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I've always loved the masters, particularly the great artists of the Impressionism and post-Impressionism periods. So I was jazzed when our recent cruise on the ocean ship Viking Sun spent two days in St. Petersburg, Russia.
We took plenty of photos at Peterhof Palace and elsewhere, but perhaps our top experience came at the Hermitage. It's a huge, sprawling complex, and we were lucky that Viking's knowledgeable guides steered us away from the main museum (where there was a three-hour line) and toward the less crowded Hermitage Impressionism Collection in a building across the way.
The collection contains masterworks by Monet, Picasso, Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir, Matisse and other names you may recognize. Tip: Don't dawdle with the lesser works at the beginning of the tour — we ran out of time and had to rush through the final half-dozen rooms, which were nothing less than stunning.
We liked the fact that the museum had lots of light, unobtrusive ushers and the pace was unrushed. Unlike a lot of museums today, photography was permitted, so I spent some time capturing some of the amazing works with my Canon 5D and then color-correcting them. Enjoy the 28 photos above!