Hermitage Museum – Virtual Tour
The State Hermitage Museum is an art and culture museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, having been founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, the collections consist of over three million items.
The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.
A Virtual Tour of the Hermitage Museum
- “Madonna Litta” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci
- Composition VI by Kandinsky
- Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate
- “White House at Night” by Vincent van Gogh
- “The Three Graces” by Antonio Canova
- Egyptian Collection in the Hermitage Museum
- Gonzaga Cameo
- “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova
- “The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
- “Boulevard Montmartre” by Camille Pissarro
- “Three Tahitian Women Against a Yellow Background” by Paul Gauguin
- “Conestabile Madonna” by Raphael
- “Struggle between Tiger and Bull” by Henri Rousseau
- “Landscape with Diana and Callisto” by Cornelis van Pulenburg
- “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt
- “Daedalus and Icarus” by Charles Le Brun
- Aphrodite Kallipygos
- “Waterloo Bridge. Effect of Fog” by Claude Monet
- “Napoleon during his campaign in Egypt” by Jean-Léon Gérôme
- “Memory of the Garden at Etten” by Vincent van Gogh
- “Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh
- “Le Bassin du Jas de Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne
- “Viscount Lepic and his Daughters Crossing the Place de la Concorde” by Edgar Degas
Highlights of the Hermitage Museum
The “Madonna Litta” painting has traditionally been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. However, scholarly opinion is divided on the work’s creators.
Some experts believe this is the work of one of Leonardo’s pupils. The Hermitage Museum, which owns this 1490s masterpiece, considers the painting to be an autograph work by Leonardo.
Madonna Litta depicts the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the Christ child, a devotional subject known as the Nursing Madonna.
The figures are set in a dark interior with two arched openings showing an aerial view of a mountainous landscape. Of particular interest, note that in the center of the painting, in Christ’s left hand, is a goldfinch, which is symbolic of his future Passion.
Composition VI by Kandinsky by Vasily Kandinsky also spelled Wassily, is an expressive abstract that is independent of forms and lines.
Music was an essential catalyst for early abstract art, and Kandinsky used musical terms to identify his works. He called his spontaneous paintings “improvisations” and described elaborate works, such as this painting, as “compositions.”
In many of Kandinsky’s works, the identification of the forms and the masses present on the canvas require a more elaborate analysis.
The inner reality of the art requires a more profound observation of the relationship of all the elements and their harmony. Kandinsky was an early champion of abstract painting; he is famous for his lyrical style and innovative theories on nonfigurative art.
“The Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate” by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya is a portrait of the actress Antonia Zárate. It was produced in Goya’s studio, and it shows her wearing most likely an outfit from one of her performances.
Antonia Zárate was the daughter of an actor and director of a performing company.
She continued in the family tradition as an actress and singer with success throughout Spain but mainly acted in the Spanish capital, where she became a friend of Francisco Goya.
“White House at Night” by Vincent van Gogh was created six weeks before his death. It is thought that van Gogh painted “White House at Night” around 8:00 PM, based on the position of the “star” in the painting.
Astronomers calculated that the star in the picture must be Venus, which was bright in the evening sky in June 1890. Does this painting express Van Gogh’ s psychological tension?
The painting itself has had a turbulent history. In the late 1920s, it became part of a private collection of a German industrialist.
Pictures of this style were labeled “degenerate art” by the Nazis, which contributed to this painting and other Post-Impressionism paintings being kept secret.
“The Three Graces” by Antonio Canova is a statue of the three mythological charities who were daughters of Zeus. Zeus was the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who ruled as king of the gods of Mount Olympus.
The three sisters are identified as Euphrosyne, Aglaea, and Thalia, from left to right. They represent youth and beauty, she is named Thalia, mirth, is named Euphrosyne, and elegance is called Aglaea.
The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings, to delight the guests of the gods. The Three Graces have inspired many artists and have served as subjects for many artists.
The civilization of ancient Egypt produced ancient Egyptian art in the Nile Valley from about 3000 BC to 30 AD.
