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The Italian Hall

The first state interior that the visitor comes to is the Italian Hall. An original manifesto of the Classical style, the Italian Room is a circular room with niches covered with a cupola and lit by a window in the centre. It forms the compositional centre of the inner chambers of the palace. The Italian Hall is the result of the work of a series of architects - Charles Cameron, Vincenzo Brenna and Andrel Voronikhin. Its modern view was formed back in 1805. An important place in the furnishings was given to marble sculpture. Back in the 1780s four antique statues that had recently been brought back from Italy were placed here. These were an Aphrodite of the Medici Venus type, a Cupid of the Centocelle Eros type (an ancient reproduction of the lost statue by the famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles), Eros Drawing a Bowstring (a 1st century AD copy of the lost statue by Lysippus, court sculptor of Alexander the Great) and a statue of Bacchus that perished in the fire of 1803. At present only the Lysippus Eros occupies its original place. The other three statues come from the Lloyd Brown collection and were brought to Pavlovsk in 1789. From the late 1780s onwards, there were ten marble bas-reliefs in the walls of the Italian Room. The flat niches contained Roman Wedding Ceremony and The Three Graces (2nd century AD) and between the niches were profile portraits. There were four portraits from the 2nd century AD - Octavianus Augustus, Domitian, Faustina the Elder and Faustina the Younger - and four works from the sixteenth century (?) - Galba, Titus (?), Julia Titus (?) and an unknown lady with a sixteenth century coiffure.

The passages leading from the Italian Room to the Greek Room and the Upper Vestibule contain four bas-reliefs from the workshop of the sculptor Ivan Martos (1780s originals). The furniture consists of tabourets in the Empire style restored in the 1980s. These are copies from the one surviving member of the original suite manufactured in Russia 1804-05 especially for the Italian Room (upholstery in work). The bronze lamp-brackets in the shape of French horns are part of the original furnishings of the room (France, 1780s). The chandeliers (St Petersburg, 1797) have hung in the Italian Room since 1825.

The room usually served as a palace drawing room, though on special occasions it was used to hold dinner parties. Vocal or instrumental music would sound from the musical gallery. When dinner parties were held, extra furniture would be especially brought in for the occasion.

All the stucco moulding of the room, with the exception of the cupola, was maintained in the original during the post-war restoration. The artificial marble of the walls was recreated following old specimens.

From the Italian Hall guests proceeded into the columned Greek Room.