Monday, January 25, 2021

Topping up the kitty: Staff at Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage puzzled after Frenchman leaves bequest to museum’s cats in his will

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On visiting Russia’s world-famous Hermitage Museum, it’s inconceivable to overlook the military of cats guarding the constructing in opposition to pesky mice.

For many, the moggies are as memorable because the artwork assortment – one of many planet’s most spectacular and intensive. In reality, the feline buddies made such an affect on one French customer, he included them in his will, donating a small a part of his fortune to maintain them effectively taken care of. “We don’t stop taking care of our cats – our visitors and internet users look after them,” museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky advised a digital convention. “They have their own patrons: recently, in France, a man even bequeathed a small amount of his will to our cats, and we are in correspondence with lawyers about it.”

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Maria Haltunen, who directs the museum’s cat program, advised St. Petersburg newspaper Fontanka that they learnt of the inheritance final summer time.“The man died and divided what he left among his relatives and a French organization for the protection of the environment. He left a third part – small compared to the previous two – to the Hermitage cats,” she defined.The museum workers couldn’t decide what prompted the Frenchman to donate, and whether or not he had ever even visited St. Petersburg.The Hermitage has had cats for the reason that 18th century, when Empress Elizabeth Petrovna made them everlasting residents to assist struggle the incursion of rodents. Legend has it that the primary mouse-hunters got here from Kazan – a metropolis apparently identified for its rat-catching cats. During World War II, and the Siege of Leningrad (as the town was then identified), all of the cats died. Following the conflict, extra felines have been dropped at the museum, the place their counterparts nonetheless work as we speak.The Hermitage relies within the Winter Palace, the previous official residence of the Russian emperors from 1762 till the revolution, in 1917. It is the second-largest artwork museum on the planet, with a world-class assortment, together with not solely work by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, but additionally a Michelangelo marble sculpture and lots of Egyptian antiquities.Like this story? Share it with a buddy!

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