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MARTIN FERDINAND QUADAL The Coronation of Paul I and Marie Fyodorovna

04 November 2004 - 16 January 2005
The Mikhailovsky Castle

The exhibition devoted to the 250th birthday anniversary of Paul I presents the painting by Martin Ferdinand Quadal The Coronation of Paul I and Marie Fyodorovna from the Alexander Radischev Museum (Saratov), as well as works form the collections of the State Russian Museum and the State Hermitage, and the materials from the funds of the State Russian Historic Archive, the Russian National Library, and the Russian Institute of the History of Art, related both to the very event of the Emperor's coronation and to how the painting was created and has existed from there on. Martin Ferdinand Quadal chose the brightest moment of the ceremony that was going on in the Cathedral of Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin on the 5th of April 1797 for his painting. Apart from being of considerable historic value, the painting is also of great interest, being the group portrait of the royal family and the first statesman. To depict the characters, the artist used the already existing portraits, which are also showcased at the exhibition. It has not been possible to "personificate" all the participants of the ceremony. Apart from the main characters - the Emperor with his wife, the both Grand Dukes, and Platon Levshin, the Metropolitan of Moscow - one can easily distinguish (due to a vivid resemblance) the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alekseyevna, the Grand Princess Alexandra Pavlovna, the Prince Nikolai Saltykov, the Count Fyodor Rostopchin and some others. Many of characters can be distinguished according to the role they played in the ceremony (the Prince Alexander Bezborodko, who carried the Big Emperor's Crown on a red morocco cushion, the Prince Nikolai Yussupov - the supreme marshal of the ceremony, the Grand Princesses Elena Pavlovna and Maria Pavlovna, the Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna and others). The first time that 'the wonderfully composed painting with figures' had been shown to the public was in 1804, exactly 200 years ago, at the first Martin Ferdinand Quadal personal exhibition in Russia, which was organised in a 'painting shelter' on Nevsky Prospekt.