St. Petersburg’s The Hermitage
As I’ve gotten older, my tastes have evolved and my interests have changed. What once bored me, now piques my curiosity and I crave learning about some history, architecture, and…stuff. But one thing that has just not evolved is my love, or lack thereof, of art. No matter how many world renowned museums I visit – Chicago’s Art Institute, the Louvre in Paris, Madrid’s Prado, the Vatican Museum, and now, perhaps the grand dame of them all, the Hermitage, I still just glaze over looking at gilt-framed paintings one after the other.
The images staring back at me – zaftig, heaving bosomed women in sheets, biblical scenes of Jesus in various states of death or Mary in thousands of mother and child paintings, portraits of dead military leaders, shiny plates, swords and shields, random grim-faced portraits, marble busts of wigged men, and hanging tapestries depicting battles and horses and Jesus and saints, mostly all bore me to tears.
I just don’t connect with it. But visiting the Hermitage was amazing if just for the building alone. I was in awe as I strolled around the gilded, domed, reliefed, carved, in-laid, columned, chandeliered, and gold-leafed rooms and halls.
The History Bit
The Hermitage Art Museum rivals the Louvre asthe world’s best and largest art museum. This mint-green jewel box is housed in the over-the-top Winter Palace with room after room of masterpieces, from Monet to Matisse to Van Gogh. I was still less impressed with the art collection than I was with the ornate building itself, dripping with gold leaf and opulence.
What I really wanted to do was run through the halls singing at the top of my lungs a la Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club.