Sunday, 26 July 2015

St Petersburg 4

Russian museum. Nice cafes, feeling very energised by being in Russia.

I experienced 5 centuries of Russian life through the art in a series of 90 rooms starting in the 11c and ending in the 21c in the Russian museum The Lonely Planet guide was an excellent companion explaining the significance of each group of rooms. There were beautiful works there, starting with 4 rooms of lovely icons, then portraits of the people that Peter engaged to build his new city. The church featured very little. One could see this educated enlightened city developing. There were also large genre pictures for the late 19 c capturing Russian life. The 20 c section had a large collection of Malevichs and one saw the constructivist style. I was very excited to see so many together. I also love his pictures of Russian people. The twentieth century art was very impeded by Stalinisation. I also ran out of energy, another time I would concentrate on the last twenty rooms. There was also a folk art section beautifully displayed but very poorly labelled with no maps. That could have been a small museum in its own right. It also reminded of the beautiful folk art in India which is now celebrated and seen as representing the diverse aspects of life there.

Came out of the Russian museum really blown away by the variety of the collection. Had a very late lunch in the literary cafeteria on Nevsky prospect where Dostoevsky had his last cup of coffee. Now there is a mannequin sitting at a desk writing in the hall and a modest upstairs dining room with fine views down Nevsky prospect. The Japanese mother and daughter next to me were using Google translate and pictures to negotiate the menu with some difficulty.

I had a quiet evening sitting by the canals watching the world go by and had a low key supper in a small cafe where locals were popping in for drinks and food.

I have not had enough time relaxing days in St Petersburg, too full on with so many interesting museums to visits.

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