The State Hermitage Museum began as an imperial collection. Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. It is the second largest museum in the world.
The Hermitage got its name from its exclusivity. When it was first founded in 1764. Only the elite were allowed to view its collections. The Hermitage has been open to the public since 1852. The museum celebrates the anniversary of its founding each year on 7 December. Saint Catherine’s Day.
The Hermitage Museum Complex
Six buildings makeup the complex. Five are open to the public. The visitors will be able to visit the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and The Theater. In olden times, these buildings were the home and workplace of the imperial family and their more than a thousand servants.
Its collections outgrew the original collection of paintings. Now it houses a vast collection of classical and Egyptian antiquities. It also has an extensive collection of prehistoric art excavated from all over Russia.
What to See in the Hermitage
The museum has five treasure and decorative galleries containing jewellery and decorative art from the 4th BC to the 20th century. The Old and New Hermitage houses works of the Italian Renaissance. They feature works of Italian Renaissance artists, including Giorgione, Titian, Veronese. As well as Benois Madonna and Madonna Litta attributed to Leonardo da Vinci or his school.
Being one of the grandest museums of the old world, the Hermitage has some of the biggest collections of European art outside of their home countries. Italian, Spanish, German, Swiss, French and British fine arts are displayed in its collections. Beyond that, full galleries are dedicated to Flemish Baroque and the Dutch Golden Age.
An Art Lover’s Mecca
The complex is so large it is physically impossible to see everything in one day. The museum was a status symbol with which Russia earned European acknowledgement and acceptance. It portrayed Russia as an enlightened society.
Visiting the Hermitage is stepping into art and world history. If you’re any kind of an art enthusiast, this is the experience of a lifetime.
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