Monday, September 2, 2013

Alexander Viazmensky

We met up with Alexander Viazmensky at our hotel.  He took time away from mushroom season in the country to visit with us.  I love his happy mushrooms.

Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences

The Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a leading botanical institution in Russia, It is located on Aptekarsky Island in St. Petersburg, and is named after the Russian botanist Vladimir Leontyevich Komarov (1869-1945).

The institute hosts Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden as well as herbarium collections that house over seven million specimens of plants and fungi. The latter is the largest collection in Russia, and among the three largest in the world.

We got to see flora and fauna illustrations by Maria Sibylla Merian that had been mostly hidden from the public eye. During a trip to Amsterdam in 1719, Peter the Great encountered a collection (144 illustrations) of watercolors by a little-known female artist.  The tsar was entranced by the opulent color, exquisite detail and refined lines of the collection - pictures of flowers, plants, sea creatures and insects, each depicted with remarkable scientific accuracy.  Peter brought the watercolors back to St. Petersburg and with them opened Russia's first museum.  After Peter's death, the paintings were given to the Academy of Sciences, where they have resided ever since.

Maria Sibylla Merian's Work

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Hermitage is one of my most favorite museums in the world. The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

Hermitage Winter Palace
Of six buildings of the main museum complex, four, named the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and New Hermitage, are partially open to the public. The other two are the Hermitage Theatre and the Reserve House.

Grand Staircase


Wall Detail

Cupid and Psyche


Museum Feet at End of Day