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St Petersburg is Russia’s arts capital, producing some of the nation’s most celebrated creatives over the years, from author Fyodor Dostoevsky to the realist painter Ilya Repin, poet Alexander Pushkin, and famed jeweller Karl Fabergé.
Today, St Petersburg is as creatively vibrant as it’s ever been, particularly in the world of the visual arts, with energy crackling across its avant-garde galleries and showrooms. Inspiration is only a short walk away.
If you’d like to see some of St Petersburg’s most promising new artists, Name Gallery should rate high on your itinerary. The gallery, located in the city’s Tsentralny District (not far from the Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg – Tchaikovskogo), opened its doors in 2011, providing space for young artists to showcase their work. Name Gallery curates collections sketched or painted on canvas, as well as installations a little grander in scope, which is why this venue is consistently awash with provocative pieces.
Pig’s Snout Art Gallery
Pig’s Snout Art Gallery offers a taste of something edgy and funky. Situated along the Fontanka River Embankment, with its bounty of gorgeous, Baroque palaces, the gallery itself houses a diverse selection of darkly satirical, tongue-in-cheek art. Pig’s Snout is a perfect spot to pick up a painting commenting on the absurdity of modern life, or an off-kilter sculpture crafted by men and women working outside the mainstream. And of course, given the gallery’s mischievous swine-inspired name, you’ll stumble across plenty of pieces with porcine themes to complete the experience.
Artists’s Loft Gallery
St Petersburg’s Artists’s Loft Gallery, nestled inside the city’s historic Petrogradsky District, can overwhelm the senses with the sheer size of its eclectic, contemporary collection. Highlighting works by local talent alongside painters from across Russia, a cornucopia of artistic tastes are catered to within the loft’s walls. You can easily lose track of time perusing the various collections on display inside this immensely inviting — and if you’re looking to buy, quite affordable — hub for the graphic arts.
The Erarta Gallery is Russia’s largest private contemporary art museum, housing just under 3,000 works in its permanent collection. Erarta offers ample room for installations, paintings, and sculptures. And with its large performance hall, it’s an ideal location to spend a sizeable chunk of your day. The gallery aims to develop greater public appreciation for contemporary art through dozens of temporary exhibitions rotating through each year, as well as educational initiatives, workshops, and a professional print shop letting patrons take the art they love (or at least an excellent facsimile) home with them.
Want to go experimental? Anna Nova, known for promoting on-the-edge avant-garde work, shouldn’t be missed. The gallery has been going strong since 2005, championing freedom of expression for up-and-coming artists and veterans. From the wildly original installations to the diverse selection of paintings and drawings hanging from the walls, this forward-thinking gallery has cemented its place as a leader inside Russian’s contemporary art scene, making Anna Nova well worth the time to explore in depth.