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With more than 1,800 objects on loan from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, the exhibition will fill the Amstelhof - the historic, newly restored home of Hermitage Amsterdam - from June 20, 2009 to January 31, 2010, as it recreates life at the Russian court during the nineteenth century: a period that spanned the reigns of six tsars, from the little-known Paul I, son of Catherine the Great, to the tragic Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia.

One entire exhibition wing of Hermitage Amsterdam will be devoted to the elaborate protocol of the nineteenth-century Russian court, with its public demonstrations of power and opulence.

St Petersburg Visitors will move from the great audience hall into a section of the exhibition concerned with St Petersburg and its environs.

Seven cabinets alongside the great hall will display views of St Petersburg and the surrounding countryside, as seen in paintings, watercolors, drawings, photographs and films.

Among the objects that will bring these subjects to life will be hundreds of exceptionally rich ball gowns and other costumes, magnificent court paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Ilya Repin, extraordinary items of furniture including the famous Romanov throne, impressive pieces of jewellery by makers such as Faberg, vast and valuable dinner services and the last tsarinas own grand piano.Another striking feature of the presentation will be the projection of images from the film Russian Ark, which was photographed entirely in the Hermitage in St Petersburg by the Russian director Alexander Sokurov.These images will combine with music and revolving display cases to create the impression of a nineteenth-century ball taking place within the Hermitage Amsterdam.An Audience at Court Audiences were the public face of the Russian court and so played a key role in official life.They were held in St Georges Hall, also known as the Great Throne Room, in the Winter Palace, where the tsar of all the Russians would stand with his wife by the throne on the podium.

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