Author Topic: Empress Catherine II  (Read 153010 times)

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #150 on: December 21, 2006, 01:20:49 PM »
Also, I am unfortunately far from well informed about Elizabeth.  Was she ever legitimized by Peter?   

She was, and he openly acknowledged her, raising her in his court as his daughter.  However, the fact that she was illegitimate at the time of her birth was used by her enemies and was one of the impediments to France's accepting her as the wife of Louis XV, which Peter had proposed.

Elizabeth's reign, bracketed by the reigns of Peter "the Great" and Catherine "the Great", has always received relatively little attention.  However, recent scholarship has begun to recognize it as far more substantive than popular wisdom holds.  In its own way, her ability to stay afloat during the potentially-hazardous reign of Empress Anne and her bloodless coup to supplant Ivan VI and cut off his mother's aspirations to remove Peter's lineage permanently from the line of succession was as impressive as Catherine II's more-famous coup twenty years later.

In some ways, Elizabeth was the last of Russia's larger-than-life monarchs who lived and ruled with a wild abandon that, paradoxically, endeared them to Russians.  The vast scales and the exuberant decorative excesses of the Winter Palace and the Catherine Palace were her creations.  (In fact, Catherine II later painted over much of the exterior gilding of the Catherine Palace, finding it too expensive to keep in pristine condition.  And, although noted for her architectural interests, Catherine II's construction projects never approached the scales of what Elizabeth erected.)

While contemporaries probably would not have seen it this way, the passing of the throne from Elizabeth to Catherine II (forgetting Peter III's brief stint) was something of a watershed in Russian dynastic history.  Russian tsars up through Elizabeth had periodically shown gargantuan appetities in terms of violence, sexuality, lust for power, and byzantine fiscal excess.  Russian tsars after Elizabeth began to become progressively more "Germanized", with growing bourgeois instincts, a more pronounced craving for cozy domestic settings, a more metered zeal for displaying wealth, and -- while still sure of their autocratic right to rule -- more restraint in using extreme means.  Ivan the Terrible could murder his boyars.  Peter the Great could torture the Streltsy and see his own son abused to death.  Elizabeth could throw the young Ivan VI into a dungeon for life.  From Catherine II onward, these things began to become less tenable as weapons of policy.  Few transitions occur instantly in history, and Catherine II was still up to the burden of seeing her husband killed and keeping Ivan VI in prison.  Even Alexander I managed to countenance the murder of his father (although the cancer of remorse ate at him throughout his life, contributing to the legend -- and possible truth -- that he faked his death to abandon the throne).  But, within a few years of Catherine II's death, the capacity for household violence seems permanently to have passed out of the Romanov dynasty.  Where the 18th century in Russia had been the rule of lions, tigers, bears -- and the occasional squirrel -- the 19th century in Russia became the rule of burghers.

I've never been really sure what to make of this transition and when it occurred.  How much was the influence of Peter's westernization policies?  How much of the French Revolution?  How much the shift from Russian tsars marrying Russians to marrying western royals (of which the numerous German states were the most prolific purveyors)?  How much the fact that the Romanov bloodline probably ended with Elizabeth?

kraf_von_Wissel

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #151 on: December 21, 2006, 01:52:45 PM »
I got great painting

Pietro Antonio Rotari
Verona 1701-1762, St.Petersburg
Portrait of Catherine the Great in mourning
oil on canvas
76,5 by 55cm


kraf_von_Wissel

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #152 on: December 21, 2006, 02:00:23 PM »
and here is one russian artists painting- Catherine II is on that wery old- i think its made on year she died




Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #153 on: December 21, 2006, 02:23:48 PM »
This last painting is one of the most amazingly candid portrayals I have ever seen of a monarch.  I get the sense of looking unobserved into the eyes of a woman who once ruled a large portion of the world's affairs . . . and has the clear sense of having done it long and well -- and at considerable cost to others.

Do you have any more information about the painting or the artist?

kraf_von_Wissel

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #154 on: December 21, 2006, 02:55:33 PM »
hello

My onlyest information is, that artist is unknown and we found this pinting from europa.

on that time was normal painting style to paint illusion, not realistic seeing- but I think this artist is onlyest Catherine II time painter, who didnt have academik "honesty" and painted as he saw.

I live in former soviet union region, in Estonia and at the moment we have great exhibition in Estonian Art Museum
"portraits from Russian court"

there is lot of paintings what all world is not saw and I promise I will scan some new and interesting pics for you all.


w greetings:

kraf

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #155 on: December 21, 2006, 07:39:30 PM »

While contemporaries probably would not have seen it this way, the passing of the throne from Elizabeth to Catherine II (forgetting Peter III's brief stint) was something of a watershed in Russian dynastic history.  Russian tsars up through Elizabeth had periodically shown gargantuan appetities in terms of violence, sexuality, lust for power, and byzantine fiscal excess...Where the 18th century in Russia had been the rule of lions, tigers, bears -- and the occasional squirrel -- the 19th century in Russia became the rule of burghers.

