Tag Archives: Hidden Treasures

Connected in time and space…part 17


Still haunted by the illusive Hidden Treasures – the French Impressionist paintings – brought to the Soviet Union after World War II, hidden away for the last fifty years in the Hermitage, we find ourselves again at the ticket window; the same response to our inquiry:  a vague wave of the hand toward the Jordan Staircase.   Again we walk the corridors of the vast former Winter Palace of the Tsars; this time we are more focused……..an easel in the hallway; poster board with the universal symbol for ‘no photos allowed’, and a few unidentifiable words…….  Entering, we find them:  the 74 masterpieces by – Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Pisarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin, Cezanne, Degas and others.  All displayed on simple white background, they take our breath away, knowing these paintings have not been seen for fifty years, and before that by only a few when lent from private collections to public exhibitions.

the following examples taken from ‘Hidden Treasures Revealed’ published in 1995, speak for themselves…………










I was not to see Rosalyn again.  A brief good bye on the telephone – she still cannot understand why we cannot stay for the rescheduled concert.


From my travel journal Saturday, July 8:  “it is my nature to feel a finality each time I leave a faraway place; to wonder if I will ever return, to know that it will not be the same even if I do.  And so we lift off from Russian soil,  feeling as though the lens of our experience has zoomed in over field and roads, taken in the magic of an exotic city, and now pulls away leaving a sense of melancholy to replace the anticipation of arrival.”

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Connected in time and space…part 15

Having somewhat recovered from the initial shock of learning that we have traveled nearly six thousand miles to attend a concert that is now to take place on July 10, the day after our return home………..(see part 14),


I called Rosalyn.  Arriving at her room, I find her much diminished, wrapped chin to toe in a down robe with an ice pack under her arm.  In pain from being ‘brutalized by the masseuse’; distraught:  ‘I have always been able to go on’.  She seems lost in her robe and her misery.  The Russian sun, which will not set, slants in through the sheer curtains pulled across the window.  I make us each a cup of tea; we commiserate about her plight.  Since David is busy seeing to the rearranging of schedules made necessary by the what has transpired, she asks that I retrieve a menu from each of the six restaurants in the hotel.  She makes her dinner selection; I arrange, with some language difficulty, for delivery to her room, and at her request, sit with her while she eats.

Meanwhile, David has made contact asking us to meet him, along with Sergei, the translator assigned to Rosalyn, for cocktails in the hotel bar.  We meet, decide to have dinner in the Bierstube in the hotel……………wonderful comfort food, the vodka flows freely………….fascinating conversation regarding the state of the Russian nation post USSR.



Although devastated by the rescheduling of Rosalyn’s concert, we are consoled by the anticipation of our visit to the Hermitage.


The following morning we set out, walking through the triumphal double arch, we see the Hermitage in the distance –


 across the Palace Square, the Alexander Column – the tallest in the world – dwarfed by the monumentality of its surroundings.


The Hermitage – former Winter Palace of the tsars – is an incredibly impressive edifice – so hard to imagine that what lies within can compare to the building itself.  Inconceivably, my imagination is outstripped by reality…….artifacts of all kinds, jewelry, porcelain. gilded furniture, coaches of the tsars,


the huge Rembrandt – Abraham with knife raised to obey God’s order to sacrifice his son Isaac, his hand stayed by an angel – made me weep


and again the massive canvas by Rembrandt – Return of the Prodigal Son – more tears


(Rembrandt images via the internet)

After having inquired at the ticket window about the Hidden Treasures – again the language barrier – we are still looking for the promised exhibit of the Impressionist masterpieces brought to the Soviet Union after World War II……….  We’ve been sent up the Jordan Staircase,


my western mind expecting to find a high profile display – billed as a great revelation, another reminder of the Holocaust, an event in itself appealing to our sense of outrage and of the dramatic.   We expect to stumble upon a well identified area containing the exhibit.  We are sorely disappointed!  Saturated by what we have seen, and frustrated by what we have not seen – we decide to move on……..

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Connected in time and space…part 14

Anxious to explore St. Petersburg, we walk toward the Neva River on Nevsky Prospect, crossing over the Fontanka on Anichkov Bridge,


passing nameless buildings in need of attention and restoration,


as well as coming upon some of the most beautifully recognizable landmarks:

St. Isaac’s Cathedral



The Church on Spilled Blood


Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral


The Winter Palace / Hermitage


with its wondrous collection of art, and the current exhibition of the impressionist masterpieces being shown publicly for the first time since World War II

     –  we will explore here tomorrow  –


We return, with great anticipation, to the hotel in late afternoon to rest and dress for Rosalyn’s concert at the Philharmonia with festivities to follow later in the evening.  Unlocking the door to our room we find two envelopes pushed under the door…….


the first note reads:


why would she want us to call, when we have been instructed not to approach her before the performance????

the second envelope holds the explanation:


We are scheduled to leave St. Petersburg on the 8th,  with overnight in Stockholm, returning to Santa Barbara on July 9!!!

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