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The collection of Western European furniture consists of some 1,000 objects made in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and England.

The earliest examples are German and French dressers of the 15th to early 16th centuries decorated with Gothic carving, and chests and episcopal thrones, while the Italian Renaissance produced excellent carved 16th-century chests known as cassone.

French furniture of the first half of the 16th century is illustrated by a number of items in a transitional style - a dresser and episcopal chair decorated with carving which combines medieval linenfold design with grotesques typical of Renaissance furniture.

French 17th-century furniture, its forms and decoration combining the majestic opulence of the Baroque style with the austere nobility of French Classicism, is best represented by prominent cabinet-maker A.-C.Boulle, who produced a large armoire in the style which was to bear his name.

A superb gilt wooden table with fine austere carving and a sofa upholstered with embroidery date from the late 17th to early 18th centuries and illustrate the transition from the Baroque to the Rococo.

The magnificent cabinets commissioned from David Roentgen by Catherine the Great in the late 18th century, are just a few of the wide selection of his outstanding furniture now to be found in the Hermitage.

Whole suites of 19th-century furniture, much of it designed specially for the Winter Palace and St Petersburg mansions, have been preserved intact and are displayed around the Hermitage.


Chest
Italy, Rome
Second half of the 16th century
Larger view


Armoire
Late 17th century
Larger view




Dresser
Second half of the 15th century
France
Larger view




Fauteuil
Mid-18th century
France
Attributed to Nicolas Foliot
Larger view

 

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