State Hermitage Museum Catalogue

State Hermitage Museum Catalogue

Fifteenth- to Seventeenth-century French Painting

Natalia Serebriannaia

Publication date:
January 2023
Publisher :
Paul Holberton Publishing
Series :
State Hermitage Museum Catalogue
Illustration :
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ISBN : 9781913645250

Dimensions : 300 X 240 mm


For the first time in English, this lavishly illustrated catalogue presents the collection of fifteenth- to seventeenth-century French paintings in the worldfamous Hermitage Museum.

Including many well-known works, notably those by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, this catalogue represents the first full publication in English of the whole of the Hermitage Museum's collection of French seventeenth-century paintings, as well as seven paintings dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Since the publication of the Russian edition in 2018 the text has been considerably reworked

and supplemented, with new photography and the addition of one further painting. It thus marks an important milestone in the history of the Hermitage Picture Gallery. The Hermitage collection of French painting is one of the largest and most significant outside France. All the leading artists of the seventeenth century are represented and there are key works by some less famous names (for instance, signed

paintings by Pierre Cauchy and Jean Daret).

This catalogue also throws light on the history of collecting in France and Russia from the seventeenth to early twentieth century. Paintings that were once in the most famous collections in France made their way to Russia from the middle of the eighteenth century. Catherine the Great acquired French seventeenth-century works among her first purchase of pictures in 1764; more than thirty arrived with the Crozat de Thiers collection that she bought in 1772, and sixteen arrived with Sir Robert Walpole's collection from Houghton Hall in 1779. Four famous Claudes were bought by Catherine's grandson Alexander I from the estate of the late Empress Josephine at Malmaison in 1815.

More than a third of the paintings arrived in the Hermitage after the Revolutions of 1917, some from the collections of noble families established in the eighteenth century (the Yusupovs and the Stroganovs), others from more recent collections formed by statesmen and the growing wealthy middle class (Myatlev and Oliv). Many of the works that arrived in the museum in the 1920s and 1930s had no established

provenance: as part of the research for this book, the author has worked with other scholars at the Hermitage to discover the collections from which the paintings derived.