Mundane Monday: Light

CatherinePalaceHeaterI’m hesitant to use this photo for the Mundane Monday challenge because it’s not really mundane. But in context it sort of is. I took these pictures on a tour visiting the Catherine Palace in Pushkin near St. Petersburg in 2016.

The Catherine Palace has so much going on–the chapel, the facade, the gardens, the amber room, the Nazi destruction, the ongoing restoration–that taking a picture of a wall and a wall heater seems a little silly. But I did anyway.

This ballroom is splendid all around. It’s the sort of place that makes you think of Disneyland and Mad Ludwig. All that gold has to be fake, right? Or at least not quite real, conjured by a cartoon fairy godmother. You expect Mrs. Potts, the talking teapot from Beauty and the Beast, to pop out at any moment and finish the tour.

CatherinePalaceBallroom

But this is the real deal. Princesses danced here on cold winter nights, and the heat and gaiety kept the wolf at bay.

CatherinePalaceHarpsichordThese palaces, outposts carved from the forest in homage to the great cities of Europe, humanized the Russian royalty for me in a way that I had never considered before. Everyone wants a beautiful hearth, home, companionship.

Everyone needs a candle in the dark.

CatherinePalace

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7 thoughts on “Mundane Monday: Light”

  1. Beautiful photos, I really like the one you chose as your mundane subject and find most mundane subjects share that duality of being both mundane and not. I can’t believe I forgot to post mine for this, the days are flying by, I’ll catch up soon!

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  2. Beautiful pictures. I am always fascinated and wondering about how people used so many candles for light without setting their buildings on fire… Like on the Christmas tree in most Scrooge movies…

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    1. Yes, these lights were electric, of course, but I was imagining them as candles. Out-of-control, destructive fire must have an even bigger concern then than it is today. But they were so close to it on a daily basis that maybe safety was on their minds much more.

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  3. I visited in 1973, when humanizing the Russian aristocracy was not encouraged, Instead this was all presented as proof of their decadence. I am always amazed at what man can build (or have built).

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    1. There’s been so much restoration since then of all these cultural sites in and around St Petersburg. It’s amazing. The subway is sparkling clean and beautiful too. I don’t know if I will ever be back, but I’m glad I experienced it in my lifetime.

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