The Hermitage was Catherine's palace and is now a museum that is supposed to be on par with the Louvre. It's impossible to walk through that amazing palace and not wonder what tales the walls would tell. The entrance is in a gigantic square and the back looks out on the Neva River. The day we went it was so windy that the waves were crashing into the shore. The yellow buildings in the picture below are government buildings and they stand opposite The Hermitage.
Mark and I both loved the Rembrandt room We listened to a tour on Mark's phone that helped us understand some of the nuances that make these pieces so moving. Here are our favorites...
The Prodigal Son. We learned that the absence of a setting help us feel the impact of the moment. Standing out in the light we see in particular the Father's hands and how the son's clothes are ragged. The son's face buried in his father's chest show how repentant he is and merciful the Father is.
We also loved this picture called 'Old Man in Red' because of the feelings it evokes. Again the light draws your eyes to his hands that are old and weathered and have seen work. His eyes are wise and have the understanding that comes with age and experience.
The museum was huge and warm and a perfect way to spend the freezing day.