Ancient Egyptian art reached a high level of sophistication in painting and sculpture but in a highly stylized and symbolic form.
It was highly conservative, and styles changed remarkably little over more than three thousand years. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments.
The tomb art was never meant to be seen by people and was produced for the afterlife.
The Gonzaga Cameo is a Hellenistic engraved gem dating from the 3rd century BC.
The two profiles form a couple who at various times have been identified as Alexander the Great and Olympias, Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, Nero, and Agrippina the Younger, and many other famous couples of antiquity.
The male figure is clad in the attributes of Alexander. These attributes include a laurel-wreathed helmet which is crowned by a snake.
The Alexander figure also has on his cape a gorgoneion figure and a bearded head, probably that of Zeus Ammon.
The brown necklace is a later addition to mask the fact that the cameo was, at some point, broken in half at the necks of the figures
“Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” by Antonio Canova shows the mythological lovers at a moment of high emotion.
It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening Psyche with a kiss.
Having been awakened, Psyche reaches up toward her lover, Cupid, as he gently holds her by supporting her head and breast.
This sculpture exemplifies Antonio Canova’s craftsmanship and skills in carving marble that provides a superb contrast between the smooth skin of Psyche and Cupid as compared to the surrounding elements.
The detached draping around Psyche’s lower body, emphasizes the difference between the texture of skin and drapery.
Beautiful curls and lines define the hair, and the feathery details create the realistic wings of Cupid. The rough stone texture provides the basis of the rock upon which the composition is placed.
“The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicts a kiss between two lovers, showing a young lady in a cream-colored silk gown who has left the group women in the next room for a secret meeting with a young man.
Fragonard’s painting displays the kind of eroticism and romantic folly that was popular before the French Revolution among French aristocrats.
This scene of voyeurism depicts the stolen kiss in lavish surroundings, containing luxurious details of textures, silks, and lace, like the rug with flower pattern, silk draperies, her shawl on the chair, the elegantly clad ladies that are visible through the open door.
“Boulevard Montmartre: Afternoon, Sunshine” by Camille Pissarro became part of a thirteen artwork series of the famous Boulevard. Pissarro painted it in 1897 after renting a room at the Grand Hotel de Russie in Paris with a perfect view.
Pissarro wanted to capture the true essence of the busy Parisian street. From his elevated hotel balcony, he obtains a bird’ s-eye view of the people, carriages, and life that passed before him.
“Three Tahitian Women Against a Yellow Background” by Paul Gauguin depicts the world of the so-called “savages,” which the artist believed preserved that natural harmony which had been lost by the “civilization” of Europe.
Gauguin’s work contains unclear symbolic meanings, while at the same time, his artistic achievement of harmony of color and graceful lines have made him highly popular artist after his death.
“Conestabile Madonna” by Raphael portrays the Madonna holding the Child while reading a book. This small devotional piece is unfinished as it was the last work painted by Raphael in Umbria before moving to Florence.
In 1881 the painting was transferred from wood to canvas for its preservation. During the preservation process, it was discovered that in the initial version, the Madonna was contemplating a pomegranate, the symbol of the Passion, instead of the book.
“Struggle between Tiger and Bull” by Henri Rousseau depicts an idealized “primitive” fantasy of a tiger attacking a bull in a jungle setting.
This painting is similar to Rousseau’s other artworks depicting animals amongst foliage inspired by the artist’s study of Paris’ botanical gardens and the many jungle pictures he collected.
Rousseau also took inspiration and adapted the wild beasts from popular ethnographic journals.
“Landscape with Diana and Callisto” by Cornelis van Pulenburg depicts Diana and her nymphs as they unclothed and prepared to bathe in the water.
But one of them, Callisto, refuses to take off her robe. Callisto, who was seduced by Jupiter, who had appeared to her disguised as Diana, is desperately trying to hide her swollen stomach.
Cornelis van Pulenburg depicts the nymphs angrily pulling her clothes off her. Diana, identified by the crescent moon on her hair, banishes the nymph for having lost her virginity.
“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt depicts the moment of the prodigal son’s return to his father. In the painting, the son has returned home in a wretched state after he has wasted his inheritance through wastefulness and extravagance.
