Monday, 25 January 2010

at the Russian court

I really don't know where to begin with this post. I was aware of the Hermitage opening in Amsterdam, but for some reason never ventured over to it. My Lord, I'm cursing myself for not going earlier. I've missed one exhibition, but luckily just caught the current one: At the Russian Court: Palace and Protocol in the 19th Century, by the skin of my teeth. It's incredible. Really. If you like fashion especially, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven there. I did.The photos above is of one of the main halls with about 25 clothing exhibits, but there were side halls which had even more. From ceremonial, to ball, to fancy dress, military uniforms, children's attire, it's all incredible.I can't begin to describe the decadence of the dresses and uniforms on display in particular. Gold metal-coated thread, lace, pearl beading, the embroidery, the designs, all just exquisite.
Aside form the excellent almost perfectly preserved clothing were wonderful oil paintings, with really interesting perspectives and lighting.... Watercolours that appear to emit light...
Beautiful portraits of the Tsars and Tsarinas, the royal family, and military heads.A wonderful room of games.
And some stunning jewels.

There's a lovely book with a DVD that goes with the exhibition also. Go see it.

Be warned though - the queues are INSANE. We arrived at 9.30am Saturday morning, with doors opening at 10am. We were part of the first 20 in the doors. When we came out, almost three hours later (you really need a decent amount of time to see it all, and we weren't moving slowly though the exhibition by any means), there must have been a good 600-person long line waiting to enter standing out in the cold. You cannot pre-buy or reserve tickets, the only thing to do is set the alarm early. And trust me, you won't regret it. Exhibition ends Janruary 31, 2010.

Hermitage Amsterdam is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 pm, Wednesdays to 8 pm. Amstel 51, Amsterdam. Telephone +31 (0)20 530 8751.

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