"Catherine's efforts to become an enlightening monarch took many forms. More than any previous Russian sovereign, she was determined to become a patron of the arts and to make her Court a monument to the cultural and intellectual westernization she aspired to promote among her subjects. Most of all, she wanted her Court to reflect that image of Russia's glory she endeavored to foster at home and abroad.
She purchased art on a vast scale, and cost was of almost no consequence in her effort. In 1768 she bought the famous Dresden Gallery for 180,000 rubles. Four years later, she purchased the even more famous Crozat collection in Paris. There were over a thousand paintings - works by Raphael, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Tenier, Poussin, and many others - and the price was astounding 500,000 francs.
But these collections were just a beginning. Three months after she obtained the Crozat collection, Catherine bought 50 more great paintings from the Duke de Choiseul for another 500,000 francs and paid Madame Geoffrin 30,000 more for two paintings by Van Loo. She bought the Duke of Orleans's entire collection of engraved gems in one avid swoop. In 1765 she purchased Diderot's library, [and] at Voltaire's death, she purchased his library of 7,000 volumes as well. No one in Europe could match Catherine's resources, so her treasure grew more and more impressive.
By 1790 she could write that "[my museum] at the Hermitage consists of pictures, panels of Raphael, 38,000 books, four rooms filled with books and prints, 10,000 engraved gems, [and] nearly 10,000 drawings." - from "The Romanovs: Autocrats of all the Russias" by W. Bruce Lincoln
Portrait of Catherine II the Legislatress in the Temple of the Goddess of Justice. Dmitry Levitsky, 1783. ♡
Idleness (Girl with a Kitten) ~ JOHN WILLIAM GODWARD 1900 Oil on canvas.
British, 1861 - 1922 .
One of the foremost British painters of classical genre themes in the 19th century, John William Godward painted the current work, Idleness, at the height of his career. Returning to a theme that he had treated in his 1891 work entitled Playtime, that of a girl teasing a kitten with a peacock feather, Godward paints a work impressive in its smooth, cool finish and intimate in its effect. While the earlier painting was a multi-figure composition, set in lush gardens on a terrace, here Godward reduces the composition to a single young woman on a marble bench and her kitten. The girl, dressed in a fine yellow dress and violet sash, has a look of quiet contentment as she trails the end of a peacock feather across the ground, playing with a soft, striped kitten. Every detail and surface, from he thin folds of her dress, her wavy, black hair, the gold bracelet around her wrist to the colorful strands of the feather and silky coat of the kitten, are painted in meticulous detail with a clean finish that obscures all brushstroke or mark of the artist. The model for the work was one of Godward’s primary Italian models, appearing in numerous paintings from the late 1890s and early 1900s. She leans back against the cool marble and gazes at the fluffy creature. Behind her stretches a pale blue stretch of Mediterranean, with an island obscured by white atmosphere in the distance. The peaceful, intimate tone of the work reflects the artist’s renowned quiet, retiring personality, and Vern Swanson, expert on the painter, refers to it as “one of the most effective of his oils.” The work was painted in 1900 at a time when Godward was earning recognition as one of the most significant painters of classical genre subjects. .
I’ve been very interested in this style of headstone lately. It appears to be from Bennington, VT, in the 1790s. Kind of a neoclassical take on Puritan design. (From “Early New England Gravestone Rubbings” by Edmund Vincent Gillon, Jr.)
Midori Takada & Masahiko Satoh Lunar Cruise. This is the second Midori Takada's album reissued by small Swiss label We Release Whatever the Fuck We Want. Great music transcending genres, from new age, jazz, world music, neoclassical...
The Music Room of Powderham Castle, Devon, England, designed by James Wyatt in 1788 for the 3rd Viscount Courtenay. The castle still remains the seat of the Courtenay family, Earls of Devon.
The north facade of the 17th Century Restoration Style Belton House, Lincolnshire, England. Belton has been described as the most complete example of a typical English country house.
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The entrance hall of Broadlands, Hampshire, England with its sculpture collected in Rome in 1764-66. The estate is the home of the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
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Back to Chatsworth House with detail of the courtyard. Originally visitors to the house would pass through the West front into the courtyard before entering the Painted Hall, hence its ornamentation.
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Staying with Chatsworth House as it will be reopened tomorrow after extensive restoration work. This is another picture of the magnificent famous Painted Hall but this time from the opposite end to my previous post at the end of January.
From one restoration to another, done a year ago, with the state rooms in Kedleston Hall about twenty five miles south of Chatsworth House. Here is a corner of the magnificent State Drawing room by Robert Adam.
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Ballroom of the Aiken-Rhett House, Charleston. Built in 1817, the Adam style house was renovated in 1836 by Governor William Aiken and his wife. Their family occupied the house for 142 years before selling it to the Charleston Museum in 1975. The exterior of the house was completely restored in 2006, but the interior remains in their original states surviving untouched since the 1850s. The Aiken-Rhett house is one of the most intact and comprehensive antebellum house museums offering a view of life of both the Aiken family and the enslaved people who also lived on the property.