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December, 10, 2010 - March, 27, 2011

Moscow, the State Tretyakov Gallery

Organised by:
The State Tretyakov Gallery 

01# Medal commemorating the coronation of Elizabeth Petrovna in 1742The exhibition is timed to a jubilee date - the 300th Anniversary of the birthday of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. Remarkable items of jewellery, decorative and applied arts, graphic arts and sculpture, architectural sketches and models, exposed within the display, reveal the everyday activities of the Empress, the atmosphere and lifestyle at the Russian court of the XVIIIth century.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums present over 20 unique exhibits related to the life of the Empress, i.e. memorial items, pieces of jewellery, tableware and cutlery, weapons. One of the most noteworthy articles is a two-sided glass medallion, mounted in gold setting, with locks of hair belonged to Elizabeth Petrovna. Preservation of cut baby curls has been a widespread tradition since ancient times. Its sacral meaning faded in the late XVIIIth - early XIXth century when such relics has been regarded more like sentimental, memorial items than ritual objects. Nevertheless, Tsar's medallions have been always held in high esteem as an illustrative evidence of the past epoch and mystical, symbolic artefact commemorative of its owner.

The display includes rare seen species of arms and tableware, which serve as precious examples of development of goldsmithery and jewellery making in Russia, diplomatic relations between Russia and other countries, of splendour and luxury at the court of Elizabeth Petrovna. The air rifle-stick by John Lawrence Kolbe with a delicate golden handle is considered to have been granted by the government of England to the Russian Empress Elizabeth. Such precious vessels as the gilded drinking ladle (kovsh) made of silver, embossed with an elaborate pattern, were awarded to commanders of the Cossacks (Ukrainian People's Army) for their exceptional duty and excellent services to the country.

One of the most interesting items is a silver brazier - portable receptacle for burning charcoal or coal - was used for heating the winter carriage of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in which she has travelled to Moscow from Saint-Petersburg for the coronation ceremony. Today this carriage is exposed in the Armoury Chamber. Exhibits of great historical and cultural value are the shown pectoral officer decoration belonged to the Empress, bas-relief with the image of Elizabeth Petrovna in profile, executed by famous sculptor Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the coronation medal of 1742, precious snuffbox and a tea service by Russian goldsmith.