The State Hermitage Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and comprises a vast complex of six historic buildings beside the Neva River.
Five of the six buildings are open to the public: Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage and Hermitage Theatre. They mostly enclose the vastly empty Palace Square; the central square of Saint Petersburg and the location of several important chapters in Russian history, including Bloody Sunday (1905) and the October Revolution (1917).
At its centre is the Alexander Column, the tallest red granite column in the world and a mighty 500 tonnes. In fact, it is standing by its own weight alone, with no attachment to the base! That’s heavy!
The Hermitage would have to rank as one of the best museums for showcasing art and culture from around the world. It does boast the largest collection of art in the world, ranging across the ages to modern times.
Upon entering the Winter Palace, we first passed through the Jordan Staircase; like entering a royal palace in true golden 18th century style.
St. George’s Hall (also called the Great Throne Room) was royally large in neoclassical interior design. It was the scene of many of the most formal ceremonies of the Royal Court. The throne was truly a royal throne.
There were so many wonderful rooms and hallways, that it nearly overwhelmed the art pieces themselves! We had never seen so many beautifully ornate rooms, all with different styles, colours and materials. And the chandeliers everywhere! Wow!
The War Gallery of 1812 was designed to commemorate Russia’s victory over Napoleon. The walls carry 332 portraits of generals who fought in the war of 1812 and the foreign campaign of 1813-14.
The Leonardo Da Vinci Room contains two of the artist’s Renaissance masterpieces; Madonna Litta and Benois Madonna.
The Rembrandt Room contains 23 of the artist’s works from the 17th century.
The Large Italian Skylight Room was a huge grand interior intended to display large canvases in natural light. All 17th & 18th century Italian art amongst some nice furniture.
Whether you are a fan of really old classical art or something a bit more modern, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg has it all.
So accept it, sit down and enjoy the view.
Visited 10th September 2014.