St. Petersburg

Having visited most of the great art museums of the world, I couldn’t wait to visit St Petersburg. I had seen an exhibition of Russian painters in NY and also studied them quite a bit. This was a pure 12 day solo indulgence.
For info there is a bit of annoying bureaucracy – I had to visit Dublin embassy 3 times. A critical item is to have sent passport to your Russian accommodation and to have a letter back from them. Flight with Lufthansa via Frankfurt.

Being a poor starving artist, I had cheaper accommodation, a 10min bus ride from centre – worked very well.

The Highlights
Of course:
The Hermitage and Russian Museum, – took up most times.
Churches – St Isaacs and Church on Spilled Blood
Metro Stations, canals and bridges and of course Nevsky Prospekt (retail therapy)
Other Museums – Tsarskoe Selo, Pavlovsk and Peter and Paul Fortress.

The Hermitage

BTW – best to book in advance and get to understand the layout and plan priorities. Also Impressionist paintings in second building across square. I spent long days here and very importantly, got to know the cafes for frequent sustenance.

It is a truly magnificent place – displaying the vision of its creators. In terms of art – you name it, the Hermitage has it – everything from Renaissance to Modern, paintings, sculpture etc., in spade fulls from all parts of the globe. Old Masters in plentiful supply. Considerable time spent sketching – sometimes avoiding elbows.

Best 3 Catalogues for ref were:

The Hermitage – 250 Masterworks – Mikail Piotrovsky (director)
The Hermitage Picture Gallery -same author – Alfa Color Art Publishers
The Hermitage – The History of the Buildings and Collections – as above

Russian Museum

Great Catalogue ;”Russian Museum – from the Icon to Modernism” the State Russian Museum.
So is the reality – an amazing range of art by amazing artists
These are too numerous to name (and prob a bit boring!) but you can see them all on the website.
This was a special treat – to see “live” some works from the Russian greats. I had been long waiting to see “The Barge Towers on the Volga” by Ilya Repin (1870) which so capture the life and hardship. This was just one of many by Repin.
Just a small number of others to mention is: Aivazovsky, Vasiliev, Perov, Siemiradzki, Surikov, Polenov, Levitan, Arkhipov, Venetsianov, Fedotov, Shishkin, Levitsky.
The paintings shown give a flavour – they vary from very small to gigantic.

Sketchin the Barge Towers on the Volga – dream come true!


The magnificent Churches and their unbelievable art – St Isaacs, Church on Spilled Blood.

Peter and Paul Fortress

A trip to the Countryside

Main reason for the trip was the art . There was also a good bit of walkabout. I also to a train/buses outside to visit palaces/parks just to get a feel.

Pavlovsk Palace and Grounds-a more modest palace but fab grounds.

Tsarskoe Selo – the big one!

This was the lavish country palace and landscaped gardens of Catherine the Great.
Beyond spectacular – get there early to avoid crowds!

The Marble Museum-small art collection

Sunset from my Room