The definitive volumes celebrating the collections of the Hermitage Museum. For nearly 250 years the State Hermitage has been one of Europes most palatial museums. It encompasses more than three million works of art and artifacts displayed within a spectacular architectural ensemble, the heart of which is the famed Winter Palace. The two volumes of The Hermitage Collections capture the masterpieces and discuss the history that make this world-famous institution a cultural destination and a global treasure. Many of its rarely reproduced works are included in these two volumes, such as The Raphael Loggias (as copied from the Vatican), Michelangelos Crouching Boy, The Gonzaga Cameo, Leonardo da Vincis Madonna with a Flower (The Benois Madonna), and Titians St. Sebastian. The Hermitage collections were developed beginning in 1764 by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. Today, the Hermitage collections constitute one of the great art museums of the world.