Thursday, 30 June 2016

Henri Matisse At The Hermitage

There's so much great art at the Hermitage, it's difficult for an artist to stand out. Except for Matisse. Stroll into the handful of rooms that exclusively feature his fine work and be ready to be overwhelmed. The colors, the compositions, the bending of perspective, all of these elements create a hallucinatory effect of pure joie de vivre and absolute beauty. A sampling.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Frans Snyders' Market Paintings At The Hermitage

The Hermitage is so big, if you happen to have a half dozen or so giant genre paintings from 15th century Flanders, sure, there's plenty of room to hang them.

Covering a wall, the work of Frans Snyders is along the bottom.

Details from the various shopping stall paintings, featuring great details of overflowing products and animal mischief.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Looking At The Paintings At The Hermitage

So much to see. Sometimes it feels as if the paintings are looking at you.

Pondering Rembrandt. Or Rembrandt pondering?

Enjoying the details. Especially the mastery of satin by Gerard ted Borch.

And the gazes.

Pensive portraits. On the left, Andre Derain, Girl In Black, 1913.

Taking time to see the goat.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Exploring The Mighty Hermitage Palace

Sure, the Hermitage is a huge museum in the center of St. Petersburg, filled with troves of masterpieces spanning many eras. Days of exploration and appreciation are the price of admission.

Bonus, the building complex in itself is a giant work of luxurious art. The Tsars knew how to build, and how to dripping luxury. Catherine the Great started the collection in 1764 and the Hermitage opened to the public in 1852.

Detail of the main building, the Winter Palace.

Joining the crowds, ready to gawk. The Raphael loggias.
Who wouldn't smile to live in such a place?

The palace is dripping with ornamentation and gold. And Large Objects.

A wall of military fame.

More rooms, more details to photograph.

And simply take in.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Cruising The Gulf Of Finland

Time to head to Russia in style. Or at least a ferry. We are veterans of this type of travel and you can read about it here. We recently hopped the St. Peter Line from Helsinki to St. Petersburg for a weekend of soaking up all things Russian.

The St. Petersburg ferry terminal, done in high communist architecture style.

Getting relaxed at the sun deck bar.

Festive flagging.

Mysterious cabin.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Helsinki's Temppeliaukio Church

Rock it. In Helsinki, they know how to design unique places of worship. You can check out a wood masterpiece here. For stone, head to the Temppeliaukio Church. Opened in 1969, the church is unique for being mostly quarried from a rock mound in the center of a city square. It's more impressive than it sounds.

The entrance is at ground level. You walk in and suddenly you're within the hollowed (hallowed?) rock.

Details. Expansive copper dome, angled views.

Funky. A nice touch that they've kept that swinging late 1960s upholstery.

Super popular with Lithuanians? Who knew? The nice play of light within the church.

Taking it in.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Quick Wander In Helsinki

Sarah and James had a day to wander in Helsinki before boarding a ferry to St. Petersburg, Russia. What's to see?

Lunch and lounging by the gulf of Finland.

Nighttime skyline. Yes, in the summer, 10 pm is day.