Posts tagged ‘russia’

December 16, 2010

Moscow impresses with its reverence for writers and the arts

[From “Moscow’s warm and poetic heart” published in the Toronto Star on December 9, 2010. Pictured below is a statue of Alexander Pushkin from the town near St. Petersburg that bears his name.]

MOSCOW — One of the great victims of the Cold War’s propaganda was the reputation of the Russian man and woman. Icy, serious, malicious, mechanical, soulless is what we were told about them. Arrive in Moscow and see flowers placed at the foot of statues erected in tribute to the nation’s writers, visit a classical music performance at the Bolshoi Theatre attended by people of all walks, learn about the conflicts endured and how this nation’s World War II memorial museum is decorated with 27,000 glass tears because it couldn’t hold 27 million to honour every life lost, and you will never again perceive Russians as anything but a people with heart; and one that’s perpetually mending at that.

read more »

Advertisements
December 3, 2010

Adoration for the Magnificent Hermitage

[Got a chance to visit St. Petersburg for a second time and just like my first time, the Hermitage mesmerized me. It one most awe-inspiring building. Here’s a story from the Toronto Star’s Grand Tour series on the museum and city.]

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA — Even if the Hermitage didn’t possess any paintings or sculptures, its walls alone would make it a place you have to see. The halls of the Winter Palace, the largest part of the complex, are laden with gold, malachite, silver, bronze, marble and ornate mouldings framing vaulted ceilings in this one-time dwelling of Catherine the Great. To stand in the airy armoury, surrounded by gilded pillars and hardly anyone is to be amazed by grandeur on an audacious scale.

Then, once you’ve taken in the walls, you can be mesmerized anew by what’s on them: Rembrandts, Da Vincis, Raphaels, Titians, Tiepolos, Monets, Picassos. The icons of art, whose names we all know and whose works we have seen in high school and university textbooks, are gathered on the banks of the Neva River in this museum founded in 1764. The Hermitage owns the largest collection of paintings in the world and has a total of more than 3 million pieces, only a small percentage of which are on display.

“Forget about what’s on the walls, look up and sometimes the rooms themselves are more amazing than the artwork,” says Eric Weiner, a student at Vassar University in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who is spending this semester in St. Petersburg studying art history and Russian culture.

Read more in the Toronto Star.