Seminar: Russia in Europe/Europe in Russia: Cross-Cultural Connections in a Recentered Art World

Event Date: September 23, 2021

Sponsored by the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA)

Thursday 23 September at 9:00 Los Angeles, 12:00 New York, 17:00 London, 18:00 Moscow

Registration required by 22 September:

In the eighteenth century, Russia emerged as a truly European power. Yet despite the presence of Russians in Europe and Europeans in Russia, the vast Russian Empire continued to be perceived as a quasi-oriental land. As a result, those artists and works of art that moved from West to East were – and sometimes still are – all too often seen as vanishing into a distant realm. This panel will highlight current research on the Russian art world and its engagement with Western Europe in the eighteenth century. Short presentations will examine the importance of the French tradition to St. Petersburg’s Imperial Academy of Arts, Russian artists’ travel to the Netherlands and Paris, Russian patronage of Venetian art, connections between Russian and British art as reflected in portraits by Rokotov and Gainsborough, and Russian collecting of classical antiquities.

We invite specialists in all areas to take part in the discussion that follows, which will also address the place of the Russian Empire in eighteenth-century art-historical scholarship and teaching.

Presenting established and emerging scholars in the USA, Britain and Russia, this work furthers HECAA’s mission of broadening the geographical scope of eighteenth-century studies by moving beyond work connecting Europe with its colonial others.


Rosalind Polly Blakesley is Professor of Russian and European Art at the University of Cambridge, UK. She currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for her project ‘Russia, Empire and the Baltic Imagination.’ Her book on women artists during the reign of Catherine the Great will be published in 2022.

Catherine Phillips is Vladimir Levinson-Lessing Professor of the History of Collecting at the European University at St Petersburg. With emphasis on the history of drawings, she looks at collecting on the peripheries of Europe in the eighteenth century, outside the traditionally recognised centres of Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Emily Roy is completing her collaborative PhD at the University of Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on the imagery of stone 18th- and 19th-century St Petersburg. Previously she was a curator at Waddesdon Manor (National Trust) specialising in applied and decorative arts. 

Margaret Samu teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she works on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian art and design in a global context, with an emphasis on reception, collecting, and the art market.. Her current book project is titled Russian Venus: The Female Nude in the Art World of Imperial Russia. 

Zalina Tetermazova is Curator of Prints at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, specializing in eighteenth-century Russian art and its international contexts. She is a graduate of Lomonosov Moscow State University, where her PhD dissertation (2020) examined the relationship between Russian portrait painting and printmaking in the second half of the eighteenth century.

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