Arting it up

Theme #2: Art. I visited a lot of art museums in Russia, not least because it was so cold and wet and my shoes so insufficiently waterproof that I just needed to be inside for a couple of hours sometimes. I took a lot of pictures, too, because I couldn’t quite make up my mind about the photo fee policy in Russia. In most of the museums I visited, the photo permit was as much or more than the actual ticket price itself, but then many of the museums didn’t actually seem to enforce the permit rule: you were supposed to wear a little sticker with a camera on it to indicate that you had paid for the photo permit, but I saw plenty of people wandering around the State Tretyakov in Moscow taking photos with no such sticker, and especially at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, which is probably so packed that nobody can actually enforce the sticker policy.

The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

So I ended up actually purchasing photo permits at probably about 50% of the museums I visited, then just took photos at the rest of them and waited for someone to yell at me. The New Tretyakov guards seemed to be kind of on to me but never quite caught me in the act. I figured my exorbitant photo fees at 50% of the museums covered my photo fees at the other 50%.

But now I have all these photos of art, and I feel like I should do something with them, so here’s the photo dump. (NB: I’m not sure whether posting photos of art on my blog violates the non-commercial aspect of the amateur photography permit, but it’s not like I’m making money off of this blog. And thumbnails of most of these are available on the gallery websites anyway. I guess I will get a bloody horse head in my bed from the Russian art mafia or something if I’m really in trouble.)


I forgot to take my notebook out of my bag before I checked it, so I couldn’t write down what all of these paintings actually were. I was going to take the time to look up, but that’s just going to take too long, so I’ll just group them by theme.


Sprawling canvasses

Skulls and dead people


Peasants are weird

Sculpture, etc.



I ended up really liking the New Tretyakov; I just enjoyed its layout and feel as a museum.

I actually did write down all the artists and titles of the paintings I photographed, which I’m glad to have, but I’m going to post them as a slideshow here, partly for ease and partly because I enjoyed the whole collection, and the slideshow seems to capture the collective aspect.

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I posted a lot of the photos of the Winter Palace itself already in my FB album, so I’ll just do another slideshow here of some of the objects, mosaics, and paintings I found picture-worthy (a couple are duplicates from FB):

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The Hermitage really is overwhelming. I spent four hours there and barely saw a fraction of it – skipped entire geographical regions of art.

And that’s my art-themed photo essay on my spring break in Russia. Stay tuned: still two more of these posts to come – Russia’s a big place and lots of shit went down there.


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