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For 250 years the State Hermitage has been one of Europe's most palatial museums. The Hermitage collections were developed beginning in 1764 by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and now encompass more than three million works of art and artifacts displayed within a spectacular architectural ensemble, the heart of which is the famed Winter Palace. Now, on this important anniversary, this stunning volume captures the masterpieces that make this world-famous institution a cultural destination and a global treasure. 250 Masterpieces explores this sumptuous collection in the manner of a private tour showcasing works by Italian Renaissance artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Titian; Spanish artists such as Velazquez, Ribera, and Murillo; Flemish Baroque artists from van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Jan Brueghel the Elder; Impressionist and post-Impressionist works from Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Degas; and modern painting by Matisse, Picasso, Malevich, and Kandinsky. Priceless antiquities, feats of mechanical engineering, such as the famous Peacock Clock, and works of sculpture and decorative arts will also be shown both in situ and as works in focus. With lavish reproductions accompanied by texts from the museum's leading curators, this amazing volume is sure to become an instant classic, cherished by art lovers around the world.