The Winter Palace and Hermitage, Part II

OK, back to the Hermitage. I won’t be able to identify everything, but I’ll do my best.


This shows you why it would take nine years to see everything in the Hermitage. There are fine paintings, along with beautifully crafted details on the ceilings as well as the walls. The floors are exquisite too….



A lapis lazuli table with gold details, and a huge malachite urn.

A real highlight for me was the Da Vinci Room:





Da Vinci’s “Madonna and Child” and “Benois Madonna.”


Can you believe the intricacy?



A closer look at the detail on the fireplace above.


Love those cameos on the wall.


I zoomed in on the plaque with Photoshop, but still couldn’t read the name of the painter.

Even more beautiful ceilings:





Finally, St. George’s Hall, or the Great Throne Room:




According to Wiki, this hall was the setting for the opening of the First State Duma by Nicholas II, in 1906. The Tsar was forced to agree to the establishment of a Duma as a concession to his people in an attempt to avert revolution. However, the Imperial family saw it as “the end of Russian autocracy.”

If you visit St. Petersburg, this is an absolute must-see. Allow more than a few hours, though.

Great weekend, everyone!


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The Hermitage and Winter Palace, Part I

Sorry about the delay. I shot a wedding on Friday and that set me back a little bit. I have quite a few photos of the Winter Palace and Hermitage, so will be breaking the post into two parts.


The Winter Palace, which houses the Hermitage, was built between 1754 and 1762 and was designed by the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the same person who designed the Catherine Palace. You’re probably noticing the similarities now. The exterior facades are 656 feet (200 m.) long and there are one thousand rooms. The Palace was built for Empress Elizabeth.


Love that blue.


Our tour group was allowed to enter the Hermitage early, but you can see that it was still quite crowded.

Again, we had to walk very quickly to keep up with our tour guide, but the place has 2.8 million objects to see. My guidebook says it would take nine years to see everything. I was fortunate to view an exhibition of Hermitage paintings in Washington D.C. years ago, so I wasn’t upset about missing stuff. We still saw a lot.

This is the first art museum that rivaled the artwork for me. The opulence is staggering. If you love great art and architecture, you would probably want to spend days here. At the very least, get a good guide who can show you the highlights. You’ll see what I mean in the photos that follow.

The sneak peek I posted last time is from the Jordan Staircase. This is the most beautiful stair hall I’ve ever seen and I took as many shots as I could….






I wasn’t able to find out the name of the painting or the artist. It was fairly challenging staying with the group while trying to listen to the guide and take pictures. What a luxury it would be to walk at a leisurely pace and see everything.

Next, we moved on to the Pavilion Room, which was equally amazing:





This hall houses one of the main attractions of the Hermitage: the Peacock Clock.


Grigory Potemkin commissioned James Cox, a London jeweler and goldsmith, to make a monumental automaton with a clock for the Empress’s Hermitage in 1777.
Four separate mechanisms are combined in the clock: three of them set the peacock, owl and cockerel in motion, while the fourth is the actual clock movement. These mechanisms are linked by a system of levers that ensures their operation in the correct sequence.

We were not there at the time of the movement, but there was a large video screen that showed it. I took this shot off the screen:


Looking back at the photos now, I see that just about every inch of the place was embellished with some kind of artwork. I especially liked a lot of the doors….



I believe tortoiseshell was used here.


Can’t imagine how long it took to do these.

More in Part II. I’m going out of town this weekend and won’t be back until Monday night, so hope to post again next Wednesday or Friday.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


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My regular Tuesday post will appear tomorrow (Wednesday). Thanks for your patience!


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A Peek into The Hermitage

I’ve been wanting to do a post on The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg for a while, but life has gotten in the way each time. Happy events, but major distractions. Here is a sneak peek:


The place was fabulous.

A warm welcome to all the new subscribers!


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Sunset Rain

I had a feeling we were going to have a nice sunset the other night. The actual sunset was okay:


But it was the approaching rain and cloud formations that caught my eye:


We finally got some rain! It’s been a long, long time and we need it desperately out here.

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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On Deck


I took this shot the morning we docked in St. Petersburg. I liked the way shadows mimicked the stripes in the deck chairs.
Those are lifeboats overhead.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Autumn Throwback

I’m working at the kitchen table this week, as I’m refinishing furniture for the office redo. I’m also missing the autumn foliage on the East Coast, so here’s a shot from a few years back:


Hope your week’s going well so far.


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White Nights and a Performance in St. Petersburg

We made a reservation to attend a Folkloric Spectacle in St. Petersburg because the reviews were really good. The performance was kind of so-so, but the theater was something else:


There’s that beautiful color again with the white trim. I knew we couldn’t take photos of the performance, so I had only my iPhone. I’m happy the colors are true to life.




And this is one of their lesser theaters!


I managed to take this shot when the performance was ending. No flash, so the quality is poor, but you get the idea. Lots of singing and dancing.

What’s really cool is that we came outside afterwards and saw this across the street:


This was taken at exactly 10:07 p.m. and that is sunlight in the upper corner. These are the White Nights Russia is famous for. So strange and wonderful to be in sunlight that late at night. Sunset was at 11:15. Loved that.

Great weekend, everyone! My office is getting painted tomorrow and the blog design is coming along, slowly but surely.


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Hotel California

We lost only one plant in the fire: our Sago Palm. It was never happy in the spot it was in–didn’t like the water from our sprinklers and overflow from the neighbor’s. So I had a new rosebush planted. Would you believe it’s called “Hotel California”?


I haven’t had a yellow rose in a long time and had forgotten how cheery they can be.

We just got back last night after a whirlwind in Virginia where my stepdaughter got married! Sooo nice seeing family, friends and fall colors again. I kind of miss that East Coast sensibility, but I got over it when the temp dropped into the 30s. :)

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Cherry Bomb


We had some time to kill near Balboa Park this weekend, so we popped over to the Automotive Museum. It’s not a large collection, but they have some pretty cool vehicles, including this 1940 Mercury Custom Coupe called “Cherry Bomb.”

I have more photos that I’ll share at a later date.

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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