Saint Petersburg is a mecca for art lovers. Here are some tips for you:
The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage is definitely the place to start off. It’s one of the largest museums in the world that houses a truly impressive collection of European fine art along with numerous decorative objects, as well as Egyptian and Classical items from antiquity. The Winter Palace, that is part of the Hermitage complex, also showcases splendid interiors as it once used to be the main residence of the Russian Tsars.
Visitors are welcome to see the masterpieces created by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Titian and many other great masters. We advise you to have some sort of a plan before “diving” into the Hermitage world, as the amount of exhibits on many floors can become overwhelming, so pace yourselves! But be sure not to miss out on the Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son”. Word of note: all the works by the French Impressionists are exhibited in the General Staff Building that is located across the square from the main exhibition.
The Russian Museum
If you came to Saint Petersburg to explore Russian fine art specifically, then you should visit the Russian Museum. Its collection displays the works of Russian masters starting from the 10th century (traditional Russian icon painting) and tracing the development of the painting genres up to the 21st century’s contemporary works. Kazimir Malevich, Ivan Aivazovsky, Karl Bryullov, Ilya Repin, Mark Shagal to name but a few, are the prominent Russian painters that will certainly help you bolster any sophisticated art conversation.
The Erarta museum will pleasantly impress those who are fond of contemporary art. It is the largest private museum of its kind in Russia. Erarta’s permanent exhibition comprises over 2,800 works by Russian artists. The museum also hosts various international temporary exhibitions of different genres and forms of art. Taking an audio guide is a convenient way to explore the exhibitions. The souvenir shop on the 1st floor is also worth a visit: they’ve come up with some hip unusual gift ideas that you’d be delighted to bring home for your family and friends.
The Museum of Saint Petersburg Art
The collection of the museum consists of works created by Saint Petersburg artists during the 20th and 21stcenturies. The museum can be an interesting find for those who are curious about the development of art in the USSR as well as the post-soviet period. The collection covers the Avant-Garde style of the 1920s, Socialist Realism that originated after the 2nd World War and the Underground movement of the 1960s–70s.
Talking about galleries, we can recommend visiting ArtMuza. The exhibition occupies 4 floors and there is no entry fee. The gallery is definitely a great experience where you can meet local artists and visit their workshops.