See one of the world’s largest and prestigious museums and an absolute cultural must-see in Saint Petersburg. Located in the Winter Palace and six other venues, the Hermitage offers its visitors works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rubens, Picasso, Matisse and many others.
- Region in Russia: Saint Petersburg
- Topic: Museum
- Best Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
- Family & Kids: Yes
The Hermitage – cultural must-see in Saint Petersburg
To be in Saint Petersburg and not to visit the Hermitage is like being in Paris and not seeing the Louvre. State Hermitage Museum stores in its walls world treasures that are among the finest art pieces that the humankind ever created. Saint Petersburg’s museum highlight and a popular tourist attraction, the Hermitage amounts to over 3 million items from Oriental treasures to the masterpieces of impressionists. According to estimates, if you saw every exhibit for just a minute, you would need 11 years to see the whole collection. Where is that world treasury located? The Hermitage complex finds itself in five historic interconnected buildings, the grandest of which is the Winter Palace. This marvelous baroque palace was the official residence of the Romanov Tsars from 1762 till the revolution of 1917. The Winter Palace that hosts the Hermitage is located on Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad), the main square of Saint Petersburg.
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The Hermitage’s art collection – where does it come from?
Saint Petersburg Small Throne Room at Winter Palace © Saint-Petersburg.com
The Hermitage is the largest art gallery in Russia and is among the largest, finest and most respected art museums on the world. Where does the collection of the Hermitage come from? The collection was started by Catherine the Great who in the year of 1764 bought 225 paintings from a Berlin merchant, including 13 Rembrandt masterpieces and 11 Rubens. Catherine’s diligent agents purchased massive amount of artwork across Europe, and by the time of her death in 1796, the Hermitage collection included thousands art pieces such as paintings and drawings, sculpture, books and jewelry, medals and coins, and even copies of original Vatican frescoes. The collection continued to grow constantly, although not that rapidly, till the revolution. The Hermitage acquired a great number of artwork in the post-revolutionary period when many valuable private collections were confiscated by the state.
The treasures of the Hermitage’s art collection, or the main highlights of the Hermitage
An absolute must-see in Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum is located in five buildings that are interconnected. The main building of the Hermitage is the Winter Palace, the residence of the Romanov tsars. The grand halls and rooms of the Winter Palace, where imperial receptions, officials ceremonies and splendid balls were held, are also a part of the Hermitage collection and the very first thing to see when entering the Hermitage.
Today, the Hermitage collection amounts to about 3 million exhibits and offers its visitors a wide range of art and artifacts from all parts of the world and throughout history starting from Ancient Egypt and finishing with the early 20th century European Art. The Hermitage collection is enormous and extremely diverse, and is an absolute must-see for all interested in art and history.
Find here the floor description of the Hermitage:
The first floor hosts the collection of Oriental Art, antiquity, Ancient Egypt, the Caucuses, ancient Siberia, ancient Middle East, the collection of jewelry and, of course, the Winter Palace interior.
On the second floor of the Hermitage you will find the collection of Russian art as well as collection of French, Spanish, German, English, Flemish, Dutch and Italian art collections. The Middle Ages hall is also located on the second floor as well as the collection of West European armor.
The third floor shows the visitors of the Hermitage artworks of West Europe of 19th and 20th centuries, French art collection of 19th and 20th centuries, the collection of Byzantine and Middle East as well as Far East and Asia.
The highlights of the Hermitage:
Benois Madonna (Madonna and Child with Flowers) (c.1478), a rare early work by the young Leonardo Da Vinci; the Litta Madonna (Madonna and Child) (1490s), one of the most famous masterpieces of Leonardo Da Vinci; Judith with the Head of Holofernes (c.1505) by masterful Giorgione, who together with Titian was the founder of Venetian school; Danae (1560s), a masterpiece of the brilliant Titian, even in his lifetime known as the Sun among Small Stars; the Raphael Loggia (Room 227) where the copies of Raphael’s frescoes are created; the tiny, circular Madonna and Child (The Conestabile Madonna) (c.1504), an early painting of Raphael; the Holy Family (1505-1507) by Raphael, where Joseph is depicted without a beard – a rare method; The Crouching Boy (early 1530s), a sculpture by Michelangelo; Lute Player (c. 1595), an early work of Caravaggio; numerous works of Peter Paul Rubens; the delicate and lovely Child with Whip (1885) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; Woman in the Garden (1867) by Claude Monet, the king of Impressionists; works of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso; the famous Dance (1910) by Henri Matisse.
The treasures of the Hermitage are endless, and everyone can find there a piece of art for its taste. Make sure to visit one of the world’s largest and prestigious museums and an absolute cultural must-see in Saint Petersburg.
The Litta Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci © Saint-Petersburg.com
Child with Whip by Pierre-Auguste Renoir © Saint-Petersburg.com
Dance by Henri Matisse © Saint-Petersburg.com
State Hermitage Museum – Location Map & Contact Information
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Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square) 2
190000 Saint Petersburg, Russia
How to get there – ARRIVAL INFORMATION
Metro Stations: Admiralteyskaya
Directions: Exit the metro station, turn right and then turn left onto Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa. Follow the street and enter Palace Square through the arch of the General Staff Building
Open: Daily from 10:30 am until 6pm