Visual Art

Museums, Painting and Sculpture

from Gregory Melle's Year 2000 Trip
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This page covers visual arts that I saw in the year 2000. In particular, it includes Russian and French photos from my round-the-world trip. Other trip photos are found at my Trip 2000 page.
I spent only three days in Saint Petersburg. It is a large city with maddening subways, friendly people and lovely old buildings. It also has an excess of culture. I first visited the Michailovsky palace museum. This is the foremost museum for art created by Russians. St Petersburg Mickailovsky Museum
The museum is in a princely palace in the centre of the old city. The colours are lively and the staircases imposing. There is much iconic religious art -- which did not thrill me -- some grand 19th century works and some fine early Modern art. Some of the finest works are unfortunately in rooms where photography is not allowed or they are covered by shiny glass. St Petersburg Mickailovsky gallery view
I was impressed by the works of Valentin Serov. He mastered a variety of styles. These works were made within a few years and are shown in a single room. Mickailovsky museum gallery view
Mickailovsky Museum Serov painting 1 Mickailovsky Museum Serov painting 2 Mickailovsky Museum Serov painting 3

The next day spent at the Hermitage. It is immense and rambling. It is located between the grand Palace Square and the River Neva. It probably has the finest art collection to be found anywhere. The palace collection was stored here under the direction of Katherine the Great who continues to stare over the vast square.
Palace Square troup Palace Square wide view Catherine the Great
There are a few Picassos and many Van Gough's. Hermitage Museum Picasso painting Hermitage Museum guard
There were many guards but most seemed bored with their surroundings. Hermitage Museum - Alfred De Dreux painting Hermitage Pug Dog painting
The rooms were richly decorated. The first one features golden walls while the second featured about 20 Rembrandt paintings. Hermitage palace golden room Hermitage Rembrandt paintings
The Da Vinci room features wonderful decorations and two Da Vinci paintings. (Unlike the French museums that I visited, the crowds here were sparse). Hermitage daVinci room Hermitage daVinci Madonna
The furniture and furnishings were as impressive as the art. I would have like to have had more time for visiting the royal apartments. Hermitage Furnishings Hermitage library
Hermitage living area Hermitage Imperial desk Hermitage writing desk

The week after leaving Russia I visited Paris. The Louvre was as I remembered with some modern improvements. Louvre Pyramid entrance
This museum as one of the finest collection of ancient art. The Sumerian art is unrivalled. Greek sculptures such as La Victoire de Samothrace or Venus de Milo may be cliches but they remain superb. (The museum also has vast collections from Rome and Egypt).
Louvre Sumerian art Victory of Samothrace Venus de Milo
Other familiar art abounds. The next picture shows me and Mona Lisa. She is hiding behind many inches of glass. Mona Lisa
Larger paintings are from Delacroix, David and Rubens. The Louvre has vast hallways and paintings. Victory Leading the People
Louvre hallways Louvre paintings Rubens paintings

I also visited the relatively new Musée d'Orsay. This museum was originally a railway station for trains to Orleans. The plaza outside is a popular meeting place, while the inside retains its Art Nouveau splendour. This museum contains French art from about 1850 to 1950. Paris Musee d'Orsay Group Paris Musee d'Orsay main hall
The Rodin collection was closed off during my visit. I found many other sculptures of people having fun. That seemed a common theme in late 19th century art. Carpeau Denys Puech Maillol
This is called A Nymph Collecting Fauns. She is having fun but they do not seem so happy to be collected. Nymph and fauns Nymph and fauns
This museums has rooms of Van Goughs, Gaugins, Monets, etc. The first view is a study in black, white and grey. The second is a Van Gough room. Whistlers Mom
Van Gough Room Van Gough self portrait
There were also many works from Renoir and Degas. Renoir Degas

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