The exposition will present 48 pictures and 26 sculptures from the collection of the State Hermitage, the State Russian Museum, the State Museum-Preserves "Gatchina" and "Pavlovsk". The exposition held in the crisscross year of Italy in Russia and Russia in Italy acquaints the observer with remarkable works from collections of Russian museums and gives a chance to see a true value of art flourishing in Rome in the second part of the 18th century.
In the 1760s in Rome the artistic overturn began, related to development of neoclassic style and very soon taking over all European countries. It was preconditioned, on the one hand, by striving of masters to find some new forms and, on the other hand, by major discoveries in the area of Antique archeology, acquainting the world with early unknown works of ancient art. Thanks to this in "the Eternal City" an international circle of artists, architects, antiquarians and archeologists who were united by common outlook on the antiquity as a model. This circle included painters: the Italians: Giovanni Paolo Pannini and Pompeo Batoni, the Germans: Anton Raphael Mengs and Jacob Philipp Hackert, the Frenchmen: Hubert Robert and Jacques Louis David as well as sculptors: the Italians: Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Karlo Albacini and later- Antonio Canova, the British men: Joseph Nollekens and Christopher Hewetson, the Swiss: Alexander Trippel. Although all of them worked in their individual manner and genre common features of their works may be distinguished.
Predominance of drawing over coloration, relative simplicity of composition decisions, use of antique statues as models for characters are characteristic for the painters. Sculptors depended on ancient prototypes even more strongly, they often copied them deliberately and reconstructed.
For relatively short period of time Rome, always attracting the spotlight, became the place of pilgrimage for all beauty lovers. Young artists, coming to Rome to study, contributed new style promotion in Europe and America. Collectors, bringing antique statues or their copies also made a contribution into formation and development of new style. Its role in this process was also played by Russian travelers, regularly buying works of modern painting and sculpture in Rome that later contributed to formation of remarkable collections of works, created in Rome during the specified period, in Russian museums. Provided that almost all of them are recorded and, that is not insignificant, circumstances of their purchase or ordering are known.
Empress Catherine II, founder of the Hermitage took an active interest in modern art. By her order pictures by Pannini, Batoni, Mengs were purchased. Since 1763 for over ten years Ivan Shuvalov stayed in Rome, buying pictures and sculptures not only for the Empress and the Academy of Arts which establisher he was but also for private collectors in Russia. In the spring 1782 the successor of Russian throne Pavel Petrovich (Paul I to-be), travelling around Europe under the name of Earl Severny, stayed in Rome for over three weeks. He and his wife Maria Fyedorovna bought or ordered works of art from Batoni, Hackert, Albacini, Hewetson. A bit later a valuable collection of pictures and statues was composed by Prince Boris Yusupov, taking the post of Russian ambassador in Turin and visited Rome on repeated occasions (picture of Pannini, Batoni, Hackert, sculptures of Albacini, Trippel, Canova).