The Art Collections
The Pavlovsk collections historically appeared at his first owners , Tsesarevich Paul and his wife Maria Feodorovna. They have had the famous trip to Europe under the names Count and Countess Severny in the years 1781-1782, where they visited workshops of well-known artists, ordering and acquiring paintings, furniture, bronze, silk fabrics, china sets, etc. Paul and Maria also brought to Russia a large number of antique sculptures fr om Italy, and gifts from European royal courts. Many of these treasures are on display, together with an excellent collection of portraits accomplished by Russian artists, and a number of Pavlovsk landscape paintings and drawings. Modern works of art, coming in a variety of ways to Pavlovsk, influenced to the nature of decorative solutions interiors of the Palace.
In Italy the owners of Pavlovsk were touched by the Ancient Rome civilization. They carried away with antique art that perfectly represented in the Pavlovsk Palace. The antique marble: statues, busts and reliefs - make up a separate part of the antique collection. In the Studio of the sculptor Carlo Albacini in Rome was ordered 10 marble statues "Apollo and Muses", reduced sculptures of the Hellenistic period from the collection of Vatican. The modern sculpture of the 18th century is widely presented along with Antiques. There are busts from ancient originals of Italian work; the statues of K. Albacini, made on the ground of antiquity, the works of the Turin sculptors brothers Collini.
The visits of the famous artists workshops in Italy and then in France - A. Kauffman, P. Batoni, A.R. Mengs, J. B. Greuze, K.J. Vernet, G. Robert - marked the beginning of a painting collection. The works of Western European schools : Dutch, Flemish, Italian, German and French were purchased through the Commission agents and art dealers.Later, after the accession of Paul I to the throne, the collection has been enriched with several large paintings from the Winter Palace and Hermitage. Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna constantly has continued to replenish the collection, giving preference to the masters of the Italian school.
Particularly important for the formation of the original collections of Pavlovsk was the presence of its owners in France, wh ere they with great honour took the Royal couple Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The King and the Queen gave their guests expensive gifts: several series of carpets from the Royal manufactories and Gobelin Manufactory Savonneri, which adorn the interiors of the Palace to this day. The items of porcelain, works of Sevres Royal manufactory, are characterized by their elegance. The toilet set of 72 items takes a special place among them. There were other acquisitions which were made from porcelain in addition to gifts, for example, the Paris set.
Maria Feodorovna ordered a few sets of carved gilt furniture with silk upholstery, visiting the Royal furniture workshop of Henri Jacob. The furniture decorates the State Bedroom and the Old Living room today. Pavlovsk also possesses a number of unique items of German cabinet-maker David Roentgen. Catherine II was made this order for Pavlovsk. Heinrich Gambs, the David Roentgen student,who opened his workshop in St. Petersburg, completed for the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in the early 19th century the various items of furniture with gilded bronze plates that decorate her memorial rooms on the ground floor of the Central building of the Palace.
The collection of French bronzes of the 18th - and the first half of 19th century stands out for its high artistic merits: clocks, fireplace set and lighting devices of the most famous craftsmen and watchmakers.
Speaking about the collections of Pavlovsk, it is impossible not to admire the works of Russian artists in various fields of decorative art.At the Imperial porcelain manufactory, Glass State manufactory, Yekaterinburg and Kolyvan lapidary factories performed unique items of porcelain, glass and various colored stones: jasper, porphyry, onyx - for decoration the halls and rooms of the Pavlovsk Palace.The table with porcelain countertop " The Pavlovsk views", the green porcelain dressing table, washing unit and tripod vase made of crystal and coloured glass, the vase of Korgon porphyry with bronze figures of satyrs, the obelisks from Kalkan Jasper - the genuine masterpieces of Russian decorative art. The works of Russian porcelain display in the exhibition , which you can visit, booking a tour.
The Museum has a superb collection of Russian art of the late 18th – early 19th century: portrait and landscape painting represented by the works of D. Levitsky, F. Rokotov, V. Borovikovsky, O. Kiprensky, S. Shchedrin, A. Martynov, works of sculpture - the works of F. Shubin, I. Martos, M. Kozlovsky, I. Prokofiev.
The collection of graphic art presents miniatures, watercolours, architectural drawings and printed engraving.
Among the collections there is also a large collection of rare books, about 15 thousand volumes, photos of the late 19th-early 20th century, art frames, household items, hand-written archive.