Once upon a time — back when it was an Imperial palace rather than an art museum — the Hermitage had a bit of a rodent problem. Empress Elizabeth came up with the obvious solution: kittehs! Almost three hundred years later, there are still feline exterminators living deep in the underbelly of the museum.
The second best thing about this is that there is a person whose actual job it is to take care of the Hermitage cats.
The first best thing? Apparently, at some point one of the cats escaped the basement and traveled through the walls of the palace for a week in order to reach the museum galleries. Now that’s what I call devotion to art.
On a slightly different note, Empress Elizabeth of Russia sounds pretty bad ass in general. Even if there is no evidence that she ever commissioned an official Cats In Racks portrait.
Via Art Fag City.