The single ultimate argument to visit Russia is the Hermitage in St.Petersburg. If Russia sells its contents to Qatar or China, it can buy out all of its neighbours without firing a single shot, and restore the Soviet Union to its former glory (minus the Hermitage, of course). Each room inside it is a treasure trove worth of a stand-alone gallery.
Take one of Matisse rooms.
The Dance takes one of the walls.
The opposite wall displays the Music.
There’s a half-dozen other major paintings scattered around, but just these two could easily fetch a billion dollars.
Now look at the frame.
It is a frayed base board holding together a $500-million painting.
I wonder if the director of the Hermitage should be sacked on the spot, or promoted to the Deputy Minister of Culture (Contemporary art department) for the inordinate feat of not giving a damn about the past.
Original research on Matisse (if you missed it):
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