What to see at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg: timetables, prices and advice

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Martí Micolau
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If you are thinking of organizing a trip to the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, you should definitely include theHermitage Museum, an architectural complex that houses the largest collection of paintings in the world.
The Hermitage is developed in four palaces which, originally, were part of the imperial palace of the families of the Romanov Tsars, until 1917, the year of the October Revolution. Now, it is one of the most visited museums worldwide. Let's find out together which are the works to see and all the information to better organize your visit.



Index

  1. What to see and how to visit the State Hermitage Museum
  2. The Red Room, Matisse
  3. The Lute Player, Caravaggio
  4. Madonna Benois, Leonardo da Vinci
  5. Lady in the Garden at Sainte-Adresse, Monet
  6. Composition VI, Kandinsky
  7. Woman with Fruit, Gauguin
  8. The Peacock Clock, James Cox
  9. Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt
  10. Dryad, Picasso
  11. White House at Night, Van Gogh
  12. Hours and prices
  13. Online tickets and guided tours
  14. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit the State Hermitage Museum

The museum houses more than 3 million works of art and the path to visit all the rooms is approx 24 kilometers. For this reason, we advise you to arrive prepared, to already organize an itinerary to follow in order to see everything that interests you and to dedicate at least one day to the visit. The main collection is located in the Main Complex, consisting of five connected buildings: the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the New Hermitage, the Grand Hermitage and the Hermitage Theater.

The entrance is located in the Piazza del Palazzo, number 2, and is accessed through a large iron door that gives access to a courtyard where you can find the ticket offices. The ticket also includes admission to other exhibition buildings: the General Staff Building, the Menshikov Palace and the Porcelain Museum. Keep in mind that the Main Complex will already keep you busy all day, but if you have time, these palaces and their collections are also worth a visit. In all this abundance, here are the 10 works to see at the Hermitage.



1 - The Red Room, Matisse

Without a doubt one of the most famous paintings by Matisse, you will find it exhibited in the "European Fine Art" collection. Made with the oil on canvas technique, the predominant color in this painting is red, used for the tablecloth and all the walls of the room in such a uniform way that it is difficult to recognize the different levels. The scene represented is that of a waitress intent on setting the table.

  • Author: Henri Matisse
  • Date: 1908
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

2 - The Lute Player, Caravaggio

One of the most famous paintings by Caravaggio. In the work you will see a young boy watching you through the canvas. On the table in front of him there are still lifes (the subject of studies and paintings by the author in subsequent years), including flowers, fruit, a violin and sheet music.

  • Author: Caravaggio
  • Date1595-1596
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

3 - Madonna Benois, Leonardo da Vinci

In this painting Leonardo da Vinci reports an intimate moment between a mother and her son: the Madonna, represented as a very young woman, holds the Child Jesus in her arms and hands him a small flower.


  • Author: Leonardo da Vinci
  • Date1478-1480
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil on panel transferred to canvas

4 - Lady in the Garden in Sainte-Adresse, Monet

This painting is one of the very first impressionist works of the famous painter Claude Monet. The painting "Lady in the garden at Sainte-Adresse" is the most important of all those that Monet painted during his stay with his cousin in Saint-Adresse, a series of landscapes of the garden of the estate where he was a guest.


  • Author: Claude Monet
  • Date: 1867
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

5 - Composition VI, Kandinsky

The compositions represent the highlight of Kandinsky's career, who was the creator of a new pictorial language: abstractionism. At the Hermitage you can admire one of the paintings from the series of compositions made by the painter, Composition VI. Furthermore, if you are a lover of abstractionism, you should know that the sketch of another composition, Composition V.

  • Author: Kandinsky
  • Date: 1913
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

6 - Woman with Fruit, Gauguin

This painting belongs to a series made by Gauguin after his first trip to Polynesia. The simple lifestyle and the beauty of nature inspired him to create these world-famous paintings. In the "Woman with fruit" a beautiful Polyneasian girl is represented with an exotic fruit in her hand. In the background there are three other women and all have their eyes turned to the viewer.


  • Author: Paul Gauguin
  • Date: 1893
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

7 - The Peacock Clock, James Cox

This beautiful watch it is the standout piece of the Little Hermitage. It was made in London by Cox and was creating by combining the knowledge of goldsmith art and mechanical engineering. Entirely in gilded bronze, a peacock, a rooster and an owl are represented in life size. Thanks to the mechanism inside, the three birds come alive in a dance at the stroke of every hour.


