The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts under the Romanovs

Exhibition Website

Sep 30 2016 - Jan 6 2017

The Tsars’ Cabinet illuminates a period of sociopolitical change and comments on the fascinating personal lives of the members of the Romanov dynasty through a display of superbly crafted objects. Spanning 200 years of Russian history—from Peter the Great in the early 18th century to Nicholas II in the early 20th century—these objects, used both publicly and privately by the Romanovs, rise above functionality into the realm of art through ornate stylistic expression, exemplary craft, and thematic explorations of nationalism and militarism.

Made from porcelain, glass, enamel, silver gilt, and other materials, this collection dazzles through sheer size and sumptuous quality. Not only do these objects sketch a picture of the luxury of Russian court life in the midst of a modest, orthodox society, but they also illustrate Russia’s burgeoning desire to adopt elaborate European customs in order to play a central role in European affairs. The objects in The Tsars’ Cabinet—including plates, dishes, pitchers, glasses, cups, saucers, Easter eggs, and much more—reflect the individual tastes and styles of particular rulers, weaving together a compelling story of Russian history in all its beauty and complexity.

The Tsars’ Cabinet is developed from the Kathleen Durdin Collection and is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, The Tsars' Cabinet (Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts under the Romanovs), may be of interest.

  • Decorative Arts
  • European

Exhibition Venues & Dates