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State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage is the largest public museum in Russia and home to one of the greatest art collections in the world. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise nearly 3 million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Apart from them, the Menshikov Palace, Museum of Porcelain, Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya and the eastern wing of the General Staff Building are also part of the museum. The museum has several exhibition centers abroad.
The lavish exteriors and interiors of these buildings are of architectural and historical importance in themselves. They provide a rich setting for collections that cover virtually every aspect of the fine arts, from classical antiquity to 20th-century painting. The collection also includes examples of Russian art, artifacts from non-Western cultures, Oriental art, coins, and jewelry.
The Hermitage`s collection of Western European art is particularly strong in Italian, Spanish, Flemish, and Dutch paintings and includes major works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Giorgione, Caravaggio, Diego Velazquez, El Greco, Rembrandt, and Pieter Paul Rubens. The Schukin and Morozov Collections of impressionist, postimpressionist, and modern paintings contain many of the finest works by Henri Matisse, as well as major paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, and Pablo Picasso.
The main building of the Hermitage Museum is the Winter Palace, which was once the main residence of the Russian Tsars. Magnificently located on the bank of the Neva River, this green-and-white three-storey palace is a marvel of Baroque architecture and boasts 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows and 1,057 elegantly and lavishly decorated halls and rooms, many of which are open to the public. The Baroque Winter Palace was built between 1754 and 1762 and its first resident was none other than the celebrated Catherine the Great. Many of the palace's impressive interiors were remodeled after the huge fire that partly destroyed the building in 1837. Some of the best Russian and most famous foreign architects worked exhaustively to ensure that this Imperial residence was one of the finest and most luxurious palaces in the world.
The Hermitage's collections are displayed in adjoining buildings along the Neva embankment, together form an enormous museum complex: the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage and lastly the New Hermitage. The Hermitage Theater, the private theater of the Tsars, is a beautifully decorated amphitheater and still hosts regular lectures, concerts, opera and ballet performances.
Location: Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya 34
Nearest Metro/Subway stations: Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor
Telephone: +7 (812) 311-3465, +7 (812) 219-8625
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10:30am to 6pm
Sundays and national holidays 10:30am to 5pm
The Hermitage is closed on Mondays