I have long wanted to visit the Hermitage. There was a recent article about the World Most Beautiful Museums, and this was the only one that I knew I hadn’t visited.
Some interesting information from “1000 Places to See Before You Die.”
The Winter Palace was designed in 1754, and was the official residence of every subsequent czar until the 1917 Revolution. It has over 1,000 rooms and 117 staircases. The Winter Palace is best known as the home of the Hermitage Museum – “Russia’s Louvre.” Scattered throughout the Winter Palace and five other buildings are 150,000 works that are only a fraction of the museum’s 3 million piece collection.
This was the only time I have ever visited a museum with a tour guide – and it was really worth it. I might just take another look at the Louvre and give it another chance with a guide. One of my frustrations with huge museums has been the overwhelming amount there is to see, and I never have enough time to even get to the highlights. Oh, and the crowds.
Our guide at the Hermitage was awesome. She did a great job of hustling us around to see the true highlights, and then gave us about 20 minutes on our own in the Impressionist section. We were able to get in the museum before it opened to the public, but it was very crowded by the time we got to the rooms with the Leonardo da Vinci paintings. And, this was also when we lost someone from our group. He did meet up with us at the end.
The Hermitage has 2 da Vinci paintings, which is 1/12 of all known paintings by him in the entire world. Like Mona Lisa in the Louvre, they are fairly small, with large groups of people there at all times.
The two da Vinci paintings are:
The Hermitage has an amazing collection, but like most of the other significant museums in the world, I think it is impossible to see even a fraction of the art. We were only able to spend about three hours here. Again, I was so grateful to have had a guide because I think it enabled me to see more that I could have on my own; plus she was very knowledgeable so I learned much more than I would have wandering around on my own.
I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to return to St. Petersburg Russia; but if I do I will return to the Hermitage with another good guide.
Our guide nearly ran us through many of the rooms of the Winter Palace. It is beyond my comprehension that anyone lived in such an opulent home. The princess in me would perhaps like to try the experience of living in a palace – but not if I am the person responsible for cleaning it!
As I was going through my photos to select pictures for this post, I was reminded of how many naked or semi-naked portraits that I saw. I won’t be adding any of those to this blog though.