In which we make repeated visits to the world's most fabulous museum and find we are not a bit jaded.
|"The Gallery of the History of Ancient Painting" in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
I had the good fortune to attend the International Salon of Decorative Painters, held this year in St. Petersburg, Russia. This annual gathering attracts many of the finest painters in my field, from dozens of countries and several continents, and this time was well-attended by incredibly skilled Russian artists as well. The venue for this event, the Exhibition Center for the St.Petersburg Union of Artists, is a short walk to one of the greatest museums in the world, the Hermitage.
Like other major museums, the Uffizi, the Met, the Louvre, it cannot be done in one visit, it's too overwhelming. So I popped over every chance I got. The Hermitage is open late on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The museum is famous for its prodigious art collection, the Rubens paintings and sketches, and countless masterpieces of European art, but as usual, I was staring at the ceilings, walls, huge malachite urns, marquetry floors- because this building is first and foremost one of the most gloriously decorated palaces in the world.
|Exterior of the Hermitage, painted with a distinctive and inspiring malachite green, ochre, and white color scheme
Just as in the (amazing film) Russian Ark, even the most organized tour through the Winter Palace will prove bewildering. The decor alone encompasses 300 years of Russian History. The collections reach through millennia.
|I forget what this room is for. Let's ring for tea, shall we?
|Ceiling detail from the lovely blue and white room used as the "silver cabinet"
|Walls covered in gold leaf need plenty of candlelight to show it all off
|nice example of Russian Neoclassicism in this trompe l'oeil ceiling
|Gold and Malachite go so well together
|Interior of the Malachite Room of the Hermitage, as painted by Constantine Andreyevich Ukhtomsky in 1885 image via hermitage.org
|"The Gallery of the History of Ancient Painting" neoclassical design by Leo von Klenze
|Encaustic paintings by Georg Hiltensperger depict ancient painting techniques.
|Still from the film "Russian Ark" in which the Stranger wanders into the Raphael Loggia
|Raphael Loggia in the Hermitage
|Grottesca detail of the Rapahel Loggia of the Hermitage
|Hermitage Raphael Loggia
|The jawbone of an ass- detail in the Raphael Loggia, Hermitage
|Grottesca detail- from 1512 to the 1780s
The Hermitage Museum website has many lovely images, including 360 degree panoramas of entire rooms in their "virtual visit" feature.
21st century decorative artists:
Photos from Salon 2016 at Flickr
All photos in this post by Lynne Rutter unless otherwise noted, May 2016. Click on images to view larger.