The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia

The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia

by Susan Jaques


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The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia by Susan Jaques

Ruthless and passionate, Catherine the Great is singularly responsible for amassing one of the most awe-inspiring collections of art in the world and turning St. Petersburg in to a world wonder. The Empress of Art brings to life the creation of this captivating woman's greatest legacy
An art-oriented biography of the mighty Catherine the Great, who rose from seemingly innocuous beginnings to become one of the most powerful people in the world. A German princess who married a decadent and lazy Russian prince, Catherine mobilized support amongst the Russian nobles, playing off of her husband's increasing corruption and abuse of power. She then staged a coup that ended with him being strangled with his own scarf in the halls of the palace and herself crowned the Empress of Russia.Intelligent and determined, Catherine modeled herself off of her grandfather in-law, Peter the Great, and sought to further modernize and westernize Russia. She believed that the best way to do this was through a ravenous acquisition of art, which Catherine often used as a form of diplomacy with other powers throughout Europe. She was a self-proclaimed "glutton for art" and she would be responsible for the creation of the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world, second only to the Louvre. Catherine also spearheaded the further expansion of St. Petersburg, and the magnificent architectural wonder the city became is largely her doing. There are few women in history more fascinating than Catherine the Great, and for the first time, Susan Jaques brings her to life through the prism of art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605989723
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/04/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,300,358
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Susan Jaques is a journalist specializing in art. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford
University and an MBA from UCLA. She is the author ofA Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museumsand The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia.She lives in Los Angeles, California, where she’s a gallery docent at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 Extreme Makeover 1

1 This Heavy Thing 3

2 The Brightest Star of the North 10

3 The Ambrosia of Asia 19

4 Collecting Debut 26

5 Building Frenzy 32

6 My Falcon, My Golden Pheasant 39

Part 2 Russia is a European Nation 45

1 A Monument to Peter and to You 47

2 Make Peace with Your Enemy 58

3 My Prodigal Son 66

4 The Saxon Richelieu 71

5 The Earth and Sea Trembled 82

Part 3 War and Love 91

1 Queen of Feasts 93

2 Dressed to "Empress" 103

3 Peace Offerings 112

4 Crozat the Poor 117

5 The Coachman of Europe 125

6 Tiger in the Forest 132

Part 4 Peace and Prosperity 139

1 Sleepless Nights 141

2 Anglomania 148

3 A Crowd and Not a City 156

4 Breaking the Mold 162

5 Brother Gu 171

6 Cateau and the Hermit of Ferney 177

Part 5 A Second Rome 183

1 Cat and Mouse 185

2 Raphaelism 197

3 Sashenka 204

4 Palladio's Shadow 215

5 The Greek Project 221

Part 6 Empire Building 235

1 Mother of the Fatherland 237

2 A Rose without Thorns 244

3 The Master of Neuwied 252

4 An Accidental Michelangelo 259

5 Slings and Arrows 268

6 Baby Hercules 273

Part 7 War and Revolution 281

1 Center Stage 283

2 Cameo Fever 288

3 Russia's Paradise 294

4 Betrayals 303

5 French Madness 309

6 Curtain Call 313

Part 8 Reaction 319

1 Tears and Despair 321

2 A Ticking Clock 326

3 Warsaw's Ours 333

4 Catherine's Library 341

5 Queen of the World 346

6 Joined in Death 351

Part 9 Legacy 363

1 A Son's Revenge 365

2 Art-Loving Grandsons 370

3 The End of the Line 383

4 Raiding the Hermitage 394

5 Preservation 400

Bibliography 407

Endnotes 423

Acknowledgments 449

Index 451

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