Empress Catherine II

Samuel Friedrich Ivanovich Hallberg
Cast by B. Ekimov Russian
Chased by A. Ambyen

Not on view

Hallberg, a sculptor of Swedish origin, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg and in Rome. In 1831 Czar Nicholas I commissioned from him a large marble statue of Catherine II for the conference hall of the Saint Petersburg Academy. This commission gained Hallberg a permanent appointment as professor at this prestigious institution. The bronze is a reduced version of the marble. The empress is depicted as a classical Roman ruler or deity wearing a laurel wreath and a richly draped robe and holding a scroll. The klismos throne chair, stripped to its bold essentials and strikingly beautiful in its curving and absolute purity, refers reassuringly to a settled past. It underlines Catherine's characterization as the embodiment of stately authority. Combined with her heroic appearance all'antiqua (in the antique manner), all this strongly emphasizes her reputation as "The Great Catherine."

Empress Catherine II, Samuel Friedrich Ivanovich Hallberg (1787–1839), Bronze, Russian

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