I Could Not Believe This Was Happening To Me
My family thinks I'm a little too obsessed with art.
I duck into an art museum or gallery every chance I get. I love to buy art books and read articles about art. I linger and gaze at paintings when my family wants to keep moving. Maybe you're this way too.
That's why I felt like I had entered art heaven during a trip I took to
My friend John, a dealer specializing in Russian art, had invited me to join him on an art buying trip. He knew I loved art and wanted to share the rich art heritage of
I flew from
My Unparalleled Private VIP Tour
Only a small portion of the
Thanks to some of my connections, I had arranged to visit the Hermitage on a day that it was closed to the public. I met with a curator -- not some tour guide but one of the museum's top art experts, who showed me highlights and shared stories about the museum and the art I was viewing. It was a dream come true. I couldn't wait to tell my friends at home about this rare opportunity.
I was not prepared for how vast, ornate, and spectacular the museum is. I've been to
The Academy Where the Russian Greats Studied
After leaving the Hermitage, I asked my driver if we could visit the
I met the director and toured the spectacular old building. I blushed as I watched students painting nudes; I saw the anatomy room, which looked like a medical school, strewn with skeletons of animals, birds, and humans. I was escorted to the private studios of teachers and soon-to-graduate students. In another room I saw student copies of paintings that were every bit as great as the classic paintings they had reproduced. The
The Hidden Jewel of
An unexpected surprise was the
I fell in love with Russian art. It was Catherine the Great's goal to make
Of course, I was so inspired by the magnificent art that I wanted to own some. I was taken to artists' studios where I met with artists and was able to buy from them.
A Dream Come True
This was a dream trip to art heaven: a private tour of the best museum in the world with a top curator, a trip to the Russian academy and its museum, visits to private art studios where I was able to purchase.
And, of course, all the must-see sites in
But the Russian people are the nicest and most giving I've met during any of my travels. You can imagine why I thought this was art heaven.
Re-Creating My Trip
"Take me along next time you go," my art-loving friends begged -- which inspired me to organize this Russian Art Cruise. My goal is to re-create much of that memorable experience and share it with others. We will enjoy a private, after-hours tour of the Hermitage and introduce you to some special people from the museum, and of course you can go back for more on your own. We will visit the
Because I did not favor the hotels in
We have arranged for tour packages to the top sites in
Art Lectures at Sea
Our trip will depart from
Peter is a leading expert on 18th- and 19th-century art, and the leading authority on J.W. Waterhouse (Peter recently developed a three-city exhibition in
We will make a stop in
Will you join us in art heaven?
I have hired a travel company that I've done business with for two decades. They are known for excellence and attention to detail. I described my previous Russian experience and asked them to re-create it. Of course, Peter Trippi and I also have contacts whom we have invited to participate with us at both the Hermitage and the museum in
Passion For Art
I'm excited about this trip because I love art and love people who love art. I'm looking forward to time at sea making new friends who have a common interest in art, and to hearing stories of their adventures in the cities we visit. Most of all, I'm excited about returning to Russia, to seeing St. Petersburg and Moscow again, and to visiting with my friends at the museums and art studios. And, yes, I hope to buy a few paintings along the way. I came home from my last trip with 16 paintings, all by Russian masters.
Will you join us? We are only inviting 100 people to join us because we want to keep the trip as intimate as possible.
We have already sold out most of the upgraded suites and penthouses. We do have classic staterooms still available, but we don't know how long they will last. Frankly, the ship is selling so fast I don't think we can offer this much longer. As I write this, we have have only eight double occupancy rooms left and two penthouses.
You can learn more about this experience at www.russianartcruise.com.
I encourage you to phone Gabriel at Creative Travel Planners to ask questions and book your room. The price is very reasonable, and we don't know yet if we'll ever make this trip again. I hope you'll consider allowing me to share the art heaven I experienced in
- Eric Rhoads, Publisher
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine
ONLY 8 ROOMS LEFT
or 800.255.3070, ext. 123