Above: The redoubtable Empress Elizabeth of Russia, by Georg Caspar Joseph von Prenner, 1754. Image © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress

13 July – 21 October 2012
The National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF


Featuring the greatest collection of treasures from Imperial Russia ever displayed in the UK, this exhibition is dedicated to the cultural legacy of Empress Catherine II as represented through more than 600 works of art, jewellery, costumes and paintings, taken from one of the world’s most magnificent collections seldom seen outside of Russia. The story of the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia is one of the most fascinating and exciting in all of human history. Discover how a German princess without a single drop of Russian blood in her veins became Empress of All the Russias.


'You are not the aurora borealis, you are the brightest star of the North, and there never has been any other luminary so beneficial.' Voltaire, 1766



Above: Catherine II on her horse Brilliant, by Vigilius Eriksen, after 1762. Image © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.


'If this war continues, my garden at Tsarskoe Selo will resemble a game of skittles; for at each of our noteworthy actions, I put up some new monument there.' Catherine II, 1771.



Organised in partnership with the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, this exhibition, unique to Edinburgh, will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Catherine the Great’s ascension to the Russian throne. A calendar of events and lectures exploring the empress’ lasting influence in the enlightenment of the Imperial Russian court will accompany the exhibition.


To find out more about this exhibition visit the National Museum of Scotland website: www.nms.ac.uk.



Above: Portait of Paul I's daughters holding a portrait of their grandmother, Catherine the Great, by Vigée-Le Brun, 1796. Image © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

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