Our next museum was "The Hermitage". It is world famous and is one of the biggest
in the world.
The Hermitage is a series of palaces on the bank of the Neva River that have been
interconnected and filled with the usual museum stuff of statues...
and paintings by the famous artists through history. The Madonna and Child is by
Da Vinci and was a popular stop.
There were whole rooms of Renoir, Rembrandt, Picasso and others. A room each, not
And there was a room full of medieval armor and a
couple of cast silver "wine coolers".
Here the wooden floors are just as gorgeous as at Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo but
we didn't have to wear booties. These are the original floors, The Hermitage did
not get destroyed in the war.
There were collections from all over the world of art works. Here there seemed to
be fewer fragments of art displayed and more whole statues, frescoes and such than
some other museums we have visited. I don't know if that is a display choice on
the part of the museum or if they got more of the good stuff than places like the
Vatican Museum in Rome and The Louvre in Paris. Another thing about these marble
statues is that protruding parts like noses, men's penises and women's nipples were
not broken off. Most of the statues in the Vatican Museum had them either missing
or obviously repaired. Yet we are talking about statues by the same artists and
from the same time periods. I commented on this in the Rome page written last year.
We spent 7 hours there and saw most all of it. It had almost all of its displays
labeled in English as well as in Russian and some rooms had a rack of large cards
describing the displays in a variety of languages. You could carry the card around
with you as you looked at the displays.
On Friday night I called the phone number on the web page of the GoldWing Club of
Russia and we met some of the members on the corner across from our apartment and
we talked for about an hour about trips and GoldWings. They wouldn't let me buy
them a beer, the drinking/driving laws are tough here. Here are two members and
their Wings, Kathy and another member are in the background. Their English was excellent
and we had a good talk. I asked if I could buy some club logo stickers for our bike
and the next morning one of the members came by with an armful of gear, stickers,
pins, patches and t-shirts. And wouldn't take anything for them. It's too bad that
I'm out of things from home to trade. Thank you very much GoldWing Club of Russia!
On our last full day we went to the Russian Museum. This is a museum of art by Russians
and only Russians.
You'll notice more scaffolding and tarps, this time printed with the building and
The carved marble on the left is called "First Step". It is about life-size. Notice
the detail of the toy train on the base.
On the right is a carved bone decorative piece about 8" high. The delicacy of the
carving is beautiful.
This is a thin piece of bark from a Birch tree that has been carved and laid on a
plate of contrasting color. It is a wall hanging, not meant to be used as a plate.
There were lots of paintings too. This one "Barge Haulers on the Volga River" was
excellent. We could see the despair and misery in the faces of the men who must
spend their lives working as mules.
The painting is about 3 feet high and 8 wide. Each of this artist's works were large
and very well done.
I had to take the picture at this angle to avoid the light reflecting off the surface
The detain in this artist's work is almost photographic.
Of all the museums we have been to in Europe we like the Russian Museum the most. It
is not the largest, by far, but it had a much higher percentage of good art.
We are not big fans of Picasso's weirdness or dark paintings of Catholic sins, no
matter how famous the artist may be. We do appreciate art that shows people, places
and events that are understandable and that we can relate to. We enjoy decorative
items that show a high level of skill and detail. Just because a displayed item
came from ancient Persia and has a picture on it does not make it an item of good
We have really enjoyed the people and sights of St. Petersburg but we must go on.