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Fifteenth- to Seventeenth-century French Painting

Fifteenth- to Seventeenth-century French Painting


For the first time in English, this lavishly illustrated catalogue presents the collection of fifteenth- to seventeenth-century French paintings in the world famous Hermitage Museum.


Including many well-known works, notably those by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, this catalogue represents the first full publication in English of the whole of the Hermitage Museum’s collection of French seventeenth-century paintings, as well as seven paintings dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Since the publication of the Russian edition in 2018 the text has been considerably reworked and supplemented, with new photography and the addition of one further painting. It thus marks an important milestone in the history of the Hermitage Picture Gallery.


The Hermitage collection of French painting is one of the largest and most significant outside France. All the leading artists of the seventeenth century are represented and there are key works by some less famous names (for instance, signed paintings by Pierre Cauchy and Jean Daret).


This catalogue also throws light on the history of collecting in France and Russia from the seventeenth to early twentieth century. Paintings that were once in the most famous collections in France made their way to Russia from the middle of the eighteenth century. Catherine the Great acquired French seventeenth-century works among her first purchase of pictures in 1764; more than thirty arrived with the Crozat de Thiers collection that she bought in 1772, and sixteen arrived with Sir Robert Walpole’s collection from Houghton Hall in 1779. Four famous Claudes were bought by Catherine’s grandson Alexander I from the estate of the late Empress Josephine at Malmaison in 1815.


More than a third of the paintings arrived in the Hermitage after the Revolutions of 1917, some from the collections of noble families established in the eighteenth century (the Yusupovs and the Stroganovs), others from more recent collections formed by statesmen and the growing wealthy middle class (Myatlev and Oliv). Many of the works that arrived in the museum in the 1920s and 1930s had no established provenance: as part of the research for this book, the author has worked with other

scholars at the Hermitage to discover the collections from which the paintings derived.

  • Natalia Serebriannaia

    Hardback, 300 x 240 mm

    480 pages, 350 colour illus.

    ISBN: 978-1-913645-25-0

  • The Hermitage Foundation UK

    The Hermitage Foundation UK (HFUK) is a registered charity, promoting and supporting The State Hermitage Museum across the United Kingdom. HFUK undertakes a range of activities including facilitating exhibitions, loans and acquisitions, and running a curatorial exchange programme between UK institutions and the State Hermitage.

    Since 2006 the Foundation has led a major publishing programme, translating Hermitage collection catalogues into English, including Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Flemish Painting, Persian Manuscripts, Paintings and Drawings, and Copper, Brass and Bronze of Iran. Fifteenth- to Seventeenth-century French Painting will be followed by French Painting 1860–2000 and Seventeenth-century Dutch Painting.

  • About the author

    Natalia Serebriannaia is keeper of seventeenth-century French painting at The StateHermitage Museum.

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