The Hermitage

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by chilblain on June 10, 2003

Incredible doesn't even begin to describe the Hermitage. It has the most fantastic collection of art, all in the historic Winter Palace. They say it would take you seven years to see verything if you spent around 10 seconds looking at each exhibit, and it's true. I went seven times and still didn't see anywhere near everything. I'm a big fan of beautiful buildings so the first few time I just looked at the parquet floors and marble pillars. My best memories of the place were playing hide and seek in the hall of pillars, and getting into trouble from the babushka -- and the day we danced in the great ballroom. Well, what else do you do there? This was made even more entertaining by the fact that Russian school children are taken on trips to museums MUCH more regularly than Western kids, so there are always school parties, and one of them was up the other end of the ballroom, facing us, with a guide who had her back to us, so the kids saw the whole thing and they were in stiches. By the time the guide turned around, we were innocently looking around the hall! Who says museums and galleries should be boring!

A note: if you're into the Old Masters, the Hermitage is the place for you, go round, look at the incredible pictures and laugh at the labels which tell you the painting is of the Holly Family -- English can be a bit dodgy sometimes. If you're into imperssionists, although The Hermitage is wonderful and you get so much closer to the paintings than other galleries -- the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art in Moscow will blow your mind. Worth seeing also is Rembrandt's Danae, which was put back on show in 1998 after being vandalised and restored, along with a big display about how the restoration was done -- very good translation there. The guard sitting in front of the painting with a semi-automatic is a little bit distracting though!

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum
Palace Embankment, On The Neva River
St. Petersburg, Russia

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