  • Author: James Cox
  • Date: about 1770
  • Collection: European Applied Art

8 - Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt

The painting is inspired by the parable of the prodigal son told in the Gospel according to Luke, also remembered as the "Parable of the merciful Father". The son, having spent all his fortunes and inheritance, returns home to his parents in search of forgiveness and finds his father's forgiveness.

  • Author: Harmensz Rembrandt
  • Date: about 1668
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

9 - Driade, Picasso

In the museum you will find many works by Picasso exhibited, including the Driade. In Greek antiquity, dryads were wood nymphs, and here Picasso transports his idea Driade to canvas. In the painting you can see the influence of the author's Cubist period, in the way he portrayed this woman in the woods.

  • Author: Pablo Picasso
  • Date: about 1908
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

10 - White House at Night, Van Gogh

This picture it is part of the series of paintings that Van Gogh made in the last months of his life, when he moved to live in the countryside in Auvers-sur-Oise, not far from Paris. The work was made shortly before his suicide, The painter represents the house as a prison, with red windows that recall the color of blood.

  • Author: Vincent Van Gogh
  • Date: about 1890
  • Collection: European Fine Art
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas

Hours and prices

  • Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 am - 18:00 pm, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 am - 21:00 pm, closed on Mondays, January 1st and May 9th
  • Best time to avoid queues: the best way to avoid the queue is to buy the ticket online. Otherwise we recommend arriving at the ticket office one hour before opening, especially in the summer
  • 700 RUB (approximately € 9,60) and includes entrance to the Main Complex, the General Staff Building, Menshikov Palace and the Porcelain Museum. The ticket to visit just one of the museums between the General Staff Building, the Winter Palace, the Menshikov Palace and the Porcelain Museum costs 300 RUB (approximately € 4,00). Additionally, a two-day ticket can be purchased for $ 23,95 (approximately € 21,00).
  • Online ticket: Tour of the Hermitage with priority access from € 36,17 per person
  • Free: pensioners with Russian citizenship, under 18s, students (with appropriate document), members of the International Council for Museums. In addition, the museum is free for everyone on the third Thursday of the month, March 8, May 18 and December 7

Online tickets and guided tours

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: the ideal would be to reach the entrance at least an hour earlier, especially in summer, the period of maximum turnout. However, we recommend that you buy your ticket online in order to avoid any queues.
  2. Buy the city card: if you are interested in visiting other museums or attractions in the city, you can buy the Сity Pass, which also includes the State Hermitage Museum, and save on admissions and transport. For more info: CityPass St. Petersburg for 2-5 days
  3. Priority ticket: buy your ticket online to avoid the queue at the ticket office. Tour of the Hermitage with priority access from € 36,17 per person
  4. Watch out for restrictions: All bags are x-rayed at the museum entrance. Please note that it is not allowed to enter the museum with food or drinks in your bag or backpack, you will find a café where you can buy what you need on the ground floor. If you have large backpacks and winter coats you will have to leave them in the wardrobe, they cannot be taken into the exhibition rooms. You can take pictures without flash in the permanent exhibitions, while it is prohibited in the temporary exhibitions.
  5. Minimum time: as we said, the museum is extremely large. To visit it will take a long time, so our advice is to dedicate a full day to the Hermitage.
  6. Audioguide: on the ground floor, in the main gallery, and on the second floor, in the main staircase, you can rent an audio guide, also in Italian.

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: is located in the heart of the city, on the river bank. Easy to reach on foot if you are staying in the center, 10 minutes walk from Piazza della Borsa and 5 minutes from the Palazzo dello Stato Maggiore - Get directions
  • By bus: lines number 7, 10, 24, 191
  • By metro: The closest station to the museum is Admiral'tejskaja, where the purple line 5 passes

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

The Winter Palace was built between 1754 and 1762 at the behest of Queen Elizabeth Petrovna on a project by the architect Rastrelli. The creation of the collections that we still find inside today began in 1768 thanks to Catherine II, who understood the link between cultural prestige and political prestige of an empire. And so, in just one year, six hundred works by Flemish, Dutch and French painters entered the palace. Over the years, the number of collections increased dramatically up to those that can be visited today.

In the Hermitage three million works of art are exhibited, including paintings, coins, statues, pieces of furniture and objects. And this brings us to a study carried out on the museum itself: it has been calculated that if you spent a minute observing every single piece on display it would take at least ten years to see everything. So even though there are three million visitors every year, no one has ever seen exactly the entire collection.

Another little curiosity: in the museum you will find several cats, called "cats of the Hermitage"They were brought into the palace by Tsarina Elizabeth in the mid-th century, with the aim of keeping the rats away. They have never left since.


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