The St. Petersburg program is unique in allowing our students virtually unlimited access to the Hermitage Museum with its collection of Western art that is rivaled only by such famous sites as the British Museum or the Louvre. Our students are granted equally unrestricted access to the Russian Museum, a treasure-trove of Russian art ranging from medieval icons to the avant-garde and beyond. Classes are held under the tutelage of Hermitage curators, senior associates of the Russian Museum, and Vassar College faculty from the Department of Russian Studies. Conditions for our students are truly exceptional, enabling them to visit the museum’s storage facilities and examine parts of its enormous collection not available to the general public. The program offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity both for Russian majors and students interested in art history.
Explore treasures of art and culture in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Classes on-site in the Hermitage and Russian Museum. No prior knowledge of Russian required.
Program Description and Eligibility
This innovative one-semester-long study abroad program is designed to take advantage of the fabulously rich collections of art held in the museums of St. Petersburg. No previous knowledge of the Russian language is required. Though designed primarily for Vassar students, the program is also open to seniors, undergraduate students from other institutions as well as to graduate and special students. The program will be offered every fall semester.
Each student will register for four courses: two art history courses, a culture survey course, and a Russian language course appropriate to his/her level. Courses on art and culture will be taught in English and offered on-site at the Hermitage and Russian Museum. Several of the designated faculty are simultaneously curators at the Hermitage Museum.
Program courses run from early September through mid-December. The program’s vacation schedule coincides with that at Vassar College.
175a. The Hermitage Collection Through History – A survey of the major collections of the Hermitage Museum’s paintings and prints, presented in the context of the history of their acquisition, exhibition, and appreciation. Given in English. Three hours of lectures per week, plus extensive viewing of art in the Hermitage Museum. Art History majors see 275a.
176a. Icons to Avant-Garde: Russian Art – A historical survey, based on the exhibits of Russian art in several museums of St. Petersburg. Given in English. Three hours of lectures per week, plus extensive viewing of art in the Russian Museum. Art History majors see 276a.
275a. [Option] – (Same lectures as 175) Available to students who have taken Art 105-106 at Vassar College or the equivalent elsewhere, and who wish to undertake an individualized research project in addition to regular coursework. May be counted toward Art History major requirement.
276a. [Option] – (Same lectures as 176) Available to advanced students who wish to undertake an individualized research project in addition to regular coursework. May be counted toward Art History major requirement.
166a. Facets of Russian Culture Selected aspects of Russian culture presented in a historical context. Study of architectural, literary, musical, theatrical, and other notable expressions of Russia’s creative spirit. Given in English. Three hours per week, plus excursions.
Russian Language Study
Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced Russian Four to five hours of instruction per week, plus oral practice. All students are required to study Russian language at the appropriate level.
Students participating in the program will earn four Vassar credits, all of which can be counted toward their Russian Studies major. Credit for 200-level courses on art can be counted toward the Art History major.
All students reside with host families in private homes in central St. Petersburg, within easy commuting distance of the two principal museums. Every effort is made to place students with families who can provide comfortable and congenial living arrangements.
The comprehensive program fee for the St Petersburg program covers tuition, room and partial board (breakfast and dinner), round-trip airfare from New York, a local transportation supplement, and cultural excursions sponsored by the program.
Application Procedures for Non-Vassar Students
Outside applications will be accepted through the end of October, for the spring 2022 program. Please contact Kerry Stamp, Director of International Programs for instructions on how to apply.
Vassar students must observe the standard Office of International Programs deadlines and procedures.