The Church (Stasov) Staircase
From the Waiters’ Room it is possible to reach the Church (or Stasov) Staircase that was constructed in 1843–46 by the architect Vasily Stasov (hence its modern name). It got its name from its location next to the room leading to the palace church.
Before the Second World War a visit to the Catherine Palace began from the first covered entrance on the main façade of the building that was located immediately next to the church wing. Passing through this Church Entrance, visitors found themselves facing the Church Staircase.
In keeping with the architect’s conception, its walls were adorned with four large canvases y the eighteenth-century French artist Hubert Robert (1733-1808) and two compositions by Pierre Lemaire (circa 1612–1688) taken from the stocks of the Imperial Hermitage.
During the Second World War the Church Staircase was destroyed and the paintings looted. The works by Lemaire were discovered in Königsberg in 1947 among a large quantity of art removed from the USSR to Germany and returned to the museum among other Tsarskoye Selo masterpieces.
Replacements for three of the missing Roberts were obtained (as originally) from the Hermitage and, finally, restorers recreated the fourth from pre-war pictorial records.