The souvenir fair is right behind the church, I mentioned it in my first post about Russia.
I am a big sucker for Russian souvenirs, and just when I think I have enough they come up with new ones. Such nice little trinkets, it reminds me of Christmas decorations, and they really have been playing up the Christmas theme lately with a bunch of new souvenirs.
Of course there are the old ones.. Faberge eggs, and lacquer boxes.
Lacquer boxes, when done in their true form are fine works of art in miniature, and the most expensive ones you will appreciate best with a magnifying glass.
Because Russia never went through the traditional industrial revolution, a lot of art remained the same. Miniatures were very popular all through Europe at one time, but it was all wiped out in the industrial revolution, leaving Russia with many unique traditions and art forms.
The communist revolution did one more thing for these fancy boxes – when it was decreed that everyone must be employed, the Priests had to find something to do very quickly. So they started painting enamel boxes, slipping subtle religious imagery into the scenes as much as possible.
Some of the work on these boxes is so detailed, that it is painted with the single hair from the tail of a squirrel, and sometimes paint was applied with the tooth of a wolf.
The Winter Palace is also the Hermitage museum. I can’t even begin to describe the greatness of the art contained within the walls, well, because I know nothing of art.
It was opened as a museum during Communism. During the Siege of Leningrad in WWII the staff were worried about the works of art, and buried them in the basement. The Hermitage staff lived out the siege in the winter palace, eating a mixture of glue to stay alive. They left the frames on the walls, in remembrance of the works that hung there, and I heard they conducted a couple of imaginary tours, pointing at each frame and describing in great detail the art they once contained.