Computer Graphics And Animation Competition: Тhe Hermitage in a Critical Age

The revolutionary upheaval that broke out exactly a hundred years ago has pervaded the life of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage in a most cardinal fashion. The Revolution, the storming of the Palace and its seizure… What really happened here in those days?

Taking part in our competition will give you the opportunity to conduct your very own research.

Themes of the contest:

1. On the threshold of the revolution.

  • The year 1913 in facts and numbers.

Russia in 1913, just before the beginning of the First World War, found herself at a peak of economical development. Why then after a few years did such a strong change of regime happen? Find the statistics and the facts regarding the economical life of Russia until and after the burst of the Revolution.

  • The year 1917 in the Winter Palace*.

In 1917, the Winter Palace had already ceased to be the Residence of the Romanovs. The Imperial family had definitively moved to Tsarskoe Selo, amidst security concerns during the Revolution of 1905. World War I profoundly changed the life of the Palace. From 1915, here the largest field hospital in the country was created, named after the heir to the Throne, Tsarevich Aleksei. Part of the collection of the Imperial Hermitage and other treasures belonging to the family were evacuated to Moscow. On May 5th 1917, a new Provisional Government was formed, and on June 8th A.F.Kerenskij became in charge of it, after entering into the Winter Palace, along with his own collaborators and guards. The halls of the Palace were occupied by cadets, who ruthlessly looted the furnishings and the objects of the interiors. By October 24th, towards the capital was directed the First Women’s Battalion of Petrograd for the protection of the Provisional Government. Research the happenings of 1917 in the Winter Palace and discuss them in your work.

2. One day from history.

The storming of the Winter Palace is one of the diffused myths regarding the history of the Revolution. Such myth was created not only by the revolutionary propaganda, but also through the works of cinematographers, poets, writers, sculptors and artists, in order to protect the ideas of the Revolution.

  • Myths regarding the «storming» of the Winter Palace.

The Palace in the movies about the Revolution. The cinematographical interpretation (by choosing and presenting episodes from the motion pictures). The taking of the Winter Palace in painting. Find paintings, which portray the conquest of the Palace and discuss them by distinguishing what belongs to the reality of the facts and what seems to be part of the myth.

  • History of the OCTOBER STAIRCASE.

The stairs leading to Her Imperial Highness were the witness of the «storming» of the Palace. Discuss why the staircase received the title of «October» and conserved such name until today.

  • The hour has struck.

The clocks of the Romanov family in the White dining hall were stopped at 2 hours and 10 minutes, when during the night betwen the 7th and the 8th November (according to the new calendar) 1917, the Provisional Government was arrested. Discuss about the history of those hours.

3. Public activity of the Museum.
The Hermitage after the Revolution*.

Go through these historical materials* and discuss what happened at the Hermitage in the period succeeding the Revolution:

  • First State free exhibition (1919).
  • Stroganovskij Palace (1918-1929) and the Museum of Baron Stieglitz (1923-1945) in the structure of the Hermitage.
  • The Department for the Orient and I.A.Orbeli (1920).
  • The “Travel” of the knight around the Hermitage.
  • The selling of the treasures of the Hermitage between 1928 and 1930.
  • The Marxist Theory in the develoment of exhibitions at the Hermitage (starting from 1930).
  • Conversion of the Palace into museum. Architector A.V.Sivkov.
  • Educational programmes (watch the movie «Рожденные революцией»).

4. The WINTER PALACE after the Revolution*.

It is known, that the Winter Palace was not immediately included in the complex of the Hermitage. This was a long and difficult process. The premises of the Palace acquired new functions. You may analyse the materials and discuss about the Winter Palace, which in the following years was used for different purposes:

  • Labour colony for minors, evacuation point for children (1917).
  • Palace of the Arts (1917-1919).
  • Museum of the Revolution (1920-1941).
  • Museum of the  «Historical Rooms» (1922-1926).
  • Chivalry School of the Osoaviakhim (1932-1935).

You may also find photographic and figurative materials in order to show the state of the rooms of the Winter Palace until and after the revolutionary upheaval.

5. Banners.

«Peace to the huts, war to the palaces!», «Art is for the people!», «Proletaries of the whole world reunite!», «He who does not work, does not eat», «Who is not with us, is against us». Try to create a collection of banners characterising the first decade after the Revolution. For this purpose, it is possible to use several sources: not only photographs and films, but also paintings and the ceramics of those years.

6. Propaganda ceramics.

Propaganda ceramics became one of the first carriers of new ideas, illustrating the principles of the new life and the new Soviet state. Therefore on plates appeared illustrations and portraits of leaders, workers, soldiers of the Red Army flying the banners. Kazimir Malevich and his disciples Nikolai Suetin and Ilya Chashnik, rowing against the tradition, became reformers in the field of ceramics. How did the propaganda ceramics perform in relation to their prefixed scope? Visit the museum of the Imperial Ceramics Factory or go through books on Soviet ceramics, in order to prepare an interesting recollection, reflecting your own opinion.

7. Symbols of the Soviet Age.

Many symbols of the Soviet times have been preserved and still exist today:

  • Soviet banknotes and coins.
  • Traditional symbols: the red flag, the five-pointed star, the sickle and the hammer, et al.
  • Soviet orders. The Lenin Order. The Order of the Revolution.
  • The red scarf, the October badge.
  • Monuments to Lenin.
  • The Cruiser «Aurora».

