Thursday, May 26, 2011

St. Petersburg, Russia The Hermitage

I have always wanted to visit the Hermitage but will need a week in St. Petersburg to do it justice.  Housed in the Winter Palace, it is HUGE.  And it is crammed with more items than you can imagine.  Our guide told us that they calculated that if you spent one minute in front of everything there is to see, it would take you 8 YEARS to see it all.  It contains 2,967,334  items including 16,842 paintings, 12,620 sculptures, 737,772 archaeological objects and a bunch of other stuff.  (You do the math!)

We only had a short time to visit but I still took dozens of pictures and saw some incredible art.  We saw all of this in LESS THAN 2 HOURS so you can imagine how incredible the entire collection must be!!

So here we go...a mini tour of the Hermitage.

To get some idea of the size of this place, here is a view from across the Neva River.

Here is a close up that shows the exquisite detail.

So now, let's go in.

Yes, you are correct.  Not only is it a museum, it was once the Winter Palace of Peter the Great so of course we have entered a world of over the top opulence once again.  Before we look at some of the beautiful art, let's take a look at the incredible beauty and sheer size of the rooms that house the collection.

Those are just a handful of the rooms.
Check out the Raphael Loggia made to replicate the one in the Vatican Museums.

Now let's see some art, shall we.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Raphael  (He also made the frame,)

Michelangelo   This sculpture is particularly famous for the detailed muscles on the back.



Della Robbia


El Greco


This large Rembrandt had to be completely restored when a deranged man entered the Hermitage and asked which painting was the most valuable.  A museum worker pointed out this painting as one of many.  The man then took out a bottle of acid and threw it all over the painting.

Religious Art

The following sculpture of a drowned boy on a dolphin was particularly beautiful as well.  I will have to research the artist but it tells the story of a boy who played with his dolphin friends and after seeing one killed threw himself into the sea and his body was carried off by a dolphin.

There are also beautiful mosaics found in the Hermitage.  This one on the floor of one of the rooms was designed to replicate the one in the Vatican Museum.

And look at the detail in this beautiful mosaic table.

There were also beautiful furnishings, fireplaces and chandeliers.

I will close this post with one of my favorite pieces.  This gorgeous peacock clock was huge and when it struck the hour it would spread its feathers and move around. My photo does not even remotely do it justice It was a gift to Catherine the Great by one of her lovers. 

Like I said before, being Empress is good.


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