Tuesday, 24 January 2012


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.

The Hermitage takes a solid seven hours to waltz through - and it pays to prioritise certain wings of the extensive complex as theres no way to get the full monty in one day. Initially we wandered gingerly through the opulent rooms, each one more awesome than the last, until we were almost yawning - desensitised to the overwhelming razzamattazz of it all. Richly gilded ornamentation, delicate plaster detailing, luxurious drapery and spectacular chandeliers created a visual cacophony, a veritable Wonka factory for the interior aesthetics nerd. It felt impossible not to let our imaginations get carried away within these incredible spaces and get a sense of meaning behind the eventual revolt against such a decadent monarchy.

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. 


  1. You've been busy... Great to see these wonderful Russian photos. I love the poster shop. I should really get over there and pick up a cart load of things... Hope you are well. MR

  2. OMG that marble staircase!!!! the interiors!!! the wares!!! the cronks!!!