The Legacy of Catherine the Great
The National Gallery of Victoria’s winter masterpieces exhibition – Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great provides a unique opportunity to view one of the world’s greatest art collections.
The exhibition brings together over 400 works including paintings, sculptures, drawings and decorative arts collected by Catherine the Great during her 34 year reign that includes some of the finest contemporary art of the 18th century.
With an inexhaustible passion for collecting, Catherine’s ambition was to elevate cultural awareness in Russia through her acquisitions . She sought to stimulate economic and artistic activity, education and enlightenment, to ensure St Petersburg became the vibrant epicenter of European culture.
The quality and magnitude of her collecting was immense. She acquired whole groups of works from famous European collections, the best that was offered at the time. The acquisition of The Walpole Collection raised great consternation in Britain.
All the great masters are represented – Rembrandt, Rubens, Titan, Velazquez, Van Dyke, Leonardo Da Vinci and the list goes on. Its an exhibition not to be missed.
As well as the paintings, the exhibition features engraved gems (Catherine’s great passion), a selection from the exquisite Sevre Cameo service (60 pieces), together with Western European drawing and architectural drawings.
And finally, the Chinese Collection and Chinoiserie.
You will marvel at the superb pieces that make up the featured toilet set. The detail and craftsmanship in the filagree work is extraordinary. It’s hard to imagine using these items, but Catherine no doubt enjoyed doing so, adding 400 brilliant cut diamonds and many large Baroque pearls to one mirror for her own personal use.
This 32 piece set is the largest of it’s kind anywhere and was a wedding gift from her family.
Some pieces to consider for your wish list!
These crab-shaped boxes were used for both rouge and lipstick.
How best to describe this exhibition? Simply breath-taking!
As with all major exhibitions, the gift store offers some lovely items. The catalogue is available in hard or soft cover – a GRACIE pick.
The exhibition is showing until 8 November 2015.
Tickets are on sale from ngv.vic.gov.au. Click here