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There Ermitage Italia Foundation “Has suspended relations with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg”. This was announced by the general secretary of the Foundation, Maurizio Cecconi, specifying that “all relations with people have been maintained” and therefore with the curators, scholars and managers of the prestigious Russian cultural institution. “The Hermitage is a state museum and if the state orders to withdraw all the works on loan to Italy, the museum must obey”, notes the general secretary of the Italian foundation, whose scientific committee is chaired by the director of the Hermitage Museum. Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, who yesterday wrote to Palazzo Reale and the Gallerie d’Italia, in Milan, explaining that the Moscow Ministry of Culture has asked for the return of the works on loan for the two important exhibitions in progress in recent weeks.
“We are convinced of the importance of maintaining relationships with people to prevent the breaking of that fundamental thread” which is culture, explains Cecconi; the same path, in short, started in these hours by many other Italian cultural institutions, by Venice Biennale at the Milan Triennale, at the Maxxi in Rome, as far as the universities, which have also distanced themselves from the document with which the rectors of Russian universities have sided in favor of Putin’s wicked choices.
For the Ermitage foundation, Cecconi specifies, the suspension of relations with the state structure of the St. Petersburg museum implies neither asking nor granting loans and not carrying out anything that should involve the state. A suspension that if the situation does not unblock could jeopardize “the projects of the second half of 2022 and those of 2023,” he admits. At the moment, therefore, all that remains is to wait, in the hope that the war will stop and that the crisis can be resolved. For this reason, the foundation is also in close contact with the Italian municipalities involved in the various initiatives. Among the events in preparation mentioned on the online site of the Ermitage Italia Foundation is the drafting of two collaboration protocols between the State Museum of Saint Petersburg, the Italian foundation and the cities of Verona and Vicenza. “Maintaining a connection thread is essential – concludes Cecconi – because it also means that when official relations can be resumed, we will find ourselves a little further on”.
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