|Below the pillars, looking up|
|Going up the central stairs|
|Ceiling in a blue room...|
|Chandelier in the Assembly Room|
|a gold room|
|a white room|
|the small throne room|
|Ceiling in the Malachite Room|
|Ceiling in the Boudoir|
|Looking down from the second floor...|
|cleaning up behind the tourists|
Housecleaning. Yep. The building is stunning, but I don't know how they can possibly have enough people (or resources) to do the work necessary to maintain the place. The small throne room, for example, was totally covered with silver. Having done all those silver smithing courses, i can appreciate the dull sheen of tarnished silver, but can only imagine what the room would look like if the silver were polished. But who is going to have the time/resources to do the polishing?!
Anyways, I was torn between being overwhelmed by the beauty of the Hermitage, and being overwhelmed by the sheer imperial excess of it all (and thinking about the deprivations that would have been necessary to produce such a place of luxuriant excess).
Still not sure what to really think about it. It was a mind-bender.