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The capital of fountains

Peterhof is located 30km west of St.Petersburg on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. It was the summer residence of Peter the Great, built to commemorate the victory over the Swedes in 1709 and to show the strength of the Russian Empire.

Peterhof was designed to resemble Versailles in France and architects from all over the world were involved in its design. Peter the Great himself helped to plan the layout of the gardens and fountains. Vasily Tuvolkov, Russia’s first hydraulics engineer, built the fountains in 1721-1722.

The Great Cascade fountain in the gardens has 17 waterfalls, 142 water jets, 66 fountains, 29 bas-reliefs and 39 gilded statues, including the famous five-ton Sampson Fountain. Another fountain, the Chess Hill, contains some of the best waterfalls cascading over bronze dragons. The Pyramid fountain was designed by Peter the Great and is made up of seven tiers and 505 jets.

Some of the fountains are there to surprise and amuse visitors. The Little Umbrella fountain sprays out water from 164 jets as soon as anyone sits on a bench underneath it. The Little Oak fountain sprays out water if it senses any weight approaching it and the Pebbles fountain also drenches visitors who sit on a nearby bench.

To feel happy and make their spirits high, Russians and foreign visitors come to Peterhof to enjoy its magic charms.

Notes: commemorate victory – праздновать годовщину победы

resemble – походить

bas-relief – барельеф

layout – расположение

tier – ряд, ярус

3.15. Discuss these questions with a partner.

1.Do you ever go to exhibitions? 2.When did you go last to a museum in your home town? 3.Do you like modern art? 4.What do you think art is for?

3.16 Read the text and do the tasks after it.

Famous russian museums

1. The Hermitage is one of the world’s most universal and unique museums of art and culture. It is situated in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Being the largest fine arts museum in Russia, it contains the world famous collection of the West-European paintings, covering a span of about 700 years (13 – 20 centuries). It also houses the works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Velasquez, Murillo, as well as paintings of Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens; a remarkable French canvas group of the 18 th century; impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

The collections illustrate the art of many countries: Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany, Finland, Britain, Sweden, Denmark and many others.

The museum also includes European sculpture: Rodin, Michelangelo and many other eminent masters. Besides, it has several departments representing the art of China, Egypt, India, Greece, Rome, not to mention the Scythian art.

Visitors also admire the collections of tapestry, textiles, weapons, ivories, pottery, porcelain and furniture. They can make a complete and serious study of the art and culture of the past.

Having lost its original meaning (‘hermit’s dwelling’), the name “Hermitage” has gone into our literature and art and is now associated with the biggest treasure-house of the world culture and art.

2. The Tretyakov Gallery. There are many wonderful galleries in our country. The Tretyakov Gallery is the most famous and richest picture gallery both in Russia and abroad. It dates from 1856. It is named after its founder Pavel Tretyakov who began collecting Russian paintings in 1836.

In the late 60-s Tretyakov started collecting canvases by the painters of the 18 th and the first half of the 19th centuries. He was the first to appreciate the newest trends in Russian painting. In the 1870-s he turned to collecting the portraits of the Russian cultural figures and it was highly appreciated by the Russian public.

His brother Sergey also collected pictures both by Russian and foreign painters, especially those by French and Dutch masters.

The brothers’ collections were opened to the public in 1874 as a private museum and soon became very popular. Some years later, in 1892, the brothers donated their picture collection to Moscow. Pavel Tretyakov remained the life-long curator of this gallery.

In 1918 the gallery and collections of paintings were nationalized and became a state museum.

Today the Tretyakov Gallery has got many departments. Some of them are devoted to the great Russian painters Repin, Levitan, Rublev, Serov and many others. Their paintings reflect the history and beauty of Russia, the Russian people’s lives and soul, give us amazing portraits of many prominent people of our country.

One of the most famous museums in Saint Petersburg is the Russian Museum, a treasure house of national culture. It contains more than 300.000 works of art and covers the period from the 11 th century to the present day. The museum possesses one of the finest collections of Russian paintings and the country's largest collection of national sculpture. It also has enormous collections of drawings and examples of decorative and folk-art and ancient Russian art.

The Russian Museum is situated on Arts Square. A great architect and town planner Carlo Rossi designed this square. The Mikhailovsky Palace, which now houses the Russian Museum, was built by Rossi between 1819 and 1825 for Grand Duke Mikhail, the youngest son of Paul I.

The thousands-year-old history of Russian art is represented in 130 rooms of the museum starting with the splendid collections of ancient Russian icons by famous Russian icon painters such as Andrei Rublev and Simon Ushakov. There is a fine collection of portraits by Antropov, Rokotov, Levitsky, Borovikovsky and others and of sculptures by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Shubin and others.

The Russian Museum periodically organizes exhibitions both in our country and abroad. Paintings and sculptures from the museum have been on display in many countries of the world.

3.17 Complete the sentences below with the suitable words from the text.

1. The Hermitage is a universal and unique museum of … .

2. It can be ranked among the world’s richest museums in … .

3. The museum has several sections illustrating the art of … .

4. The Tretyakov Gallery dates from … .

5. It is one of the world’s most famous … .

6. The Gallery was named after its … Pavel Tretyakov who remained

its life-long … .

7. Many sections of the Gallery are devoted to … .

8. Their works reflect the … .

9. In 1918 the Gallery was nationalized and turned into … .

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