sculptures of the Italian Renaissance, the Hermitage is not a leader in the wealth of sculptures of this era. Attention deserves the sculpture of Michelangelo Crouched boy, as well as several works of second-order masters.
In contrast to the Renaissance, baroque art in the Hermitage is represented unusually wide. This is due to the time of construction and arrangement of the Winter Palace itself, when it was Baroque that was the actual and fashionable style.
The works of Rastrelli, Bernini, Guidi, Rusconi, Legra and many others reveal the emotional and plastic vision of a person in an era of magnificent and ceremonial style.
The sculpture of classicism in the Hermitage is presented most fully and varied. In addition to Western masters, in the exhibition you can see the work of Russian sculptors.
The plastic art of Art Nouveau is represented in the Hermitage by several brilliant works by Rodin, Majol and other examples of style.
The exposition of modern sculpture of the Hermitage cannot compete with the collections of large specialized museums in Europe and America. However, thanks to constantly updated exhibitions from the collections of other museums, visitors to the Hermitage have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with this section of world art.
Among the sculptural masterpieces of the most famous Russian museum, one can name, in addition to the mentioned works, the following: the head of Socrates (Ancient Greece), Apollo and Daphne (Bernini), Three Graces (Canova), a sculptural portrait of Voltaire (Hudon), Cupid with a jug (Falcone), Eternal spring (Roden).
The Hermitage sculpture collection is the most complete and valuable in Russia. At the same time, without a doubt, the museum remains, first of all, a repository of the greatest masterpieces of painting.
The museum’s store offers to purchase miniature copies of many sculptural masterpieces made in marble or bronze.