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Russia - 2

 

We ain't been nowhere, and

we ain't seen nothin'

until now, or so it would seem

 

The magnificence of the Russian museums and venues cannot be overstated.

We have seen a lot in our travels but nothing prepared us for some of these sites.  The so called Armory in the Kremlin (which is better described as the State Treasury), the Hermitage museum in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg as well as some of the churches are simply world class - if not in a class of their own.

Western museums have excellent collections but have some built in limitations which the Russian sites do not have.  In the west there are many more museums competing for what is available.  In Russia/ex Soviet Union - the state took what it wanted.  In the west many collections where plundered or looted or damaged during many wars.  In Russia they usually had time to move the stuff out of harms way.  And during the 1917 revolutions the state secured the royal treasuries and protected them.  Also in the west funding for maintenance is often diluted amongst many competing venues whereas in Russia there are not that many sites so the great sites get the lion's share of the resources.

 

Detail - door panel

The craftsmanship is as good as anywhere in the world.  The czars wanted to be considered a world class power in the 17th through 19th century's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doorknob

Many of the buildings were damaged during WW Two and have been heavily rehabilitated, thus their current upkeep is superb.

Throne room - Winter Palace - St. Petersburg

Above - wood carving

Right- Grand Staircase-Hermitage

 

Inlaid wood floors that incorporate up to eleven different types of wood.

 

 

Stone mosaics of incredible precision:

 

 

On the floor

 

As a tabletop

As a painting

 

Iconostasis - Saint Isaaks Cathedral

 

Sadly we were not allowed to take photographs within the Armory of the Kremlin.  Sadly because this was the most spectacular display.  Here were the Crown Jewels as well as the state gifts from all over Europe from the last 4 centuries.  Gold, silver, diamonds, gems, arms, ivory, crystal.  The collection was mind numbing in its scope and richness.

 

 

Masterpieces from all the world's great artists.

 

 

Here is a very rare Leonardo da Vinci:

Mary and Joseph with infant Jesus.  Leonardo portrayed Joseph as beardless and an old man.  

The Hermitage Museum has over 3,000,000 objects in its collections.

 

Stone objects of art

 

Ceiling mosaics - Cathedral on Spilled Blood - Saint Petersburg

 

I could go on and on, but I shall stop here.

 

Next - The Golden Ring

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