Having fallen into poverty and despair, he kneels before his father in repentance. The Prodigal Son returns to the farther wishing for forgiveness and a renewed place in the family.
His father receives him with a tender gesture of his hands, suggesting compassion. Rembrandt has made the left hand larger and more masculine, and set it on the son’s shoulder, while the right is softer and more receptive in gesture.
It has been suggested that the hands seem to indicate the inclusiveness of both the mothering and fathering gestures.
“Daedalus and Icarus” by Charles Le Brun depicts the fabled inventor Daedalus, who made wings for himself and his son to escape from their prison tower.
The figures are skillfully shown in complex foreshortening, creating a dynamic composition through the use of contrasts in light and shade.
The cold greenish-blue of the ominous sky and the warm golden-brown draperies contrast with the pale body of Icarus. In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful architect and craftsman full of wisdom and knowledge.
He invented and built the Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete. However, after finishing the Labyrinth, the King had Daedalus imprisoned to preserve the secrets of the Labrinth.
Daedalus and his son Icarus devised a plan to escape by using wings made of wax that Daedalus had invented.
The Aphrodite Kallipygos or Venus Callipyge is a famous Ancient Roman marble statue, which is a copy of an older Greek original.
It depicts a partially draped woman, raising her peplos to reveal her hips and back, and looking back and down over her shoulder. The subject is conventionally identified as Venus and some versions use her Greek name, Aphrodite.
This statue is a copy of the Venus Callipyge from the Farnese Collection dates to the late 1st century BC. The lost Greek original on which it is based is thought to have been bronze, and to have been created around 300 BC.”
Waterloo Bridge. Effect of Fog by Claude Monet depicts the bridge crosses the River Thames in London. Its name commemorates the victory of the British at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Positioned at a strategic bend in the river, it provides the best ground-level views of Westminster and the London Eye to the west, and the City of London and Canary Wharf to the east.
From his room in the Savoy Hotel, Monet had a view over the Thames towards Waterloo Bridge. Monet’s first layers of paint were very thin, the thicker areas were developing as he continued to add layers and rework the surface.
Monet captured a moment’s passing impression, which gave Impressionism its name. His trips to London in 1889, 1900, and 1901 seemed to fall always in the foggy season.
“Napoleon, during his campaign in Egypt” by Jean-Léon Gérôme depicts Napoleon Bonaparte as a general of the French Revolution on a camel during his Egyptian expedition.
Napoleon arrived in Egypt with his generals in 1798 and attempted to add this territory to France’s growing empire. The British defeated the French navy at the “Battle of the Nile,” one of the greatest naval disasters of all time.
The loss of the French Navy put an end to Napoleon’s dreams of expansion to Africa. The campaign ended in defeat for Napoleon, and the withdrawal of French troops from the region.
“Memory of the Garden at Etten” by Vincent van Gogh depicts the artist’s mother and sister. The garden refers to the parsonage garden at Etten, now Etten-Leur, in the Netherlands, where Vincent’s father, a pastor, had been appointed.
Vincent’s father, Theodorus van Gogh, had been assigned to Etten as a pastor. Vincent spent periods there, notably from Easter to Christmas 1881, when he returned to join his brother Theo, an art dealer.
This period at Etten represents the beginning of Vincent’s ten-year career as an artist. He had returned to Etten intending to set up a studio there.
However, that summer, Vincent became obsessed with his recently widowed cousin Kee Vos-Stricker, who had been invited to stay over the summer with her eight-year-old son Jan.
Vincent and Kee started taking pleasant walks together, and Vincent developed tender and romantic feelings.
Within the fortnight Vincent proposed marriage. She famously rebuffed him and quickly left for Amsterdam and never wanting to deal with him again.
“Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh is a watercolor on paper of the same composition as the previous oil painting. The complementary, contrasting colors bring a higher intensity to this work.
This watercolor version demonstrates Van Gogh’s effective use and increasing confidence in using pairs of complementary or contrasting colors.