I've never been really sure what to make of this transition and when it occurred.  How much was the influence of Peter's westernization policies?  How much of the French Revolution?  How much the shift from Russian tsars marrying Russians to marrying western royals (of which the numerous German states were the most prolific purveyors)?  How much the fact that the Romanov bloodline probably ended with Elizabeth?

Certainly the French Revolution had a huge impact on the attitudes of monarchs.  It would have been a terrifying thing for Catherine and her successors to realize how fragile their power really was and how much they relied on the millions beneath them.  Especially in the case of Russia where the rich were an insanely small minority and many boyars lived on lands far from 'civilization', meaning they were vulnerable to the peasants (unfortunately, the peasants never realized how powerful they really were until 1905).  Russia was a land of barbarity at the turn of the 18th century, forgive the expression, and was constantly seething.  If the legendary Versailles could fall, so could the Winter Palace.  And, of course, you are right to bring up the influence of foreign (ahem, German) brides.  They destroyed the purity not only of the blood lines, but also the culture.  They civilized the wilderness.   

Catherine was the beginning of the new wave of ruler, but she still lived an excessive life compared to many other monarchs.  Privately, however, she was something of a prude.  She liked beauty, but valued English simplicity.  Rumors, though, constantly floated around court about her financial and sexual excesses.  It's interesting to wonder, personally, if she encouraged them in order to paint herself as a traditional Russian monarch - blood, sex, power and jewels.

ilyala

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #156 on: December 22, 2006, 10:12:10 AM »
In reading this board, I came to realize just how German the Romanovs were, especially Hessian. I believe this was used by the Bolsheviks against the IF, especially Alexandra. It is very interesting to think that every "Romanov" from Paul onwards wasn't Romanov at all and, of course, very German.

actually, if paul wasn't fathered by peter he was almost certainly fathered by a russian noble, 90% saltykov. he was more russian as saltykov's son than as peter's son. peter was half german and a great fan of all things german.

also, interesting point about elizabeth's mother, indeed. i have always been fascinated by the destiny of the lithuanian peasant who became tsarina of russia.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #157 on: December 26, 2006, 10:58:52 AM »
I don't believe Paul resembled in look or held any character traits of  Saltykov or any of the other Russians who have been suggested.

I don't recall where I saw a portrait of Saltykov but that was my thought when I saw it.

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

ilyala

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #158 on: December 27, 2006, 10:05:15 AM »
I don't believe Paul resembled in look or held any character traits of  Saltykov or any of the other Russians who have been suggested.

I don't recall where I saw a portrait of Saltykov but that was my thought when I saw it.

AGRBear

one thing that would suggest peter rather than saltykov as a more likely father is the looks. saltykov was supposed to be a handsome man while peter wasn't. paul himself was again not very handsome.

on the other hand, it wouldn't be the first case of a not so handsome son of a handsome man and saltykov was supposed to be the exception rather than the rule in his family as far as handsomeness goes.

unfortunately we don't know (or i don't know) enough about saltykov to judge his personality and how much of it paul resembled.

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #159 on: December 27, 2006, 11:03:47 AM »
I think with Elizabeth's reign, people so often focus on her rather lurid private life, and what she was like in that, and not so much on her actual rule. Most books cover her lovers, entertainments, and clothes, and jewels, and the excessive and vain parts of her personality. Certainly, she was Peter the Great's daughter in other respects than her lovers and carousing, and she ruled a fairly stable Russia. Catherine the Great was like Empress Elizabeth in many ways, but she was more of an intellectual, and less lazy. If anything destroyed the potential of Elizabeth, it was the laziness. But, I think she knew what to do when it came to the dynasty, if indeed that was done in regards to Paul's birth, although who knows? Certainly, Catherine was rather low born, but she wasn't the daughter of a peasant woman, although I agree that Elizabeth was proud of it. But, I don't think that was a bond between them. I think instead, they had similiar personalities, and that Elizabeth perhaps saw in Catherine the potential to be what she had never become, through indolence as much as anything else. Elizabeth as more than she she is often written about, but I think she realized more opportunity in Catherine, and for Catherine.

