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In Honour of St Petersburg’s Founder
2 June, 2003 - 31 August, 2003

The Hermitage celebrates the Tercentenary of St. Petersburg by an exhibition dedicated to the city’s founder Peter the Great, displayed in three rooms of the Winter Palace’s Neva Enfilade (rooms No. 190-192), showcasing over 800 exhibits.

Created by the genius and will of the Reformer Czar, Russia’s new capital became a grandiose monument to the Emperor himself and to his efforts to create a new powerful Russia.

As he was realizing his dreams, Peter I strove to record all the stages in the construction of St. Petersburg with its specific buildings, memorable events and city panoramas. The exhibition shows prints with views of St. Petersburg and designs by architects of the early 18th century. Many of the works, including A.F. Zubov’s famous print The Panorama of St. Petersburg, were executed to Peter’s order as diplomatic gifts for European sovereigns. Especially noteworthy are drawings by Peter I himself, who both meticulously controlled the work of architects examining all their designs, and himself made projects for the “Northern Venice”.

Contemporaries of Peter I carefully collected and preserved all things connected with him. The Hermitage possesses a unique collection of the Czar’s memorabilia. The exhibits show the life, activities, habits and appearance of Peter the Great and illustrate legends, anecdotes and stories about with extraordinary personality.

The exhibition displays Peter’s lifetime portraits created by Russian and European painters and sculptors, including the Emperor’s unique wax images, the famous "Wax Person" and bust by C.B. Rastrelli. One of the best portraits of Peter I was executed during his first visit to Europe by the English artist Sir Godfrey Kneller. The portrait was commissioned by English King William III in 1698, and now is preserved in a personal collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The wardrobe of Peter I including three hundred items of clothes and accessories is the largest collection of 18th century dress preserved in the world’s museums and private collections. The Czar’s clothes made by European and Russian masters allow to trace the reform of civil and military costume in Russia and European fashions in the late 17th – early 18th centuries.

The Turnery of Peter I, a collection of the Emperor’s lathes and instruments from his palaces in St. Petersburg, has been included into the exhibition. This mostly European-made collection is now also one of the world’s best.

The exhibition’s gem are works of art collected by Peter the Great – paintings, sculptures and applied art. Palaces of the Emperor himself and his courtiers were full of genuine masterpieces of European masters. Due to Peter I, Russia acquired the antique sculptures, displayed in the Summer Garden, paintings by Rembrandt, Dutch School and other European schools, and many Oriental curiosities. Peter’s collecting activities were crowned by the foundation of the first Russian public museum, the famous Kunstkammer of St. Petersburg.

Peter I died on 28 January, 1725. A group of paintings and drawings show the unusual funeral ceremony of the First Russian Emperor, designed in advance by himself.

Tapestry "Battle of Poltava"
Imperial tapestry manufactory
Lager view

"Saxon" winter suit
By Russian tailors
Lager view

Gala-dress suits
By European tailors
Lager view

Portrait of the family of Peter I
Grigory Musikiysky
Lager view

Portrait of Empress Catherine I
Grigory Musikiysky
Lager view

Portrait of Peter I
Grigory Musikiysky
Lager view


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