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Paris Back From U.K. Sojurn

Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Mark Stadler of HSBC Russia and Olga Taratynova, director of Tsarskoye Selo.
    Photo: for SPT

The Judgment of Paris, a monumental canvas by Italian Carlo Maratta dated circa 1708, had been installed in Tsarskoye Selo for more than 50 years before receiving a new lease on life thanks to an unprecedented exhibition that brought it renewed attention.

Once part of the collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Great Britains first Prime Minister, the painting had hung high above the main staircase at The Catherine Palace in Pushkin since entering the palace collection in 1960, following the completion of post-war restoration work.

Sent to the U.K. as part of the Houghton Revisited exhibition, the painting is now back in St. Petersburg and has been placed in a new location.

Masterpieces Take Summer Vacation

Walpoles collection was one of the most celebrated art collections of its time and included works by Van Dyck, Poussin, Maratta, Rubens and Rembrandt, which are today held by the State Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the State Tsarskoye Selo Museum and other important Russian museums.

In 1779, Walpoles descendants sold 200 paintings from the collection to Catherine the Great, for which the Russian Empress paid £40,550. Centuries later, the canvasses from Russias leading museums were returned to the family estate of the collections founder.

This landmark project highlights the historic ties between Russia and Great Britain as well as the excellent taste of two remarkable 18th-century leaders, said Mark Stadler, CEO of HSBC Russia, the company supporting the exhibition.

The idea for the exhibition came about when Thierry Morel, former director of the Hermitage Foundation (U.K.) and current member of executive board of the Hermitage Foundation (U.S.), discovered the plan for the original hanging at Houghton secreted in the Hermitage archives. The exhibition that developed from this chance encounter was dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Catherine the Greats accession to the throne.

From May to September 2013, for the first time in over 200 years, all of the paintings were reassembled in the original setting of Houghton Hall.

I would like to thank the State Hermitage Museum and other Russian museums for providing an opportunity to show this collection to the British public. This may be the first time when such a privilege has been granted to a private house, said the Marquess of Cholmondeley, a direct descendant of Walpole and current inhabitant of Houghton Hall.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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