The Hermitage Museum
This was the big reason for taking this trip the way we did. I have always wanted to visit the Hermitage Museum (see on links page) and after figuring out the cost for travel, visas and the like, decided that the cruise was the best way to see as much as we could. Unfortunately, we were delayed by strong winds coming into St. Petersburg's harbor by quite a few hours and so missed one of the trips to the museum. We did get in another and really enjoyed the sights.
This is one of the largest museums in all of Europe with nearly 3 million works of art. They tell us that its collection of Western Europe art is second to none and from what I saw of the paintings, I believe it. The museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, as a private court museum with her purchase of 225 canvasses by Dutch and Flemish masters and it is impressive that it and its collection has survived to this day. What is also incredible is the architecture and style of the buildings.
Unfortunately, it was a Sunday that we visited the Hermitage and the crowds were incredible. Our tour leader did a good job but you really need several days to see all the wonderful things here. If you love old masters paintings, the collection makes the trip alone worthwhile. There are 25 Rembrandts ! Matisse had three rooms, Peter Paul Rubens had a huge hall, rooms for Monet, two for Gaughin, Van Dyke, and more.
In this section clockwise from the left are Gaughin, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Picasso.
In this grouping is another Van Gogh, and portraits of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Outside the front of one of the buildings at the Hermitage.
So, from here, now On To Catherine the Great's Summer Palace.

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