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Photographer's Note

Saint-Petersburg on the Neva River is Russia's most European city. Northern, arty and vibrant. It is a great cultural destination with at least two world class museums: the Hermitage and the Russian Museum.

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The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. As one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, 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 Hermitage is an enormous Louvre-like museum, so you'd better choose what you want to see. Personally, I find the Hermitage's collection of French 19th and 20th century paintings most impressive.

This picture shows one of the Antwerp rooms, with lots of paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and co. They are among the most lavishly decorated rooms in the Hermitage.

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ANTWERP AND PAINTING

Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens were the key players of Antwerp's 17th century art scene. Rubens is the most famous of the three, but Van Dyck is a lot better. The Hermitage has a superb Van Dyck autoportrait on show.

Other famous painters from Antwerp include:
- Joachim Patinir and Quinten Massijs (15th-16th century),
- the underrated Henri De Braekeleer (19th century),
- Eugeen Van Mieghem (early 20th century)
- Jozef Peeters (20th century pioneer of abstract art)

These days, Antwerp's two grand senior artists are:
- Fred Bervoets
- Panemarenko
(even though the latter decided to move to the countryside a couple of years ago)

Three noticeable contemporary Antwerp artists are:
- Luc Tuymans
- the all-round artist Jan Fabre
- Sam Dillemans (my favourite)

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square crop in tribute to Malevich, who - unlike tsar Peter the Great - did NOT visit Antwerp :)

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1541 W: 34 N: 2212] (13546)
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