Portrait of Catherine II
two Fragrance Shakers
with the initials E II
Catherine the Great (1729-96) was one of
the greatest collectors of all time. Her collecting activities reflected
both the personal and political ambitions of this woman who truly
put Russia, and notably St Petersburg, on the cultural map of Europe.
She accumulated, mainly through purchases and commissions abroad,
more than 4,000 paintings, 10,000 drawings and 32,000 engraved gems,
as well as medals, jewels, antique sculptures and numerous other
works of applied art.
This exhibition provides an intimate picture
of Catherine's personality and the luxury with which she surrounded
herself and her favourites. It includes personal possessions, gifts
that she presented to statesmen, to close family members and to
her lovers, as well as diplomatic gifts she received from far-flung
fellow rulers, amongst them the Emperor of China.
The very popular exhibition catalogue
and merchandise relating to the exhibition is still available at
the Hermitage Rooms shop currently at a reduced rate.