Van Gogh later writes about the liveliness and interplay of the colors as: “a wedding of two complementary colors, their mingling, and opposition, the mysterious vibrations of two kindred souls.”
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is situated in the Rhône River delta, about 1 km east of the mouth of the Petit Rhône distributary. In 1888, Van Gogh made several paintings of the seascape and the town. At that time, Saintes-Maries was a small fishing village with under a hundred homes.
“Le Bassin du Jas de Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne depicts the pond at the Bastide du Jas de Bouffan which is a historic manor house in Aix-en-Provence, France.
The bastide was purchased by banker Louis-Auguste Cézanne, the father of famed painter Paul Cézanne, in 1859. In 1880, Paul Cézanne established a studio in the attic. After his father’s death, he lived in the manor with his mother.
Paul Cézanne created several paintings portraying the pool, gardens, and many of the available views from multiple different vantage points.
In this painting, the pool is shown in its idyllic form. The greenery provides the overall color scheme, and the harmony of the tones demonstrated his masterly grasp of color.
“Viscount Lepic and his Daughters Crossing the Place de la Concorde” by Edgar Degas depicts the cigar-smoking Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, his daughters, their dog, and a solitary man on the left at Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The Tuileries Gardens can be seen in the background, behind a stone wall. A large amount of negative space, the cropping, and how the figures are facing in random directions were influenced by photography.
Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic (1839 – 1889) was a French artist, archaeologist, and patron of the arts. He was Edgar Degas’s friend and was depicted in some eleven paintings and pastels.
Lepic experimented with etching and developed the technique of ‘variable etching’ (eau-forte mobile) were, by varying the ink on the plate, he was able to produce individual results at each printing.
Collections of Hermitage Museum
The Prehistoric Collection dated from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age and was excavated all over Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire.
Among them is a renowned collection of the art and culture of nomadic tribes of the Altai. The Caucasian exhibition includes a selection of Urartu artifacts from Armenia.
Egyptian and Mesopotamia Collection
The Egyptian collection occupies a large hall on the ground floor in the eastern part of the Winter Palace.
A collection of the culture of Ancient Mesopotamia, including Assyrian reliefs from Babylon, Dur-Sharrukin, and Nimrud, is located in the same part of the building.
The Classical Collection features Greek artifacts from the third millennium to fifth century BC, ancient Greek pottery, items from the Greek cities, Hellenistic sculpture, and jewelry, including engraved gems and cameos.
Roman art from the 9th to the second century BC, Roman marble and bronze sculpture and applied art from the first century BC – fourth century AD, including copies of Classical and Hellenistic Greek sculptures.
Western European Art Collection
The Western European Art collection includes European paintings, sculpture, and applied art from the 13th to the 20th centuries.
It is displayed on the first and second floors of the four main buildings. Drawings and prints are exhibited in temporary exhibitions.
Jewelry and Decorative Art Collections
The Jewelry and Decorative Art Collections feature western jewelry from the 4th millennium BC to the early 20th century AD.
A highlight of the collection is jewelry from the Pontic steppes, Caucasus, and Asia, in particular, Scythian and Sarmatian gold.
Italian Renaissance Collection
The Italian Renaissance Collection features artists such as Titian, Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci. In the eastern wing of the New Hermitage are paintings, sculptures, majolica, and tapestry from Italy of the 15th–16th centuries.
Italian and Spanish Art Collection
The Italian and Spanish Art Collection features Italian and Spanish canvases of the 15th -18th centuries, including Veronese, Giambattista Pittoni, Tintoretto, Velázquez, Goya, Murillo, Michelangelo, and El Greco.
Arms and Armor Collection
The Arms and Armor Collection features Western European weapons and armor from the 15th-17th centuries and parts of the Hermitage Arsenal collection.
Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque Collection
Devoted to Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque painting of the 17th century, from artists that including Van Dyck, Rubens and Rembrandt, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Frans Snyders, Gerard ter Borch, Jan van Goyen, and Gerard van Honthorst.
Russian Art Collection
The Russian culture collection hosts Russian art from the 11th-19th centuries.
Impressionist, and post-Impressionist Art Collection
The Impressionist and post-Impressionist art Collection, including works by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Alfred Sisley, Henri Morel, and Degas.
