Highlights of Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Jun 3, 2019
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If your visit to Louvre was memorable, then you must visit Hermitage Museum, the 2nd largest art museum in the world! This museum, with its turquoise green and white exterior walls gilded fabulously, has the most prolific art collections in the world.

Constructed as a Winter Palace

Architect Rastrelli built this museum on the banks of the Neva River as a Winter Palace for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1754. After her reign, the palace was passed on to Peter III and then to Empress Catherine II who used it as a private palace for retreat and solitude, i.e. Hermitage.

The Queen with an Eye for Art

Catherine the Great, after coming to power, commissioned the building of the Large and Small Hermitages as well as the Hermitage Theatre. She purchased the magnificent art collections that form the basis of today’s Hermitage Museum.

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The Hermitage was home to the Imperial family as well as served as the extravagant showplace to display Russian relics and wealth to state holders. It was in 1852 that the New Hermitage was opened to the public as a museum.

St. George Hall

The Large Throne Hall aka St. George Hall was created by Giacomo Quarenghi between 1787 and 1795. It is designed based on Russian Neoclassical Interior Design. The throne stands at the far end of the room with allegorical figures holding a shield with the monogram of the Catherine, the Great.

The Main Staircase

The main staircase or the Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace was used by the royal family to visit the Neva River for christenings.

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Amalgamation of Buildings

The art collection was originally housed only within the ‘Small Hermitage’. Today, Hermitage Museum consists of the Large Hermitage, the New Hermitage, the Hermitage Theatre, and the Winter Palace.

The Collections

Over 3 million items from the entire collection are on permanent display at the museum. Some of the popular artworks include Egyptian antiquities, classical antiquities, prehistoric art, Italian Renaissance art, French Neoclassical Impressionist art, post-Impressionist art, and many more impressive art-pieces from different eras including Dutch Golden Age.

Knights Hall

This impressive large room was designed for the display of coins. It now hosts the collection of Western European arms and armor of the 15th – 17th century.

The Peacock Clock

This large automaton is the only 18th century automaton that still functions in its unaltered condition. It also includes the figures of cockerel and owl and was created by celebrated clock-maker and goldsmith James Cox.

Malachite Room

This spectacular room was once the State Drawing Room of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovn, the last Empress of Russia and the spouse of Nicolas II. The room is adorned with several malachite columns and malachite inspired furniture. In addition to that, many semi-precious mineral objects are displayed in the room.

Kolyvan Vase

If your eyes were dazzled by the Malachite room, then Kolyvan Vase will leave you flabbergasted. This jasper vase is 8.4 feet tall and weighs 19 tons and was installed even before the walls of the Room of the Great Vase were erected.
These are a few of the highlights of the Hermitage Museum. It takes more than half a day to soak in the beautiful art collection in this historic building. Go on a fairytale tour of mesmerizing art and beauty when you visit the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
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