22 January to 24 April 2016 two splendid halls of the Catherine Palace host the exhibition A Look From The Past, showcasing portrait masterpieces from the private collection of the Karisalov family. Exhibition is included in palace tour
Hovering on elegant transparent stands in the Great Hall are nearly thirty portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Russian and foreign masters like Dmitri Levistky, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Lampi Sr. and Jr., Orest Kiprensky, Karl Briullov and Vasily Tropinin. Some of the works have never been on public display before.
Among the undisputed masterpieces are the portrait of Peter the Great by Johann Kupetzky (see below rightmost), young Alexander I by Vladimir Borovikovsky (below leftmost), a noble lady by Georg Christoph Grooth (below 2nd from left), and Henri-François Riesener’s Josephine Friderichs with her son (below 2nd from right); she was a French lover of Grand Duke Konstantin, Tsar Paul I’s second son.
The First Antechamber of the palace presents the Russian works of art donated by or purchased with support from Mikhail Y. Karisalov, a member of the Tsarskoye Selo Friends Society and patron of the museum. The objects on display include the previously never showcased portrait of Tsesarevich Alexei, son of Tsar Nichols II, which was found during renovation of a house not far from the Catherine Palace in 2013.
At the opening of the exhibition, Tsarskoye Selo received another generous gift from Mr. Karisalov, ‘Alexander I prays at Alexander Nevsky’s tomb before departing for Taganrog’ by Grigory Chernetsov (see left). Looted from the palace during the Second World War, the painting depicts a moment before the tsar went on his last journey from the Kamennoostropvsky Palace in St. Petersburg to the south of the empire: Alexander I stood long gazing at the Peter and Paul Fortress from a bridge and then spent several hours in prayer at the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
The Catherine Palace first saw the Karisalov artifacts at the Treasures From A Private Collection exhibition in 2012. Only a part of the display back then, the very expressive portraits have returned as highlights of the current exhibition of the works that many state museums in Russia would be honoured to have.