The Little Hermitage
The Little Hermitage Palace is the oldest of the four adjacent buildings forming the Hermitage State Museum, built next to the Winter Palace on the Neva embankment in 1764-1767, to the design of Jean Baptiste de la Mothe. The most valuable works of art belonging to the royal family were kept there. Catherine the Great only admitted a narrow circle of courtiers to view the collection of the Hermitage, as it was fittingly called.
In much of its design, the building of the Little Hermitage is subordinated to the Winter Palace, copying its height and the horizontal sections devised by Rastrelli. But unlike the palace’s mood of ornate jubilance, the Hermitage has an air of quiet restraint.
The ground floor has an alternating pattern of rustic work and plain wall surface. The main part of the building above is decorated with two-storey high pilasters on the sides and columns gathered together in the slightly projecting center and supporting a portico.