The Ultimate Easter Egg

Aside from the restaurants, parks, churches and palaces the Fabergé Museum topped my things to do list in St. Petersburg, Russia. Of course I wanted to see the ultimate Easter Egg. This collection has 9 of the 43 Imperial Easter Eggs that still exists, the jewelry made 50. These Imperial Eggs were original in the private collection of Malcom Forbes and were bought IMG_2070at auction for an undisclosed price but estimates say the costs was at least 100 million dollars.

The Armory Museum at the Kremlin in Moscow has 10, the largest collection of Imperial Eggs, but if you include eggs commissioned by the wealthy, the museum in St. Petersburg has the most. A total of 65 eggs were made by Fabergé. IMG_2087

IMG_2116Here the first egg, the “Hen Egg” that was produced in 1885, is on display. Alexander III gave this egg to the Empress. She was so delighted by the surprise inside,  a gold yolk and inside that a gold hen, that this gift started the Easter tradition.

One of my favorite eggs is the 1897 Coronation Egg. The surprise inside is a replica of the eighteenth-century imperial coach that carried Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation. When the originalIMG_2124 carriage was being restored in 2002 the surprise from this egg was studied to help restores complete their work with precision.

No trip to St. Petersburg would be complete without a visit to another museum,

The State Hermitage. As expected the former palace was packed with herds of tourists following their guides but once I started my audio tour I barely IMG_3219 2noticed they were there. There was so much to see , my attention was constantly divided between the  walls in grand rooms and the art that adorn them. The art collection originated with Catherine the Great and today it is one of the few IMG_3183museums in the world that owns originals by Leonardo da Vinci. Housing 3, 102,917 items, 2 paintings by Leonardo da Vinci’s and the only sculpture by Michel Angelo in Russia, “The Crouching Boy,” are just a few of the highlights.

Personally I think this painting by an unknown 15-century artist is worth sharing. The painting of the Last Judgment was gifted to Peter IMG_3177the Great. Paintings like these were commonly hung in town halls. The wooden panel’s fame says, “He who is elected to the council should take care not to lose his soul. May poor and rich, stranger and friend be before him, men he would judge without falling into sin.” A reminder that those doing the judging will one day themselves face ultimate judgment.