One of the biggest highlights of the trip was this day. We visited the Hermitage Museum with over 3 million items in its possession. The collection is so vast that they can only display 5% of it at a time. The museum consists of several connected buildings. The Baroque Winter Palace was designed and built for the Empress Elizabeth by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli in the 18th century. The Small and Large Hermitages were constructed by order of Catherine the Great to house her private art collection. This museum has significant works by almost every major artist in the Western canon. Among the many highlights are the Leonardo Madonna Litta, v, the Raphaels,  23 Rembrandts, the El Grecos, numerous Van Dykes, and major works by Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse. If this were just my trip, I would have spent at least a day and a half there. Below is a (bad) photo of the exterior  just to give you an idea its expansiveness. That’s just part of the museum. To see more of the Hermitage’s buildings and art, visit their website here.

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Inlaid floors

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Throne of Catherine I

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Automaton Peacock Clock featuring three life-sized mechanical birds

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Mosaic floor

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Da Vinci’s Madonna Benois

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Monet’s Woman in a Garden

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In the afternoon we visited the Dostoevsky apartment-museum which I have no photos of, but you can see some here. He lived there from 1878 until he died in 1881 and it is where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov. At the end of the day, a bottle of Pepsi-Light was in order.

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Next: Day 10