On Saturday, April 9th Dr. Ekaterina Heath presented as a part of our Second Saturday online lecture series.

The talk considered various pieces of Russian art in Chinese style, analyzing how chinoiserie effected Grand Duchess Elisabeth Petrovna and court life.

Heath considered ways in which the malleability of art in Chinese style reflected changing meanings of the East, while reinforcing Russian court culture and politics. Ultimately, her presentation argued that chinoiserie’s multiple meanings served Elisabeth to challenge the norms of her gender to support her legitimacy to rule while delicately balancing diplomatic impressions.

In addition to Elisabeth Petrovna, the lecture covered other notable Russian rulers and their palaces as influenced by chinoiserie and the Empresses’ designs. Following the presentation, the audience participated in a comprehensive question and answer session.

The Second Saturday lecture series is supported in part with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

About the Speaker

Dr. Ekaterina Heath is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney. She has published essays on Russian eighteenth-century art and gardens. Her recent articles include “Grand Tour Memories In Maria Feodorovna’s Pavlovsk Park, St Petersburg, 1782–1825” (with Emma Gleadhill), “Giving women history: a history of Ekaterina Dashkova through her gifts to Catherine the Great and others,” and “Sowing the Seeds for Strong Relations: Seeds and Plants as Diplomatic Gifts for the Russian Empress Maria Fedorovna.”

She is finishing a book on Empress Maria Fedorovna’s use of Pavlovsk Park to influence Russian politics.

This lecture is based on a chapter that Ekaterina Heath wrote with Professor Jennifer Milam. It will be published shortly in the volume Russian Orientalism in a Global Context (edited by Maria Taroutina and Allison Leigh).