On 9 November 2017, Baker McKenzie’s St. Petersburg office celebrated its 25th anniversary with an official reception at the State Hermitage Museum. "The Lute Player" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, was presented at the event after restoration work had been carried out, with support from Baker McKenzie. Around 300 guests were welcomed by the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovski, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie Paul Rawlinson, CIS Managing Partner Sergei Voitishkin and Head of the firm’s St. Petersburg office Maxim Kalinin.
"The Lute Player" is the only Caravaggio painting in Russia and an absolute masterpiece of the State Hermitage Museum's collection. The restoration of the painting took almost two years to eventually bring it back to the original.
Josef van Wissem, the famous Dutch lute player and composer, reconstructed the melody of the madrigal "Voi sapete ch’io vi amo" by Jacobus Arkadelt, depicted in the painting, and played this melody for the guests of the evening.
An opportunity to support the restoration of this wonderful painting is a great honor and privilege for our firm.
"Like the Hermitage Museum, Baker McKenzie not only celebrates the past but also looks forward to the future with quiet optimism", said Paul Rawlinson during the official unveiling of the painting.
Sergey Voitishkin added: "Baker McKenzie has a principle – we always follow the needs of our clients. As we have been working with the Hermitage for many years, we couldn’t remain on the sidelines and we are proud to have worked together on this."
The St. Petersburg office of Baker McKenzie was established in 1992 and is currently the leading legal services provider in the region. Together with our Moscow office it comprises the Baker McKenzie Russia practice which received a Leading Law Firm in Russia award from Chambers Europe 2017.
As well as working with leading Russian and foreign companies, the firm is the official legal adviser of the State Hermitage museum and takes an active part in the activities of the Hermitage Friends Club. Since 2000, Baker McKenzie has also supported the “Our Hermitage” School Center aimed at helping children with developmental delays. In 2012, with our assistance, the State Hermitage carried out the restoration of a crystal vase with blue cornflowers and oat heads by Fabergé.
"We are proud to have over 25 years of successful experience in our wonderful city and to have been able to contribute to the preservation of the cultural heritage of St. Petersburg throughout all these years," said Maxim Kalinin in his speech. "Our gratitude goes to our clients, partners and friends for providing us with this opportunity."