St. Petersburg, III - more of the royal treatment

Dear friends and family, and future friends,

The Hermitage continues:

This lovely fabric is pretty enough, especially when you realize it is made by hand with silk threads that look about as fine as spiderwebs. The design looks identical on each side. The curator told us that the young girls who made these were known to lose their eyesight. So in a somewhat warped sense of charity, at least to our present-day values, a home was set up to take care of these women when they could no longer see or see well. The value of these weavings was astronomical. I believe the curator said that they were worth the price of a palace (then), but it seems hard to believe now. Did I hear that right?

Here's a detail

The curator's seal to show who last opened and possibly removed or breathed upon the precious contents of this wardrobe.

Crossing the courtyard from the main palace of the Hermitage to the new contemporary wing. Don and I would later cross this courtyard many times as our apartment is one and a half blocks away, on the same street as the Hermitage.

That is the ever-present photographer (very unobtrusive), a Hermitage curator, our translator (Nikolai), Sheldon (Paula's grandson), Paula, Sammy (Paula's traveling companion and hairdresser) and Andrew.

The man in what Paula noticed was an extremely expensive hand-stitched off-white jacket with handmade buttonholes is the head of the new contemporary branch of the Hermitage. He has just asked Andrew to sign his book.

Will he break out in song? No, holding his autographed book in hand, he is pausing for breath in the middle of a lengthy speech, translated by our faithful Nikolai.

We are in a beautiful old building across the plaza from the main Hermitage museum. It has been updated and modernized in the way that buildings can be in Europe. You have got to have an old building to start with. The Director said that they sometimes hold concerts here and set up chairs on the steps. I don't believe any of the determined, but becoming a little exhausted, travelers would have found this on our own.

Admiring an awesome Kiefer.

Each taking his turn.

We admired other paintings also, Kandinsky with unidentified curator.

Art satiated.
From Russia with Love,

Era and Don