Russian Culture: 1740-1800
Room 163 contains material devoted to the work and activities of
Mikhail Lomonosov (1711 - 1765). As a result of many experiments
Lomonosov discovered the composition of smalt and revived the art of
mosaic, which had nourished in old Russia. There are five mosaics on
display, created in the workshop of which he himself was master. Notable
among these is the portrait of Peter the Great, Lomonosov's own work.
In the exhibition there are examples of Lomonosov's scientific and literary
work and some astronomical instruments, manufactured in the workshop
of the Academy of Sciences, to which he devoted much attention, all
affording evidence of the many-sided talents of one of the eighteenth
century's greatest scholars.
Examples of Russian painting, largely portraiture, which came into
vogue on a large scale in the eighteenth century, are to be found in rooms
165 and 170. The portraits of Prince Cherkassky and Count Sheremetev,
painted by the talented serf artist Ivan Argunov (1727-1802), should be
given special mention. Several portraits by the outstanding portrait
painters Dmitry Levitsky (1735-1822) and Vladimir Borovikovsky
(1757-1825), and the landscapes of Semion Shchedrin (1745-1804)
illustrate the flowering of Russian painting in the second half of the
The water-colours, engravings and sketches in rooms 164 and 172
acquaint one with Russian architecture. These include in particular items
associated with the work of the most outstanding Russian architects
of the eighteenth century, Bartolommeo Rastrelli, Vasily Bazhenov
(1737-1799), Matvey Kazakov (1738-1812/13) and Ivan Starov.
In room 169 special attention should be paid to the "egg-shaped"
clock designed by the distinguished self-taught Russian mechanic Ivan
Kulibin (1735-1818). The small clock, the size of a goose's egg, has
more than four hundred parts, which set in motion three mechanisms
-one clockwork, one musical, and the third which animates miniature
gold figures. Kulibin worked on the clock for more than three years and
made it so well that the complex mechanism remains to this day in good
Russian craft industry and folk art are widely represented in rooms
167, 173 and 174 by articles made of silver, metal and glass, tapestries,
and some wood and ivory carvings. Included in the rich collection of
eighteenth century porcelain are some rare examples-a cup, ornamented
with a grape design (1749), and a snuff-box (1752) produced at the Im-
perial Porcelain Works in St Petersburg by the father of home-produced
porcelain, Vinogradov (1720-1758).
In rooms 173 and 174, among items made by ivory carvers from the
town of Kholmogory near Archangel, is an elegant, openwork carved vase,
created by N. Vereshchagin. The chief attraction here is the splendid
collection of articles made in Tula from polished steel-weapons, caskets,
decorative tableware, chessmen-the surfaces of which are adorned with
rose-cut steel "heads".
The Gold Room contains some very rare examples of Russian jewel-
lery dating from the seventeenth to twentieth century.