World’s Oldest Museum Hermitage, Swifts You Away

Posted On November 24, 2009 

It was the bravura history of this city that made me to travel from Moscow city to Saint Petersburg. It was really crazy for me to land in this city just after listening to history but to be honest there are many other things about this city that attracted me. And the most eye-catching was the museum comprising about 3 million art works. It is undoubtedly world oldest museum established by Catherine The Great and whose only small part is open to the common people.

It was Tsar Peter I of Russia who had built an entire city on the alluvium of Neva. It was named after the saint Peter and Tsar himself: Saint Petersburg. The sawy Italian Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli was the one who designed the official building all over 44 islands and divided by more than 60 canals. Russians have paid a huge price for the construction of this city as they have lost many of their labor but, still the work was not completed until the reign of Empress Catherine II.

It was Empress Catherine who possessed all the art work which, she had Inherited from her family tree. She had acquired the best collections offered for sale by the heirs of well-known collectors. The collection had grown tremendously in the building. During the era of Catherine, she had acquired 4,000 paintings from the old masters, 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 10,000 drawings, 16,000 coins and medals and a natural history collection filling two galleries.

No doubt the expansion took at it height in Nicholas I. He had assigned the neoclassicist German architect Leo von Klenze to design a building for the public museum just after there was a huge fire in Hermitage. Leo completed the work in 1852 and then Tsar Nicolas I opened the museum for common people.

World’s oldest museum Hermitage

The end of October revolution in 1917, the collections was appropriated by the state and now they own them. The hermitage now extends right into the Winter Palace.  The splendid interiors are Jordan staircase and Parade Halls. The immensity of this museum creates a unique atmosphere which is unlike the one Louvre in Paris as it reflects a lot of royalty. The collections are divided in eleven categories and they have acquainted rooms containing the objects of particular style and era.

  • Egyptian antiquities
  • Classical antiquities
  • Prehistoric art
  • Jewelery and decorative art
  • Italian Renaissance
  • Italian and Spanish fine art
  • Knight’s Hall
  • Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque
  • German and French fine art
  • Russian art
  • Neoclassical, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist art

Egyptian antiquities includes Limestone stele of a chief potter, 18th century BC

The best in Classical antiquities is Tauride Venus.

Prehistoric art has the world’s oldest surviving knotted pile carpet and a well-preserved wooden chariot.

The world’s oldest surviving knotted pile carpet and a well-preserved wooden chariot is included in Jewelry and decorative art

Italian Renaissance consist of the best Madonna with Beardless St. Joseph by Raphael

Michelangelo’s Crouching Boy is the best art displayed in Italian and Spanish fine art.

The  Three Graces by Canova magnificently stands in Knight’s Hall.

Carl Faberge and Agathon have put together their noteworthy collection. Their Easter Eggs which were decorated pieces made of gold and enamel became widely popular in Tsar courts; Russians were the main customers to buy such items.

One masterpiece of Leonardo’s, the Madonna Litta is been exhibited in hermitage.Hermitage museum

The hermitage is just popular for it art work but is also popular for its activities and the projects launched by them.

Here are some popular cultures of art work


Russian Ark  (2003).

A Russian film by Alexander Sokurov was filmed exclusively in the Hermitage Museum, showing the Winter Palace at various stages of its history.

War and Peace (1967) an Oscar-winning Soviet adaptation of the novel by Leo Tolstoy, was partially filmed in the Winter Palace.


The fifth season of the CBS reality series The Amazing Race, contestants had to locate Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son in the Hermitage as part of the competition.


To the Hermitage, by Malcolm Bradbury, retells the story of Diderot’s journey to Russia to meet Catherine the Great in her Hermitage.

Petersburg, by Andrey Bely, features the Winter Canal near the palace as one of its central locations, but never names the Winter Palace directly.

The projects that are were accomplished by hermitage are:
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Center
  • Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Vilnius

The easiest way to get there is by Nevsky Prospekt Subway Station. And, the opening hours from morning 10.30 to evening 6.00.

It has been the most marvelous experience of my life. I hope you would love the ambience of this museum.

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