The State Hermitage Museum
Famous for the astonishing quantity and quality of the artistic, historical and cultural heritage that it preserves within it, the Stata Ermitage Museum houses almost 3 million works of art created by the greatest masters of all time (by Filippo Lippi, Leonardo, Titian, Giorgione, Caravaggio, Rubens, Velasquez, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Tiepolo and Canova a Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso), as well as very valuable goldsmith works, furnishing objects, costumes and porcelain.
The Museum was born by the will of Catherine II who, in a building adjacent to the Winter Palace, had a good retreat built, a "hermitage", in which to collect the paintings she was gradually buying, especially in Europe. Very few were the elect admitted to admire the works: everyone was required to enter without sword and hat, renounce social rank, undertake not to touch or break anything, speak in a low voice and never yawn. Offenders would have had a curious punishment: drinking water.
The first nucleus of the Tsarina's collection (and of the museum) dates back to 1764, when Catherine, snatching it from Frederick II of Prussia, bought 225 Flemish and Dutch paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernest Gotzkowski, including the famous Portrait of a man with glove by Frans Hale. Thanks to the mandate given personally to the Russian ambassadors in Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and London to search for new works for his collection, the collection grew very quickly.