Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The art of an empire

I went to the Hermitage Museum last night, the former residence of the Russian Tsars and now one of the largest and oldest art galleries and museums in the world.

From 10 p.m. until just before midnight, I joined 500 other invited guests as part of the Business Leadership Forum on a “white night” tour of the museum courtesy of IBM. The tour took in the collections in five of the six buildings on the Hermitage campus.

The collection was stunning: two paintings of the Madonna and the Christ Child by Leonardo da Vinci (he only did a total of ten paintings in his life), including one done when he was 19 and the other done when he was approximately 50; a room full of Rembrandt's religious scenes and portraits; an extensive collection of smaller Rodin sculptures; several exquisite Monets, CĂ©zannes, van Goghs, and Gauguins; and 29 Picasso paintings, which were mostly from his Blue Period; and one of the deepest collections of Matisses in the world.

We missed several collections, such as the assortment of Fabergé jewelery. Still, it was an amazing, amazing night.

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