Monday, March 21, 2016
Small Throne Room, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
In April 1833, Emperor Nicholas I commissioned Auguste Montferrand to restore the Great Suite of rooms in the Winter Palace. Montferrand, who had won the competition to build St Isaac's Cathedral, designed two rooms, the Fieldmarshals' Room and the Memorial Room of Peter I. The Emperor required that work be carried out in the shortest possible time and Montferrand made extensive use of wooden constructions. One of the principal features of the Fieldmarshalls' Room was a group of full-length portraits of Russian generals who had been awarded the rank of fieldmarshall. This was an austere room with four-column porticoes by the two main doors which stood opposite one another. White imitation marble, polychrome parquet, an austere ceiling-painting and plaster military attributes formed its decoration. Adjacent to this room was the Memorial Room of Peter I, its decoration sumptuous and solemn: crimson velvet covered the walls, adorned with a thousand gilt bronze double-headed eagles, later replaced by those embroidered with silver thread. Surmounting the side walls are two paintings celebrating Peter the Great's victories over Charles XII of Sweden: The Battle at Poltava and The Battle at Lesnaya. The allegorical painting Peter I with Minerva by Jacopo Amigoni glorified Peter the Great as the creator of a magnificent empire. The gilt silver throne, made in 1731 in London by Nicholas Clausen, and the silver candelabra and sconces were installed here after the fire of 1837.