The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg has a great collection of art by Henri Matisse - a good reason to go there again and again

The Red Room.
Sirpa Pääkkönen

For me one reason to return to Hermitage in Saint Petersburg again and again is Henri Matisse.

When I was very young, I watched his paintings in art books and admired his bright and joyful colours and strong shapes. Emotions spread. Matisse gave me happiness and joy.

When I very many years later stand in front of Matisse’s paintings in the Hermitage I can feel the same emotions which I felt as a young girl. That’s why art is so powerful.

Portrait of Lydia Deletorskaya.
St. Petersburg's Hermitage has one of the world's finest collections of  French artist Matisse's (1869-1954) art. A couple of years ago, the collection was moved from the main building to the General Staff Building  at the Palace Square, where the magnificent spaces for the museum's impressionist art, the 1850s, and the changing exhibitions, were renovated.

stunning paintings are enough for more than one room. The Hermitage’s earliest works by Henri Matisse date from the end of the nineteenth century. Blue Pot and Lemon and Fruit and Coffee-Pot demonstrate his interest in Impressionism. He studied the effect of light on an object.
At the beginning of the new century Matisse got interested in Paul Gauguin whose works you can also see in the Hermitage.

Matisse’s colors changed brighter and bolder with strong contrasts.
The style called Fauvism was to be born. Matisse said that Fauves took a great deal of from the Impressionists, but Impresionists had found their colour scheme in nature “while I invent it by myself”.

So in the Hermitage you really can admire many colorful paintings by Matisse like The Dance (1910), Music (1910), The Red Room (1908) and Seville Still Life (1910). Besides there are very many other still lives, portraits and landscapes.

And what else. The fourth floor in the General Staff Building of the Hermitage is full of world famous artists’ works: Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Rodin, Cézanne, Gaugain, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Picasso.

The Hermitage possesses one of the largest collections of French paintings from the second half of the nineteenth centery and the beginning of twentieth. Almost all the museum’s masterpieces of Impressionism. Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism come from the private collections of two art-patrons Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. They were rich businessmen and keen on French art like many others in Russian by that time.


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