Crouching Boy (c. 1530): The nude figure crouches down within the tight “frame” of the
block of marble he came from. The statue was likely intended to pose forlornly at the base
of a tomb in the Medici Chapel in Florence, possibly to symbolize the vanquished spirit
of the deceased's grieving relatives. Though the project (and this statue) were never fully
finished, the work possesses Michelangelo's trademark pent-up energy.
• We'll leave the Italian Renaissance now. Proceed straight through the next series of
rooms (231-236 and 240), eventually popping out in room 252. Turn right into room 254,
a treasure trove of works by...
The great Dutch painter is beautifully represented at the Hermitage. We'll tune into two
works in particular.
• As you enter the room, look to the left to find...
Danae (1636): Compare this large-scale nude of the Greek demi-goddess to Titian's
version, which we saw earlier. The scene is similar—a nude woman reclines diagonally
on a canopied bed, awaiting her lover (the randy god Zeus), accompanied by her maid (in
the dim background). But Rembrandt depicts a more practical, less ecstatic tryst. Where
Titian's Danae was helpless with rapture, Rembrandt's is more in control. She's propped