Art broadens the mind they say and whilst many may not think of St. Petersburg as having an art scene comparable to its big brother Moscow, Russia’s former Leningrad has experienced its own cultural renaissance in recent years, and it’s never been a better time to explore all that this great city has to offer art lovers.

The Hermitage Museum, 2, Palace Square, 2, St Petersburg

This breathtakingly vast collection of art was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, and has grown to over 3 million works of art over the years, only a fraction of which can be on display at any one time. It is estimated that if you viewed every piece in this amazing collection for only one minute each, it would take eleven years to complete! With that in mind, you can book a tour to make sure you don’t miss any of the highlights, from Egyptian antiquities and prehistoric art to Baroque masterpieces and Neoclassical, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist paintings.

The Hermitage Museum

State Russian Museum, 2, Griboyedov Canal, 4, St Petersburg

The State Russian Museum houses another large collection of Russian art dating back from the 11th century to the present day, and is a must-see for visitors to the city. It is less busy than the bustling Hermitage, but no less impressive, and the quieter atmosphere makes it easier to explore the exhibits at your own pace. As well as the permanent collection of Russian art housed in the Benois wing including a 6 tonne bronze sculpture of Catherine the Great, the museum also hosts contemporary exhibitions such as video pieces and modern art installations.

Museum of Non-Conformist Art, Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Center, 10, Ulitsa Pushkinskaya

For those of you who prefer their art more on the edgy side, this independent art gallery is the unofficial home of the alternative arts scene in St. Petersburg, and provides a unique viewpoint of unofficial art of the Soviet period (50-80 years), and contemporary Russian art, particularly with regards to the dissatisfaction with the Soviet system explored through artistic mediums. Several sprawling rooms within this ramshackle gallery are occupied by exhibitions, studios and music venues, with much of the artwork on display being donated by the artists, many of whom operate from the Pushkinskaya collective in which the gallery is housed. This gallery is located somewhat off the beaten track and may not be as accessible as some of the larger state-owned galleries in St. Petersburg, but for the true outsider art fan, it’s worth making the extra effort.

Erarta Museum and Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2 Line 29 Vasilyevsky Island

In recent years, a number of contemporary art galleries have opened in St. Petersburg, including Erarta, which at the time of writing houses the biggest private museum of contemporary Russian art in the entire country. This vivid and unusual art museum is spread comfortably over five floors, and in addition to a permanent collection featuring Russian modern artists Dmitry Shorin, Konstantin Grachev and more, Erarta also curates temporary exhibitions which change every three months, so there’s frequently something new to see.

This article was supplied on behalf of Corinthia