No Horsing Around at the Hermitage

Horses in front of the Winter Palace/Hermitage in St. Petersburg

Bring your best pair of walking shoes to Russia if you plan on visiting the the State Hermitage of St. Petersburg. The complex is one of the largest and oldest museums of art and culture in the world. With over 3 million paintings and sculptures, it’s impossible to soak it all in in a day. Rather, pick a wing or a floor that best suits your artistic persuasion and appreciate the particular paintings, drawings, sculptures and antiquities until dusk.

Jack, Isaac, Tarek and myself heeded the advice of Catherine the Great, who started the art collection in 1764: “Praise loudly. Blame softly.” We praised the vast collection of post-impressionist art loudly but blamed softly a tyrannical female monitor for falsely accusing us of using our camera’s flash.

However, if I had used a flash, how does that harm a painting? A built-in camera flash from 8-10 feet away harms the pigments of a painting? I’m dubious.

Outside the Winter Palace (where the Hermitage resides), a horse-pulled troika had no fear of my flash. In fact, I think she smiled right back at me.