Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1668.

State Hermitage Museum to Curate Russian Pavilion at 2019 Venice Biennale

The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, will be the first institution to curate a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The exhibition takes its title, “Lc. 15: 11–32,” from the Gospel of Luke and the parable of the prodigal son, who spends his entire inheritance and becomes destitute. Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son, circa 1668, which depicts the son repenting to his father and receiving forgiveness, will serve as the focal point of the exhibition.
Film director Alexander Sokurov, whose movie Faust (2011) received the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival, will create an installation representing an Hermitage gallery and an artist’s studio, “whose windows look out onto the turmoil and war which surrounds the modern world.” Theater artist Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai will also participate with an installation evoking the world of the Flemish School. The rest of the participating artists will be announced in May.

The Russian pavilion is being commissioned by Semyon Mikhailovsky, rector and associate professor of architectural theory and history at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in Saint Petersburg, and overseen by Mikhail Piotrovsky, who has served as general director of the Hermitage since 1992. The Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow will also present exhibitions at the Fifty-Eighth Biennale, which will take place from May 11 to November 24, 2019.