World renowned architectural photographer Ahmet Ertug has been invited by The State Hermitage Museum's Director General Mikhail Piotrovsky to photograph the Hermitage and to publish a book to commemorate the 250th anniversary of its foundation.
This exciting task of photographing the vast interiors and many rooms of the Hermitage could not have found a better interpreter than Ahmet Ertug. The delicacy of his composition corresponds perfectly with the richness of decoration in the rooms.
After completing this huge task of photographing the Hermitage museum, which took the first six months of 2014, Ertug was introduced by the Director of the Hermitage Museum to photograph the other important museums and institutions in the city, as listed below:
These baroque interiors and ambience, with libraries of rare books, impressive staircases, halls, painting and sculpture galleries, and collections of historic specimens ranging from technology to biology, were also photographed by Ertug to complete his St Petersburg series.
The Hermitage and St Petersburg images by Ahmet Ertug are a crowning achievement in a very successful career in photography lasting for more than two decades.
Most of Ahmet Ertug's prospects follow the baroque axis of an enfilade, but there are also diagonal views. The axial order is monumental by definition, and the diagonal view shows the signs of life in a room, especially in the National Library or The Stieglitz Art Academy. Whenever possible, there is an object in the foreground that characterizes the room and its collection; in the library views the artist frequently creates the feeling that the owner of a desk has just left for a moment, to make place for the photographer. In the Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences the frames of dioramas or exhibition vitrines are hidden so one can gain the impression that the animal in the foreground will soon disappear into the building's long galleries.
In the Rubens room of the famous painting collection of The Hermitage, the fighters on the right side of the image seem to jump into one of the paintings. Other rooms are presented in their structural beauty with their huge columns on a grid patterned ground. In all cases, Ahmet Ertug manages to imbue a certain amount of drama to a scene not generally expected to be aesthetically fruitful.
In contrast to earlier attempts at photographing the Hermitage, Ahmet Ertug manages to impart a bright light of baroque felicity to most of his pictures.
Only the vaulted rooms of the National Library, certain corners of The Stieglitz Academy, and areas of The Military Museum are portrayed in intimate views of working spaces and delicately darker tones.
The long history of the vast Hermitage complex makes an understanding of its beauty nearly impossible; too many centuries have contributed to the whole ensemble, with elements of architecture and decoration being added and subtracted over time. Ahmet Ertug manages to convey a common ground in composition and colour to a diverse situation; his series on the Hermitage in St Petersburg is, as a book and as well as an exhibition, a true masterpiece in the history of photography.Rolf Sachsse
Rolf Sachsse is one of the most prolific writers on photography today. Among his 50 books and more than 400 articles on the history and theory of photography, the larger number discusses the relation of architecture and media. Currently he holds the seat in Design History and Design Theory at the University of Fine Arts, Saarbruck / Germany. More information under www.hbksaar.de/sachsse .
"When I was photographing Hermitage, it felt like watching an opera on the stage. Through these images I wanted to bring the viewer right into the stage of this majestic opera house where the viewers become the actors." – Ahmet Ertuğ
This exclusive volume –Hermitage, a Palace and a Museum– with dimensions of 48 x 40 cm, contains 200 pages, with approximately 15,000 words of text and an additional 102 colour plates. The volume was printed in Germany, in a state of the art offset printing facility with special Japanese inks.
The large format 8 x 10 inch photographic plates by Ahmet Ertug were processed in the leading London photographic laboratories, in order to capture their best colour fidelity. The digital darkroom work and colour separation for the volume has been carried out using PrimeScan 16 bit drum scanners, Eizo high end monitors and specially calibrated proofing systems.
The technical team, which has many years of collaboration with Ahmet Ertug, has devoted many hours to each image, and has utilised leading-edge technology in order to emphasise the full range of colour captured on each original film. The paper used in the volume is 250 gsm Scheufelen Phoenixmotion Xantur, an exceptional German paper with FSC Qualification (the mark of responsible forestry). The volume was hand-bound in Italy by master binder Ruggero Rigoldi. It is bound in an exceptional red silk and presented in a slipcase. A limited edition of 100 copies is also available, bound with exclusive hand-embossed leather and presented in a leather box.
The Introduction is by the Director of The State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky. An essay by Michael Forsyth and Marion Harney describes the outstanding architecture of the Hermitage. A contribution by Geraldine Norman illustrates the highlights of the Hermitage Museum collection. The clarity of the photography by Ahmet Ertug displays the outstanding qualities of the Hermitage, making this book a collector’s item