Because of the large number of photos I took in the Hermitage, there are extra photos split across the following two pages:-
Hermitage Extra Photos 1
Hermitage Extra Photos 2
The Hermitage is an art gallery housed in a fabulous Baroque setting where the halls and rooms compete with the pictures for your attention.
It has an excellent website to help you plan your route through the several palaces making up the Hermitage.
The Jordan Staircase is a sumptuous starter for what is in store.
The defeat of Napoleon in 1812 was critical to the nation and pride of place is this hall with pictures of all the key Russian generals.
Unfortunately 13 of the 332 canvasses are blank, as these generals died before George Dawe got round to painting them (did he give a discount for bulk orders?).
This central hall in the Winter Palace has the Great Imperial Throne (made in England in the 18th century). The hall has a magnificent parquet floor made from 16 varieties of wood.
This hall is really a mishmash of different stylistic motifs - from the Classical to the Moorish, held together by the white & gold colour scheme. You can't help but smile as you enter it! It also has the spectacular Peacock Clock.
Beyond the artworks, the ceilings, walls and floors are worth admiring as well.
This hall was decorated in a suitable Renaissance style as it includes a couple of Raphael's masterpieces.
I was disappointed that I couldn't see Raphael's Loggia in the Vatican the couple of times we have been to Rome, so this is the next best thing.
Created for Catherine the Great in the 18th century, for me this hall is one of the most powerful images I take away from my visit to the Hermitage. Yet our guide merely stopped at the entrance to give a brief description before moving on. I had to come back to record the "Raphael Bible" later.
Some of the picture galleries, such as this one were very traditional in their layout. The lighting (mostly from the original skylight) was ideal.
It can certainly be a bit of an endurance exercise spending several hours going through the galleries. I think many visitors would have appreciated more seating!
Some of the halls, such as this one, show off the exhibits to their best. Never mind that the walls are not red marble, but painted, the effect is still superb.
What was the last Russian Tsar doing in an English Gothic library?