Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Hermitage

We had amazing weather the whole time we were in Russia until a couple days until we left. We knew that it would be cold and might snow but I was not prepared for that kind of cold until we stepped out of the hotel that morning. I wrapped my scarf around my head so that just my eyes showed but the wind whipped me in the face. It made me not want to go outside at all and luckily we just had the Hermitage left to explore.

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.
There was this peacock clock. At a certain time every day the peacock spreads it's tail and the whole thing moves in different ways. It is very intricate and was made by a famous clock maker.
We saw pieces from prehistoric times to modern. We saw masterpieces by Davinci, Matisse, Picasso and Degas. Degas is a personal favorite of mine, his paintings are so pretty. We saw mummies, urns, and statues.

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.

I told Mark that I wished the kids were with us during the day and that we could be alone at night. It would have been so cool to experience the Red Square, the train, the Hermitage and different food with them. I think that is one reason why I missed them so much, I wanted to share this time with them. For now they will have to gain those experiences through books.

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