St. P #6 – Hermitage

This morning, as a last treat, we head for the Hermitage.  It would take seven full days to stand in front of each piece for a minute, and that doesn’t begin to account for the architecture around you, the grandness that puts even Versailles to shame, now harnessed to art.  We head for the Renaissance, cut through to Rembrandt (‘The Prodigal Son’ – just amazing light and faces, a series of portraits oif elders, full of sad confidence, as well as the vandalized and restored ‘Danae’), and then feast on the impressionists.

Matisses, Cezannes, and Rousseaus with no glass to protect them (though I did set off an alarm when my nose got too close to the brushstrokes), a room full of Gaugin, a wall full of Van Gogh, all eaten too fast, gorging the sensibilities.  A painter I didn’t know, Valtat., bridges impressionism and pointillism in a wholly original way.  A Soutine self-portrait.  Perhaps my favorite – as I had never seen any – were Picasso’s whimsical pottery – technically sketchy, but artistically so much fun.

I had to go back to see ‘Harmony in Red’ again – it’s the real thing, not a reproduction, and his dancing circle, and the Valtat, and the Rousseau tiger, and the Cezanne mountain road, and…

I almost missed my plane.


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