Location: Palace Embankment, Dvortsoyy Municipal Okrug, Central District, Saint Petersburg, Russia
State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage is the largest public museum in Russia and home to one of the greatest art collections in the world. Russian empress Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage in 1764 as a museum for the royal court. The holdings originally consisted of Western European works of art that she purchased from private collections. These were housed in a private gallery called the Small Hermitage that was connected to the Winter Palace, the vast, ornate winter home of the Russian tsars. The tsars who succeeded Catherine substantially increased the collections, which expanded into the Old Hermitage, another private gallery adjoining the Winter Palace. The buildings comprising the Hermitage were rebuilt after a fire in the Winter Palace in 1837. The museum opened to the public in 1852 and became public property known as the State Hermitage Museum in 1917, following the Russian Revolution.