The Hermitage Museum does not disappoint and it certainly lives up to its reputation. You can get lost for days just soaking up all the treasures in its 360 rooms. And to think what's on display is a mere fraction of over three million items in their collection--this amounts to a comprehensive history of Western European art. Catherine the Great, one of the greatest art collectors of all time, began the collection. Visiting the museum requires planning so download the Hermitage Museum Travel Guide and Offline Map and start now!
1. Portrait of Soler
One of the most emotive paintings from Picasso’s ‘Blue Period’, Portrait of Soler is a picture of a young man sitting alone in a café, and is widely considered a comment on loneliness and isolation within the artist’s own life. Painted in 1903, using his good friend and patron, Soleras as his model, Picasso expresses melancholy through a powerful use of color, expression, and lighting – or lack thereof.
2. St. Luke Drawing the Virgin
A significant artwork by Belgian painter Rogier van der Weyden, St Luke Drawing the Virgin portrays an artist--perhaps a self-portrait of van der Weyden himself--sketching the Virgin Mary as she cradles baby Jesus. Interestingly, the canvas was initially two separate pieces, one half owned by Tsar Nicholas I, and the other by Alexander III. If you look closely, you can still see the vertical join.
3. Head of Athena
There are a number of sculptures of Greek Goddess Athena throughout the State Hermitage Museum, but the Head of Athena is arguably the most captivating. Dating back to the 2nd century, the marble is immaculately preserved, so her powerful and wise gaze continues to be as striking as it would have been when it was created.
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