THE WINTER PALACE AND THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
The Hermitage Museum is housed in the Winter Palace (and some other buildings), the main residence of the Russian imperial family. Magnificently located on the bank of the Neva River, this Baroque-style palace is perhaps the major attraction of St. Petersburg. The green-and-white 3-story palace has 1786 doors, 1945 windows and 1057 halls and rooms, many of which are open to the public. The Winter Palace was built in 1754-62 for Empress Elisabeth, daughter of Peter the Great. By the time it was completed Elisabeth had already died, and only Catherine the Great and her successors could enjoy their new home. The Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 when Catherine the Great purchased a collection of 255 paintings from Berlin. Today, the Hermitage Museum is the largest art gallery in Russia and one of the largest and most respected art museums in the world, with 2.7 million exhibits from Ancient Egypt to early 20th century Europe. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, unique collections of Rembrandt, Rubens, French Impressionists (Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Monet, Pissarro), plus Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaugin and sculptures by Rodin.
For more information on the Hermitage Museum, please point your browser to http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/hermitage.asp
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