ilyala

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #160 on: December 27, 2006, 01:13:38 PM »
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #161 on: December 27, 2006, 01:29:57 PM »
I think with Elizabeth's reign, people so often focus on her rather lurid private life, and what she was like in that, and not so much on her actual rule. Most books cover her lovers, entertainments, and clothes, and jewels, and the excessive and vain parts of her personality. Certainly, she was Peter the Great's daughter in other respects than her lovers and carousing, and she ruled a fairly stable Russia. Catherine the Great was like Empress Elizabeth in many ways, but she was more of an intellectual, and less lazy. If anything destroyed the potential of Elizabeth, it was the laziness. But, I think she knew what to do when it came to the dynasty, if indeed that was done in regards to Paul's birth, although who knows? Certainly, Catherine was rather low born, but she wasn't the daughter of a peasant woman, although I agree that Elizabeth was proud of it. But, I don't think that was a bond between them. I think instead, they had similiar personalities, and that Elizabeth perhaps saw in Catherine the potential to be what she had never become, through indolence as much as anything else. Elizabeth as more than she she is often written about, but I think she realized more opportunity in Catherine, and for Catherine.

Most definitely, Elizabeth ruled a fairly stable Russia.  She was eccentric, but also extremely mindful of the coup that brought her to the throne, knowing how it may happen to her which contributed greatly to these "eccentricities" Example:  sleeping in a different room every night, going on long pilgrimages and never staying in one place very long.  Though not as educated as Catherine, she was innately intelligent.  And though and Autocrat, never considered a tyrant.  Much like Catherine was when she followed.  IMO, Catherine and Elizabeth saw much of themselves in each other.  And though wary of her in the beginning, Elizabeth did want to treat Catherine as the daughter she never had.  After Catherine proved herself worthy of this, even over Peter III, Elizabeth changed in her attitude toward Catherine immensely. 

I also agree Elizabeth was rather lazy and spoiled and liked to be considered as such.  Catherine herself was used to getting her way after she became Empress. 

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #162 on: December 28, 2006, 04:43:07 PM »
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.

Yes, although she was German, she became more Russian than anything else. She never would have fit in that well in her native land, whereas in Russia her temproament fitted right in. She was lucky she made that marriage, because although she wasn't related by blood to the dynasty, and her child might not have been either, she was more Romanov than many of the Romanovs. Elizabeth must have seen this, although she certainly saw more personal things in Catherine as well. Peter the Great had the principle that he could choose his successor, no matter who was next in line for the throne. Just the same, Elizabeth may not have cared about Paul's paternity, just as long as there was an heir. She was choosing the succession, even over blood. In her heart, Elizabeth must have realized that Catherine and her son after was more suited to the succession than her own nephew was, and the way she often treated Catherine confirms it.

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #163 on: December 28, 2006, 05:27:29 PM »
As distant as we are from the reign of Catherine the Great, it's probably not wise to fixate on who the father of Paul I was.  I personally think Saltykov was his father, and he looks like his mother (especially when comparing him to the drawing of her while still Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst posted here earlier as reply #34).  But there is a probability Peter managed to consumate the marriage successfully. 

Catherine mentioned the non-Romanov paternity of Paul in her memoirs, written some time after the beginning of her reign.  Some have speculated this was to spite Peter and his memory but I simply cannot see the logic in this.  Peter was long gone, although his ghost would never completely disappear, having died a horrible death possibly with the consent of his wife.  Catherine would spend her reign battling the grumblings of the Muscovites etc. who would always hate who ever was on the throne, and therefore would naturally express their preference for the dead Tsar over the Tsarina.  Given attitudes and ideological threats such as these, it does not make sense to me that Catherine would spread a rumor that (at the time of the memoirs) would further destroy her image and make Peter a martyr.  And while I understand she was not fond of her eldest child, I cannot see her undermining his future (even for the remote chance he could be disposed and his son placed on the throne).  Like Elizabeth, Catherine was not fond of her actual heir but of her grandchild and would not have risked his future by creating a scandal. 

Any thoughts?   

Yseult

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #164 on: December 29, 2006, 07:10:29 AM »
does anyone know what happened to him? did he marry, have children?

Ilyala, the first count Bobrinsky married a woman from a baltic-german family, Anna Dorothea von Ungarn-Stenberg. They had three sons and one daughter who survived childhood. The boys were: Alexei, Paul and Vassily. The daughter was named Maria. After her husband´s death, Anna Dorothea Bobrinskaya opened a school for education of peasant´s children. This is a portrait of the lady:


Alexei, the elder son, became second count Bobrinsky. He married countess Sophia Samojlowa. After a brief career at the court, he settled with his family in Bogoroditsk, where he established one of the first russian sugar refineries.
A portrait of Alexei second count:


Peter, the second son, married Julia Belinskaya.

Vassily, the third son, married three times. The first wife was the princess Lydia Gortschakova.
This is a portrait of Vassily:


Maria, the daughter, married prince Nikolai Gagarin, murdered in 1842.

Best regards