Masterpieces from the hermitage exhibition – background
Masterpieces from the Hermitage exhibition from the National Gallery of Victoria featured a unique collection of paintings, sculptures, cameo jewelry and filigree artefacts, from the collection of Catherine the Great, the tsarina of Russia from 1762 – 1796. Catherine the Great believed that decorative arts had a civilizing effect on society and fostered international diplomacy. We may take a leaf out of her book, in these trouble times.
Catherine the Great collected European masterpieces, especially the works of Flemish and Dutch painters. She acquired a Leonardo da Vinci painting from the collection of Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first prime minister. Her interest in art was not confined to Europe alone. She had deep interest in Oriental art and had collected an exquisite selection silver filigree and enamel work.
Masterpieces from the hermitage exhibition – textiles
What are interesting from a textile enthusiast’s point of view are the glimpses into the elaborate clothing, the rich fabrics and the different forms of embroidery techniques used to embellish the garments and furnishings.
In one of the paintings, two girls are working on what appeared to be the precursor to tambour embroidery as it is practiced today.
In another painting, crewel embroidery adorns the elaborate robe of an obviously wealthy man.
There was a very engaging painting of a group of card players. What caught my eyes was the table cloth that was reminiscent of embroidered textiles of South West and Central Asia.
Several paintings including one of Catherine the Great herself, offered an insight into the elaborate silhouettes of the garments, the fine fabric – rich silks and lush fur and fine detailing on the garments.
Such exquisite craftsmanship is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Deidaa makes every effort to keep traditional craftsmanship alive. Handcrafting does not come cheap, but would you rather buy half a dozen disposable t- shirts or an exquisite handmade piece that may become an heirloom in due course. The choice is yours!