THE next illustrated talk for the Gibraltar Decorative and Fine Arts Society on February 15 is about a woman who has intrigued historians for centuries.
‘More Russian than the Russians’ looks at the life of Catherine the Great, the most renowned and longest ruling female leader of Russia.
Catherine II was born in Prussia and came to power after her husband Peter III was assassinated and reigned from 1762 until her death in 1796 aged 67.
Many historians agree that Catherine was one of Europe’s most enlightened rulers who wrote numerous books and educational material aimed at improving Russia’s education system.
She was also a champion of the arts, keeping up a lifelong correspondence with Voltaire and other prominent minds of the era, creating one of the world’s most impressive art collections in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace now home to the famed Hermitage Museum.
She not only built the Hermitage for her 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 34,000 casts and pastes 10,000 drawings and a natural history collection that filled two large galleries, she also commissioned monuments, statuary, and gardens, founded academies and journals, bought Diderot's library, and wrote librettos for operas and satirical plays.
This formidable woman who was said to have "the charm of Cleopatra and the soul of Caesar" also did everything she could to become more Russian than the Russians.
Marie-Anne Mancio, an ardent artist that runs history study tours abroad, is delivering this fascinating subject.
This illustrated talk at The O'Callaghan Eliott Hotel begins at 7.30pm, with drinks and nibbles and a chance to meet the speaker from 6.30pm.
Guests are welcome – tickets cost £12.00 at the door or pre book at www.BuyTickets.gi