Study the history of the creation and the fate of one of the symbols of the Soviet Age and discuss it..

8. Poetry of the Revolution. Songs and poems of the revolutionary years.

The revolutionary years gave a push for the development of new tendencies in Russian poetry: Futurists (Vladimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovskiy, Igor’ Severyanin, Boris Pasternak), Acmeists and «Tsekhoviki» (Nikolay Gumilev, Osip Mandelshtam, Anna Akhmatova), Imaginists (Sergey Esenin), Symbolists (Dmitriy Merezhkovskiy, Fyodor Cologub, Konstantin Bal’mont, Aleksandr Blok, Andrey Beliy). Choose one of the writers or poets and discuss with regards to the revolutionary pages of their corpus. Which of these works bears significance even today? What in them can attract the contemporary audience?

9. Fashion of the Revolution.

The Revolution, with its stark refusal of classism, also took the form of a new style in fashion. The working people of the young nation of the Soviets had to look like it befitted to the creator of a new society. On the streets started to appear men and women in leather commissioner jackets, forage caps and soldier’s blouses. Satined skirts came into fashion, to be worn under city jackets. Soldier’s blouses, originally for men, after entering the women’s wardrobes, stressed the equality between the Soviet man and the Soviet woman. Collect figurative materials in order to discuss the fashion of the years 1917-1930.

10. Celebrations in Palace Square*.

The Palace Square has preserved its role as the main location for the commemoration of the most important festivities in Saint Petersburg. How and which recurrences were celebrated before the Revolution? Which name did the Square have during that time? It is possible to discover many interesting facts regarding those bright pages of history by looking at the works of the painters B.M.Kustodiev, V.V.Kuptsov, or by consultuing the books of A.V.Konivets* and A.V.Nemiro**.

11. According to the «new style». The reform of the calendar. The reform of orthography.

The revolutionary turmoils pervaded almost all the spheres of the new government. For example, the orthographic reform of the language had been prepared long before (since 1904), but it was possible to enact it only after the Revolution took place. As a result of this, a few letters disappeared from the Russian alphabet. Also the transition to the Gregorian calendar, in use across Europe, happened after the separation of the state from the church in 1918. Discover what was the benefit of those reforms in Russia, what we lost and what we gained.


We ask you to complete your submission with an answer to one of the following questions:

• What was a discovery for you or what captured your attention the most, while you worked on the chosen theme?

• According to your opinion, what is more desirable for the historical process: the regular and stable progress of the country or abrupt revolutionary changes?

• How does the current generation perceive the happenings of 1917?

Recommended literature:

* «Palais d’Hiver. De la résidence impériale à l’Osoaviakhim Kavshkola», Konivets A.V., 2014. / «Зимний дворец. От императорской резиденции до кавшколы Осоавиахима», Конивец А.В., 2014.

**«Ville festive. L’art de décorer les vacances. Histoire et modernité», Nemiro O.V., 1987. / «Праздничный город. Искусство оформления праздников. История и современность», Немиро О. В., 1987.

Exhibitions at the Hermitage:

  • «Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917». Main museum complex. Nikolaevskiy room, Malakhitoviy room, the White dining room. Opening on 26.10.2017 and lasting until 04.02.2018.

Conditions of the contest


The «School Centre» of Scientific and Methodological Department and the Sector for the Work with Volunteers of the State Hermitage, the Educational Centre for Computer Programming of the Academy for Professional Training (УЦВТ).

Aims of the contest:

  • Giving exposure and supporting the creativity of gifted children.
  • Creating interest among the youngsters towards the history and the artistic heritage of different epochs.
  • Fostering in our children a caring relationship with our history, architectural monuments and culture.
  • Enabling them to develop research skills in their work.

Timeline for the contest:

From October 22nd to December 1st 2017.

Works can be accepted in the following formats:

  • Computer-aided pictorial art and graphics.
  • Multimedial presentation (PowerPoint and others).
  • Flash- and Gif-animations.
  • Video.

Requirements for the submissions:

  • Computer-aided graphics in the formats: jpg, gif, bmp. Maximum size 2.5MB.
  • Multimedia presentation containing not more than 10 slides.
  • Duration of animation or video not more than 1 minute.
  • It is mandatory to add the original file (*.psd, .fla, .ppt, .pptx, .pdn, etc.).
  • Every project must be put in folder (.rar, .zip). Name of the folder must contain name and surname.
  • Folder must contain a text file (.txt) with information about participant (School number, grade, e-mail, phone number, name and surname of tutor, group number in УЦВТ).
  • Name of project must contain name, surname, age, grade number of participant, name of project (Example: Kotov Ivan – 13 years old – KO115 – Hermitage.bmp).
  • It is vital that the name and the surname of the participant are written at the bottom of the project.

Participants of the contest:

  • Eligible participants for the competition include those studying in educational establishments, clubs, sections and schools. Those who have successfully submitted their entries to the УЦВТ in accordance with the rules of the contest are also qualified to apply.
  • Participants are required to have between 7 and 18 years of age.

Deadline for the reception of the submissions:

Until December 1st 2017.

The submission of the entries can be done electronically at the following address: or at the educational facilities of the УЦВТ, tel. +7 (812) 612-11-22.

Selection of the finalists:

The winners will be declared by a jury by the 8th of December 2017. The best works will be on display in the rooms of the State Hermitage.