Some people believe that Peter the Great laid the foundation for this collection by buying the Venus of Tauria in 1719. Others think that Catherine II was the founder – she started collecting art pieces having purchased large collections in Russia and abroad. Grandson of Catherine the Great Nikolay I built a special building of New Hermitage having invited for this task German architect Leo von Klenze, specialist in construction of museums. His project was improved a bit by Russian architects, while sculptor Terebenev decorated the famous porch featuring atlantes. The consecrated museum opened its doors for public. The Hermitage Theater gave a performance under the opening ceremony, while a dinner for 600 people was organized in splendorous halls of the new building right in the midst of the pieces of art. As for the Winter Palace, the museum moved there after the revolution, as the palace had been the residence of the tsar before.
In 1852, Hermitage Museum opened its doors for public