Prado to host Hermitage exhibition

image captionCaravaggio's Lute Player is one of the artworks on loan from the Hermitage

An exhibition of European art from Russia's Hermitage Museum is to go on show at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Works by Rembrandt and Caravaggio and items once belonging to Russia's tsars will be among around 120 items on show.

The Hermitage's director said there had "never been such an exhibition, of and about the Hermitage, outside Russia".

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the collection represented "the pride and glory of civilisation's cultural heritage".

Artworks by Spanish artists Diego Velazquez, Pablo Picasso and Jose de Ribera will temporarily return home, flanked by famous pieces by Matisse, Cezanne and Kandinsky.

Faberge jewels and gold items dating from as early as the fifth Century BC will also be on display.

The Hermitage in the Prado opens to the public on Tuesday and will run until March.

It is the second part of an exchange of collections that has taken place between the two museums which began earlier this year with the exhibition The Prado in the Hermitage, held in St Petersburg.

"It is a good taster," said sculptor Alejandra Majewski, who attended a preview of the exhibit in Madrid.

"The Hermitage is so huge it is really difficult to give an accurate depiction of its collection, but this is a great attempt made up of examples of extraordinary quality."

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