Saint Petersburg

EssenceMuseums and galleriesWhere to sleepWhere to eatWhere to shopThings to doConnoisseur's GuideInsider's view


Vladimir Palace (Dom Uchenikh)Museum of History of ReligionManezh Central Exhibition HallPushkinskaya 10 Culture CentreMarble PalaceThe Russian MuseumState Hermitage Museum« BACK « TO BEGINNING


Add your e-mail address to receive our monthly news.


Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal

Destinations · Europe · russian federation · Saint Petersburg · Museums and galleries ·

State Hermitage Museum

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

State Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum, home to one of the world's largest and most valuable art collections, is housed in five separate buildings: the Winter Palace, the Smaller Hermitage, the Greater Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre. The origins of the collection date back to Catherine the Great who purchased the first paintings in 1764 and carried on building her collection through her lifetime. Her consultants being experts like Denis Diderot and Voltaire, only a handful of people in the court were capable of appreciating the acquired masterpieces; hence the name of the museum: Catherine called the collection Hermitage, or "a hermit's dwelling" in French.
While the incredible wealth of the Hermitage span all possible ages and genres of visual arts, from Neolithic wood figures to Turkish daggers, it is the impressive collection of classical West European painting which grants the museum its unfading popularity and prestige. One of the richest part of the collection is dedicated to Italian art; gems of Renaissance painting like Madonna with a Flower ("The Benois Madonna"), an early masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, and his lyrical Madonna Litta, Raphael's Madonna Conestabile and The Holy Family, Giorgione's Judith, Titian's Danae and St Sebastian are convincing in their artistic technique and powerful emotionality.
In the halls dedicated to Spanish art your attention will probably be attracted by the expressiveness of El Greco's Apostles Peter and Paul, Velazquez's early work Luncheon with its contrasting chiaroscuro which still shows strong influence of Caravaggio and his Portrait of Count Olivares, famous for the expressive characterisation of the subject's personality, as well as a vast collection of Murillo's art.
The Flemish school of art is the most extensively represented by Peter Paul Rubens: the 22 works of the collection include the textbook masterpieces Perseus and Andromeda, Portrait of a Lady-in-Waiting to Infanta Isabella and the somewhat repulsive Bacchus. Among the halls dedicated to Dutch art the one most deserving attention is the Rembrandt Room with gems like Flora, Danae, The Holy Family and the incredibly psychological Return of the Prodigal Son. The unique phenomenon of the 17th century "little Dutch painting", as it were, is exciting in its own right: landscapes by Jan van Goyen and Jacob van Ruisdael, genre pictures by Jan Steen, Gerald ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch, Adriaen van Ostade, animal paintings by Paulus Potter and still lifes by Willem Claesz Heda and Willem Kalf will seem like a subtly understated and light dessert after the hearty meal of the large-scale greats.
English painting is best represented at the Hermitage Museum with three works by Sir Joshua Reynolds; the paintings reveal the least typical aspects of his art, featuring historic and mythological subjects: The Infant Hercules Strangling the Snakes (commissioned by Catherine the Great and supposedly symbolising the growing power of the young Russia) as well as The Continence of Scipio and Cupid Untying the Zone of Venus, both intended as a present to Count Potemkin. As for Thomas Gainsborough's Portrait of a Lady in Blue, it is considered the most outstanding example of the portraitist's style.
The Hermitage Museum's pride is also the rich and diverse collection of French painting which includes valuable works by Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorraine, Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, Jean-Honore Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Jean-Baptiste Chardin. The collection also boasts a number of 19th century masterpieces, among them Sappho and Phaon by Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Count Guriev by Jean-Auguste -Dominique Ingres and Lion Hunt in Morocco by Eugène Delacroix. The collection of French art from the late 1800s and early 1900s surprises with its range and diversity which allows the museum-goers to fully appreciate the development and trends of the French painting of the time: alongside a number of well-known and less famous works by the classic Impressionists and several great examples of Post-Impressionism, including Vicent van Gogh's Lilac Bush and Woman with a Fruit, a Tahitian scene by Paul Gaugin, it also features the Barbizon School of landscape painters, symbolists Puvis de Chavannes and Odilon Redon, the intriguing Les Nabis group - Ker-Xavier Roussel, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard and Félix Vallotton as well as Fauvists Albert Marquet, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck and Kees van Dongen. And, while it is the rich collection of art by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse (including gems like Matisse's Red Room and panels Dance and Music and Picasso's Absinthe Drinker from his Blue Period and Three Women and Woman with a Fan which are two of the definitive works of the Cubist movement) that is considered as the highlight of the French collection, you may find some of the less-known French artists who stayed on the other side of the threshold to the 20th century Modernism so much more interesting today - besides, it is a very rare opportunity to see their works together.

32 Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya

Facebook Twitter


Your comments

Unfortunately there are no comments yet.

Your name:

Time of visit:

Your comment: