Art enthusiasts visiting St. Petersburg will already have the State Russian Museum at the top of their itinerary and the prestigious gallery doesn’t disappoint, with an incredible 400,000 exhibits dating back as early as the 10th century. This is the world’s largest and finest museum of Russian Art, as well as Russia’s first state-owned art museum, and walking its halls is like taking a journey through the country’s art history.
The museum was opened in 1898 inside the grand Mikhailovsky Palace and its collection has steadily grown, amassing a large number of private art collections and religious art confiscated during the Russian Revolution. Today, the extensive exhibitions are housed in a complex of palatial buildings including the Benois Wing, the Stroganov Palace, St Michael's Castle, the Marble Palace and the Mikhailovsky Gardens. Highlights of the permanent collection include iconic paintings like Bruillov's “The Last Day of Pompeii” and Repin's “The Barge Haulers,” as well as works by 20th-century Avant-garde artists like Ravel Filonov, Kazimir Malevich and Vasily Kandinsky.
The State Russian Museum is housed in Mikhailovsky Palace in central St. Petersburg and can be reached on foot from the Neva waterfront or the nearby Hermitage Museum. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and adult admission costs R300.