Did You Know ...

... how the State Hermitage restores archaeological objects?

Often mentioned in the same breath as the Louvre or the Prado, the State Hermitage is one of the most famous art museums in the world. Its archaeological collection alone comprises 2.7 million items. But before being exhibited, these objects are inspected and worked on by experienced restorers.

These experts face many challenges in the course of their work: the pieces often originate from other collections, and may have been damaged, overpainted or badly restored. Also during the digs, however, the archaeologists accompany the finds for the processes to be carried out subsequently in the lab.

At the State Hermitage's new, ultra-modern Restoration and Storage Center, good technical equipment is at least as important as the restorers' experience. "The ZEISS microscopes provide us with the perfect solution for our needs," says Natalia Pavlukhina, Head of the Ceramics Restoration section. Mounted on an adjustable arm, the microscopes provide the restorers with ideal magnification in order to remove dirt or coats of paint from old and sensitive surfaces. Even in the case of glass, the tiniest fragments can be pieced back together.

The restorers work on practically everything: from prehistoric cuneiform script tablets and antique vases through Western European and Russian porcelain from different epochs. Thus, the ZEISS microscopes ensure that the over two million visitors who come to this 350-room World Heritage Site every year can see its 65,000 archaeological exhibits at their very best.


15 October 2014