The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Russian Culture for the Uncultured American Tourist

Episode I

Hermitage Adventures

After having been in Paris without stepping foot in the Louvre (though I was admittedly there for only a single day and with a group of campers), I began to wonder if I would somehow end up spending three weeks in Petersburg with out going to the Hermitage . . .
Though the first Thursday (i.e. today) of every month is free, when the chance arose I figured it was worth springing the 350 Ruble and not chance missing it.

Click on the link to follow the photos from my visit

The day was overcast and chilly -the wind whipping across the Neva river a far cry from normal Summer weather . . .

The Hermitage . . . former Winter Palace of Peter I

In the heart of tourist season I expected a line . . .

. . . but did not expect the hour long twisting line.


Most of this post consists of photographs of famous paintings -while they can be found in more properly captured elsewhere online they are presented here for posterity.

Wikitravel sagely points out that it's not worth paying the extra 100 Ruble for permission to take amateur photos -as inside they almost never ask to see the special ticket . . . even after seeing dozens of Russians taking flash photos of their friends posing in front of priceless works of art.

Tapestry of the 'Triumph of Titus and Vespasian' -timely

Peter's Throne Room

German Art:

Caspar David Friedrich -one of my favorite artists

The photo didn't come out so, but since the too detail shots that I took of this painting did, I put it up


Dutch Art:

Rembrandt, another favorite of mine, was well represented . . . including the stunning Return of the Prodigal Son . . .Unfortunately his photos were behind glass, making them hard to photograph.

. . . as can be seen in the ghost like reflections here in the Portrait of an Old Jew

Bol's a Scholar in study

While walking around I bumped into a Russian guy, I told him that I was from Gollywood (I get a sick pleasure out of hearing Russians thickly say in broken English "Gollywood? California. I like." -yes I know), and we spoke briefly.

When Shmuli and I went down for an Espresso in the Cafe, we met him again -this time with some friends . . . He was rather jovial, offering us Ukrainian Vodka he had smuggled in a water bottle -complete with a stemmed shot glass.

Notice the bottle -that no sissy American water (but talk about Bon Aqua

But the best of all:

19th and 20th century European artists


Matisse . . .

Harmony in Red

van Gogh

Rousseau . .

And my favorite Monet . .

Stay tuned for the exciting continuation of the trip -out doors- in part two . . .

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


chaviva said...

Harmony in Red is one of my favorite paintings; I studied in high school when I did Academic Decathalon. My word for many of these pictures: decadent!

I love being able to live vicariously through you as you travel about. Still so jealous, of course. Keep 'em coming! Todah rabah, Mottel!

Fajita said...

Louvre, Louvre..

Mottel said...

Twas a typo . . .

Nemo said...

Peter's throne looks like another throne I know ...

This confirms the accusation that Chasidim today try to mimic 18th century Russian noblemen and royalty.

shira0607 said...

Monet and Manet are two of my favorites. I'm learning to appreciate the uniqueness of Picasso. Thanks for sharing these with us.

Irina Tsukerman said...

I am going to be in Paris/surroundings at the end of August, so stay tuned for my own version of this post! : )

Seriously, great pictures... I've never been in St. Petersburg myself. But I did have a horrifying experience with vodka-in-a-seltzer bottle when I was 13. Suffice to say, I've never put it in my mouth again (except chocolate with vodka inside. That's good!)

Cheerio said...

why call the truth an "accusation", nemo?
yeah, we chassidim dressed like russian noblemen, and we sing russian songs, and we use russian words.
elevating the sparks, my friend.

Nemo said...

Well, not really accusations, but most of the time I read it written, it's from Mentalblog, NY Times and their ilk.

Leora said...

These are wonderful. You did a great job capturing the Matisse paintings. The richness of the Hermitage is almost too much, too golden.

Great post.

One unbelievably uncultured American tourist said...

And there I thought that 'Hermitage Adventures' was to be a reference to your adventure you experienced alone in your a hermit.

(no joke)

Mottel said...

-Nemo: Royalty looks look royalty. If we are to copy it, how else should it look?
-Shira: Monet is my absolute favorite (I think I said that already)
-Irina: I'll be in Belgium at the time . . . stop by and say hello! (can't wait to see the photos). As to Vodka -you get used to it.
-Leora: Thanks
-One: Watch who you're calling a Hermit there!