The first Hermitage I visited was Andrew Jackson’s mansion near Nashville, TN built 1819-1821. No pictures allowed.

The second was an Arts & Crafts house built by William and Florence Sloane near Norfolk, VA in 1908. No pictures allowed.

This post is about the one in St. Petersburg (Russian Federation). It is a series of buildings including the Winter Palace (the former state residence of the Russian emperors), the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theatre and the Auxiliary House.

The collection of the State Hermitage Museum includes more than three million works of art and artifacts of the world’s culture. And you’re allowed to take pictures! It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. It is a bit overwhelming. Italian, Spanish, French, Flemish and Dutch collections. Rumor has it there might be some Russian art in there, too. There was a fair amount of furniture but our guide was a woman with an agenda and a timetable to keep. I took what pictures I could and hope it’s enough. We started with Italian, moved on to French and then Spanish and lots more. I tried panoramic shots and was pleased with the results. Two unintentional videos at the end. I could remove them but they work.

The last few pictures are some scenes from around St. Petersburg. If I were a better person, I would remember what they were.

The whole set is a bit over the top but fascinating. Nothing but the best of the best.

Click to see all 88 photos in the Hermitage set on Flickr

Click to see all 88 photos in the Hermitage set on Flickr

This one picture caught my eye. It’s purported to be from Carpintería Populares’s* first Woodworking in Spain in the 17th century. I believe it is a session on sharpening.

Sharpening session. From left: David Charlesworth, Ron Herman, Frank Klausz and Roy Underhill.

Sharpening session. From left: David Charlesworth, Ron Herman, Frank Klausz and Christopher Schwarz.

Gratuitous Pontification

As a person who cares about words, I am annoyed by the easy use of the word “awesome” over the past few years. Overuse or misuse of a word diminishes its meaning. The Grand Canyon is awesome. A clearance sale at H & M, not awesome.

Hermitage – awesome.

*Popular Woodworking en español