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Catherine the Great

Arts for the Empire - Masterpieces from The State Hermitage Museum, Russia

October 1, 2005 to January 3, 2006

Catherine the Great

Unknown artist, after portrait by Mikhail Shibanov,
Catherine II in travelling costume, after 1787.
© The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, 2005

This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario will welcome some of The State Hermitage Museum’s spectacular holdings. Come experience more than 200 magnificent works collected and commissioned by the Empress from some of the most illustrious European and Russian artists of the 18th century. Most of these works have never been shown in North America.

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (1729–1796), was one of history’s greatest art patrons – and one of its shrewdest political leaders. For her, art and politics were inseparable. By her acquisition of important works of art from the past, and her patronage of the foremost artists of her time, she not only formed one of the finest collections in the world, but spectacularly transformed St. Petersburg into one of the cultural capitals of Europe.

Experience the magnificence of Imperial Russia with this exhibition of paintings, sculpture, furniture, gems, and decorative arts, including the dazzling 18th century Coronation Coach. Never before seen together in North America, these treasures will speak volumes about the power of culture and the culture of power.


Sir Joshua Reynolds (British, 1723–92),
Cupid Untying the Girdle of Venus, 1788.
© The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, 2005.
Royal Gobelin Factory, Paris, designed by Milon.
The Romanov Coronation Coach, first quarter 18th century.
Oak, ash, beech and walnut, silver, iron,copper, bronze, steel, glass, leather, silk, cloth, gilt.
720.0 x 200.0 x 300.0 cm
© The State Hermitage Museum, 2005.

The Romanov Coronation Coach: Some Assembly Required

Lead Sponsor

Supporting Sponsor

Additional support has been provided by

Education Programs generously supported by

The Catherine Society - Women Inspired by Catherine the Great

This exhibition has been financially assisted by

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Supported by

The Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program.

Organized by

The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The State Hermitage Museum in association with The Hermitage Museum Foundation of Canada.

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