Summer Palaces of the Romanovs
Thames and Hudson | ISBN 9780500516478
Hardback – 360 pages
Member’s price: $108.00
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Situated just south of St Petersburg, the Russian imperial residence of Tsarskoye Selo is now more than three hundred years old. Tsarskoye Selo the Tsars Village was once a modest estate housing a summer residence for Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great. The building now known as the Catherine Palace was extensively rebuilt by Empress Elizabeth and then lavishly refurbished by Catherine II, known as Catherine the Great. This empress's love of art and decoration is evident in the sumptuous interiors and in the extensive park, filled with fanciful pavilions, bridges and monuments. Catherine also commissioned the neoclassical Alexander Palace for her favourite grandson, the future Alexander I; this later became home to the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family until their exile to Siberia. Occupied by the Nazi forces in 1941, Tsarskoye Selo saw its treasures plundered and many of its interiors left derelict. Fortunately, some of its magnificent interiors survived the vicissitudes of history, while others, such as the extravagant Amber Room, have since been painstakingly restored to their former opulence. The estate is not only a piece of art history but a living testimony to the tastes and private passions of the Romanov family. Their clothes and porcelain, their desks and bookshelves build an intimate and involving portrait of life in imperial Russia.