Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hermitage Take Two

Me on the Jordan Staircase
One of the highlights of any trip to Saint Pete is a visit to the world’s second largest museum- The Hermitage. The museum’s massive scope can only be surpassed by the Smithsonian (but seeing as the Smithsonian comprises of a bunch of different museums, I think they’re cheating). Back in the 18th century, Empress Catherine the Great purchased an extensive western art collection for her personal enjoyment that slowly expanded over the centuries. Today the Hermitage has over 3 million works of art and ancient artifacts displayed in a maze of exhibits. What makes this place really special though is the location of its exhibits. The Hermitage museum is located inside the Tsar’s Winter Palace. When you look out onto the palace square from the museum, you are essentially looking out of the Tsar's home onto the location where Bloody Sunday occurred over 100 years ago. The architecture itself is a work of art, and to be honest I sometimes completely forgot about the famous paintings; I find myself looking at the ornately decorated golden doors or blue and white ceilings. When you enter into the Hermitage, you not only get to see the artistic works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh, but you can also wander the amazing rooms that the Tsar’s enjoyed on a daily basis. 

Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son
True story about what it’s like in the Hermitage. So we walked into a large sea foam green room with an absolutely magnificent gold trimmed ceiling (so basically like any other room in the palace) and I briefly looked at some of the pictures. One picture in particular caught my attend, I said hmm this looks familiar, and I continued to marvel at the architecture of the place the Tsar’s called home. So after my friends and I had explored for a few hours, we decided that we were going to search out some of the most famous paintings in the exhibit. and lo and behold, the painting I had  passed up earlier was one of Rembrandt’s most famous painting: The Return of the Prodigal Son

Here's just one more phot of the interior of the Hermitage. Let's just say that I know why there was a revolution in Russia now. The pictures don't do this place justice. The actual museum is something you have to see sometime in your life. Yep, write it down in your bucket list now. 

Tsar Alexander II's wife's boudoir. Yes the Tsar's wife would simply get dressed in this room

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