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
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
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
Rousseau . .
And my favorite Monet . .
Stay tuned for the exciting continuation of the trip -out doors- in part two . . .
Technorati Tags: The Hermitage, Art, Russians, Vodka, Friedrich, Rembrandt, Matisse, Monet, Photography, Travel, Petersburg, Russia