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Venice of the North

Nicole Jeffords 3 years ago

View of St. Petersburg

As I mentioned in a previous entry, St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1703, is built on water, with a system of rivers and canals highly reminiscent of Venice or Amsterdam — indeed it was dubbed the ‘Venice of the North’ by Goethe.

boat tour

Nicole & George touring St. Petersburg by boat


Nicole at a canal

st. petersburg

St. Petersburg street scene

Could be any modern city, right?

street scene

Another St. Petersburg street scene


Anatoly Gankevich, b. 1965, Russians are Coming, 2014, Oil on canvas

We went to the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg, a vast private museum with over 2,000 pieces in its collection that opened in 2010. The above painting pulled me in because of its imitation of mosaic, a technique I’d never seen before, and because of Alan Arkin’s 1966 hilarious movie, The Russians are Coming, about a submarine that goes aground off the New England Coast.

military school

Students of a military college, St. Petersburg

But of course I got pulled into other paintings at the Erarta Museum as well…


Semichov-Kuzmin, Music, 1994


Alexei Semichov (b. September 7, 1959) and Audrey Kuzmin (born January 2, 1969) Dance, 1994, Oil on canvas

The two paintings above, created by an artist duo, is clearly a comment on Matisse’s 1910 painting, also entitled Dance, which can be found in the Hermitage.


Henri Matisse, 1910, Oil on canvas


Yury Samsonov, b. 1956, Harbinger of Winter, 1990, Oil on canvas


Russian girl carrying a stuffed mouse at Erarta Museum, St. Petersburg


Anastasia Bazanova, b. 1978, Morning, 2007, Oil on canvas

self portrait

Anastasia Bazanova, b. 1978, Self Portrait, 2008, Oil on canvas

I know, I know: a lot of paintings, but what better way to witness another culture, especially if you’re an artist visiting St. Petersburg?

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