over 1,700 museums of all types — art, history, literature, music,
theater, science, and local lore. They receive a total of 75 million
visitors a year.
Perhaps, Russia’s best-known museums are the Hermitage and the
Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Tretyakov Gallery,
Museum of Fine Arts and the Historical Museum
Petersburg’s Hermitage is one of the world’s largest art
museums. It originated in 1764 as Catherine the Great’s private
collection, and in 1852 opened its doors to the public. The
Hermitage holds fine collections of prehistoric, ancient, medieval,
and Renaissance art, as well as of Russian art of the 8-19th
centuries. Outstanding examples of European art include works by the
Italian masters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Veronese,
collection of Flemish and Dutch painting, which includes dozens of
canvases by Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt, is famous worldwide.
Its Spanish collection has about two hundred paintings, including
works by El Greco, Velasquez, Zurbaran, and Ribera. Fine examples of
French painting, sculpture, and graphic art are also on display. The
Hermitage holds a total of three million artifacts of different eras
collection is housed in the Winter Palace, the magnificent winter
residence of the Imperial family, built in the 18th century in the
Baroque style by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
Museum houses the second most important,
after the Tretyakov Gallery, collection of Russian art.
Set up in 1895 in St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Palace, it exhibits
icons, paintings, and the richest collections of Russian sculpture,
graphic arts and crafts. In particular, it has a fine collection of
Russian art of the 18th and early 19th
centuries, including works of Rokotov, Levitsky, Borovikovsky,
Kiprensky, Venetsianov, Bryullov, Ivanov, and Fedotov. Some of the
best paintings by the 19th centurty
masters, such as Surikov and Repin, are also on display. The Soviet
art section has the biggest collections of works by Rylov,
Petrov-Vodkin, Golubkina, and Mukhina.