Partnership with the Hermitage began for Cartier almost 30 years ago, in 1992, when the museum staged the exhibition “The Art of Cartier”. A new stage of collaboration commenced five years ago, when the jewellery house supported the Hermitage’s restoration programme. Since 2016, with the support of Maison Cartier, staff of the Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Precious and Archaeological Metals in the State Hermitage’s Department of Scientific Restoration and Conservation have carried out the restoration of five unique works from the museum’s collection of decorative and applied art.
The exhibition in the Picket Hall is constructed around these five restored masterpieces which are being displayed together with 35 items from the historical Cartier Collection, owned by the firm itself – pieces of jewellery and timepieces that have been selected on the basis of a shared material, style or technique.
Staff of the Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Precious and Archaeological Metals (headed by Igor Karlovich Malkiel) restored what may well be the world’s only surviving example of a rock crystal lamp created by Arab craftsmen in the 10th century and later embellished by skilled Italian jewellers at the time of the Renaissance. In the exhibition. the lamp is complemented by the works of French jewellers who turned their hands to this amazing material ten centuries later. In the pieces from the Cartier Collection, one can see how the 20th-century craftspeople combined rock crystal with precious stones and preferred platinum over yellow gold.
An illustrated catalogue has been prepared for the exhibition with forewords by Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, and Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier.
The exhibition curators are Olga Grigoryevna Kostiuk, head of the State Hermitage’s Department of Western European Applied Art, and Olga Vladimirovna Sedina, a researcher in the same department.
The exhibition “Cartier: Passing on Heritage and Savoir-Faire. Masterpieces from the Hermitage Museum and Cartier Collection” is included in fixed route №2 around the Main Museum Complex (entry by the Church Staircase).