Mikhail Piotrovsky

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Mikhail Piotrovsky

Director of the State Hermitage Museum

Mikhail Piotrovsky was born in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1944. His father, Boris Piotrovski, an eminent archaeologist was director of The State Hermitage Museum from 1964 to 1990.

In 1996 Mikhail Piotrovsky graduated with honours from the Oriental Faculty of Leningrad State University, specializing in Arabic Studies, in 1967. He also attended Cairo University from 1965 to 1966. He entered the Leningrad branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies as a research assistant in1967 and worked there until 1991. In 1991 he was invited to join the Hermitage staff as first deputy director with responsibility for research work. In July 1992 Mikhail Piotrovsky was appointed Director of the State Hermitage by government decree.

Dr. Piotrovsky has taken part in archaeological excavations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Yemen. He is the author of more than 200 scholarly works, including catalogues of Arabic manuscripts, the publication of mediaeval works and ancient inscriptions, works on the spiritual and political history of Islam and Arab culture, and on the archaeology of Arabia. His publications include a set of entries on Muslim mythology in the encyclopedia Myths of the Peoples of the World, a series of articles about the prophet Muhammad and the monographs: The Legend of the Himyarite King Asad al-Kamil (Moscow, 1977; Arabic translations: Sanaa, Damascus, Aden, 1978, 1979); Southern Arabia in the Early Middle Ages (Moscow, 1985); Yemen before Islam and in the First Century of the Hijra (Beirut, 1987); Koranic Tales (Moscow, 1991); Islam. An Encyclopedic Reference Book (Moscow, 1991, co-author); The Hermitage. Collections and Collectors (St Petersburg, 1997); Earthly Art - Heavenly Beauty. The Art of Islam (St Petersburg, 2000); On Islamic Art (St Petersburg, 2001), The Hermitage in the Great Museums of the World series (Slovo, Moscow, 2003), The Historical Legends of Quran. A Word and an Image (St Petersburg, 2005).

Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a full member of the Russian Academy of Arts, and a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute, deputy chairman of the President's Council for Art and Culture, a professor of St. Petersburg State University, chairman of the Union of Museums in Russia, president of the Worldwide Club of St. Petersburgers, chairman of the board of the European University in St Petersburg, editor-in-chief of the magazine The Christian Orient.

He has been awarded the Netherlands Order of Orange-Nassau (1996), the Russian Order of Honour (1997), the French Order of the Legion of Honour (1998, 2004), the Swedish Order of the Polar Star (1999), the Order for Merit to the Italian Republic (2000, 2004), the Armenian Apostolic Church's Order of St Mesrop (2000), the Ukrainian Order of Yaroslav the Wise (2003), the Order "Of Service" (Poland, 2004), the Order of Service to the Fatherland (Russia, 2004), the Award of the Council's of Muftis of Russia - the Al-Fahr Order of Honour (2005),), Order of the Finish Lion (2005), the International Prize of St. Andrew "for Faith and Loyalty" (2005), the Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star (Japan, 2007), the Order for Services to the Motherland, III degree.

In 2003 Mikhail Piotrovsky has been awarded the President Prize in the Field of Art and Literature.

In 1997 a minor planet was named "Piotrovsky" by the International Astronomical Union in joint honour of Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky and his father Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky.