Russia Tsarskoe Selo Hermitage Pavilion

Hermitage Pavilion

The Hermitage park ensemble at Tsarskoe Selo was planned by Mikhail Zemtsov. Construction was headed by Savva Chevakinsky (1744–49). The pavilion was reconstructed by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (1749–56), who wanted the new building to echo the main structure in the park ensemble – the Catherine Palace. The building stood on a marble platform surrounded by a figured moat with two bridges and a balustrade with gilded wooden sculptures. The central cupola was crowned with a sculptural group depicting The Rape of Persephone. The main hall in the pavilion was decorated with Giuseppe Valeriani and Ivan Belsky’s plafond Juno and Jupiter Inviting the Gods to a Table Set with Sumptuous Crockery and was intended for the private relaxation of the empress and close friends. The hall was completely isolated from the outside world and inaccessible even to servants. Guests ascended on small sofas with the help of a special apparatus similar to a modern elevator, which also lifted set tables. When the meal was over, the tables vanished and the hall turned into a ballroom. The Hermitage mechanisms worked for the last time at the wedding of the future Tsar Nicholas I to Princess Charlotte of Prussia (1817). The figured moat was filled in, the marble slabs were lifted and part of the sculpture on the facade and roof was removed at the command of Catherine the Great (late 18th century).

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