Saturday, 25 July 2015

St Petersburg 3

Hermitage, palace overload, Cézanne and Picasso in the General Staff museum, supper at Dom

Took the Metro to Alexander Pr, I had to buy a card and the charge it up, but not expensive. The signage of the metro is good and in English.

Went into the Hermitage and promptly got lost in the poor signage and spent 40 minutes wandering round the smaller Russian rooms. Then found the main section. I found the decoration overwhelming, rooms with malachite pillars, vast chandeliers and a seemingly unending series of rooms. The art was good and I especially liked the Rembrandts and the Dutch art, but I found the opulence over-powering, and it must have helped precipitate the revolution. Although the art in Hermitage was shown to visitors and the court so much would have been unseen and of course inaccessible to ordinary people. I felt very glad that we have had national free collections for two centuries in the UK. I enjoyed the views of Tenriverneva. I rested in a courtyard and then went over to see the impressionist art in the General Staff Museum . The signage here was appalling, and I again found myself walking through exhibitions I did not want to see, about imperial life in Russia. Just as I was about to give up I went to the 4th floor and found their amazing collection of Cézanne and Picasso which was a real treat. I enjoyed the display far more on plain grey walls, so I felt rewarded at the end of the day. I am glad to have seen the Hermitage but once is enough.

Had an excellent supper in a local restaurant "Dom" beside the canal and I had lovely views of the evening light on the building opposite. I ate a plate of different veggie pickles and mushrooms and then a very fine smoked white fish with a Tartare sauce and good Russian white wine, all for £25.

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