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Rembrandt at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Nicole Jeffords 3 weeks ago

After two days in Moscow we took the high speed train to St. Petersburg, a distance of about 800 kilometers which meant a comfortable four hour journey with a leisurely three course lunch served as we sped along through what looked like endless forest.

Sapsan train

The first thing to know about St. Petersburg is it’s a Baltic port city built on canals (which means in some ways it resembles Venice or Amsterdam). With a population of about 6 million, it’s smaller than Moscow, but perhaps more dense —

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St. Petersburg

— with many shops, malls, restaurants, cafes and of course, palaces, churches and museums.

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View of St. Petersburg

Our main goal was to spend as much time at the Hermitage as possible, but we hadn’t been warned about the crowds. There were three or four cruise ships in town the first day we went to the museum, which meant boatloads of tourists charging through the halls, all of them wanting to get as close to the artwork as possible.

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Exterior view of Hermitage


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Hermitage interior


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View from Hermitage over canal

tourists

Amazingly, no one seemed to notice the Rembrandts, so I was in heaven studying the following portraits unimpeded —

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Rembrandt Harmensz, Van Rijn, 1606 –1669, Portrait of Baertje Martens, 1640


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Rembrandt, Portrait of an Old Man in Red, 1654


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Rembrandt, Portrait of an Old Jew, 1664


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Detail of Portrait of an Old Jew