Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Hermitage Art Collection

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Where does one begin? If the quality of a museum were judged by the number of Madonne that graced its walls, The Hermitage would have earned its stripes. The one painting most difficult to photograph was the Da Vinci  Madonna and Child, because it was surrounded by admirers and tour groups with no let up in sight. Like his Mona Lisa at the Louvre, this is a revered work of art, so I circled the gallery several times before I could get close enough to admire it myself and take the shot. Can you pick it out?
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For a museum existing in a non religious state, the number of art works with religious themes was staggering, but so was the size of the collection. Since so much of the art of Western Civilization was sponsored by the church, whether it be Roman Catholic or Orthodox, it would have been impossible to have a comprehensive collection without it.
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Of all the furniture present in the museum, the German and Italian examples of inlaid tables and chests were impressive. The gradation of colors and textures of the inlaid stones were masterfully employed to create depth and dimension. The wood inlaid furniture seemed less painterly by comparison while  the grain, and inevitable splitting, distracted from the imagery in the wooden pieces.

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