on May 17, 2009
The Winter Palace was the Tsar’s official residence fro 1720 to 1727. AlloTour has arranged early admittance, so it wasn’t very crowded while we were there. Julia, our guide, gave us a good tour of the highlights of this huge place with 3 million pieces. She tells us if we spent one minute at each piece we would still be there in 11 years. We saw works by Da Vinci, Tiziano, a famous statue by Canova that was owned by the rich family of the Yusupovs, Raphael, Michangelo, Sisley, Cezanne, Matisse, Gaugin, Monet, Picasso, and more. The rooms themselves are stunning. I bought the option of taking pictures – the only one in the group – and I can’t imagine not doing that. Some day, I’m sure, no one will be allowed to photograph the art! No flashes, of course.The Hermitage, also known as the Winter Palace, was built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli in the mid-1700’s. Peter the Great began the use of the Palace as an art museum. Catherine II had vast collections and she placed them all in the building next door where only she and "the mice" would see them, giving the name of the Hermitage, indicating the privacy of the collection. In 1837 a fire destroyed the Winter Palace but the imperial collections were saved by throwing them out the windows. In 1839 it was decided to open the collections to the public.
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