Anybody who happened to catch the innovative, jaw-dropping opus that was 2002 film Russian Ark will attest to the magnificence of St. Petersburg's spectacular Hermitage Museum. The Winter Palace, ancestral compound of the Romanov dynasty and Peter the Great's historical residence houses a spectacular collection of paintings, sculpture and artifacts plus an eye-popping array of interiors exquisite enough to put any royal family to shame.
With a collection spanning over three millions works, we a beat a retreat for the Russian and western European art sections after ogling those magnificent interiors. Featuring works from the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, the exhibits were extensive...though I suspected the creme of the Western European crop had already been snapped up by the French and Italian national galleries.
The Hermitage felt more like an overall experience, than a museum and its rich combination of royal history, architecture, interiors and art enabled a real insight into the very heart the Eastern European cultural landscape.