19 – 20th-Century Art Collection
Modern art 19 – 20th-Century Art features Matisse, Picasso, Malevich, Petrocelli, Kandinsky, Giacomo Manzù, Giorgio Morandi, and Rockwell Kent. Caspar David Friedrich.
Oriental Art Collection
The Oriental Art Collection features collections of Oriental art from China, India, Mongolia, Tibet, Central Asia, Byzantium, and Near East.
- Name: Hermitage Museum
- City: Saint Petersburg
- Country: Russia
- Type: Art and Culture Museum
- Established: 1754
- Location: 38 Palace Embankment, Dvortsovy Municipal Okrug, Saint Petersburg
Hermitage in Facts and Figures
- The Main Hermitage Museum Complex consists of the following:
- the Winter Palace (1754–1762)
- the Small Hermitage (1764 –1769)
- the Great (Old) Hermitage (1771–1787)
- the Hermitage Theatre (1783–1787)
- the New Hermitage (1842–1851)
- the Reserve House of the Winter Palace (1726–1742)
- The State Hermitage Museum inventory has over 3 million items, in the following categories:
- Numismatic Collection – over 1 million items
- Archaeological Artifacts – nearly 800 thousand items
- Graphical works – over 600 thousand works
- Applied Art – over 300 thousand works
- Photos – almost 60 thousand items
- Paintings – over 17 thousand
- Arms and Armory – approximately 14 thousand items
- Sculptures – over 12 thousand
- Documents – nearly three thousand
- Historical Technology – over 2 thousand items
- Rare books – over 340
- Printed materials – over 270
- Other Historical Items over 140 thousand.
- The Hermitage Museum is the most extensive art gallery in Russia and is among the largest art museums in the world. It has over 1 thousand rooms, and a walk of over 20 kilometers would be required to see all parts of the Hermitage.
- The Hermitage maintains about 50 cats to protect the items from rats and mice.
- The Winter Palace was once the official residence of the Romanov Tsars.
- The museum was found in 1764 when Catherine the Great bought a collection of 255 paintings from Berlin. This original collection can still be seen at the Hermitage.
Visiting the Hermitage Museum
The core of the collection is located in five connected buildings of a Hermitage architecture complex. For most visitors, the five buildings are a subtle distinction, and most people refer to the whole complex as the Winter Palace. The address of the main entrance is Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square. Entry to the museum is through the gate across the Great Courtyard. The oCourtyardlegal) address of the museum is 34, Dvortsovaya (Palace) embankment.
Tips for your Hermitage Visit
- Purchase your ticket online in advance because the ticket lines can be quite long.
- Wear comfortable shoes that will not damage parquet made of primary timber.
- Don’t touch the exhibits.
- Large bags and backpacks need to be left in the cloakroom.
- No drinking and eating inside the halls and galleries.
- All the bags are X-rayed.
- Dress appropriately.
- The nearest metro station to the museum is Admiralteyskaya. Also, the stations Nevsky prospect and Gostinny dvor are the next best alternatives.
- The café is located on the ground floor, with Internet access via Wi-Fi.
- Collect your Museums Map with your entrance ticket.
- Don’s try and see everything in one day. Focus on the highlights.
- Take a Moment to Recharge with a break for coffee, tea, and to eat; you’ll be able to enjoy your experience longer.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30-18.00; Wednesday, Friday: 10.30-21.00; Closed: Mondays, as well as January 1 and May 9
- The museum is closed on Mondays. Check the Museum website for the latest information on holiday closures and opening timings.
Essential Highlights of the Hermitage Museum
- The Gala Staircase
- The da Vinci Madonnas
- Works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian
- The Raphael Loggias
- The Rembrandt Collection
- The Pavilion Hall
- The Italian Fine art
- Malachite Room
- Peacock Clock
- Armorial Hall
A Virtual Tour of the Great Russian Museums
Map for the Hermitage Museum
A Journey through Russia’s iconic Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage Museum
“There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
Photo Credit: By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) (Own work) [FAL or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons