Monday, October 24, 2011

Catherine Palace in Pushkin

One of the major attractions of St. Petersburg is Catherine Palace in a suburb called Pushkin, around 20 kilometers from the city. It's truly a grand scale palace in the manner of Versailles in France. What really struck me at first was the combination of colors- blue, gold and white. It looked oddly familiar to me, where have I seen this beautiful color combination before?

Well hello there handsome! (yes you on the bottom right)

Before going in, we were asked to wear protective covering over our shoes so we wouldn't scratch the floors. 

You can almost imagine the grand balls that took place here!

I didn't know where to look. Ceiling? Floors? Walls? There were just too many things to focus on that I  could've actually stayed in one room scrutinizing the details. But the crowd had to move so we just went from room to room to room and to even more rooms.

Above this gilt border with cherubs is a trompe-l'eoil illusion of pillars and arches. Amazing perspective and technique.


And this is the ultimate gallery wall, if I've ever seen one. That tall blue structure in the middle of wall is the heating system, clad with delft blue tiles.

Every room has one of these heating systems.

Gilded gaudiness, but amazing nevertheless.  These are the wooden floors that we were protecting by wearing those shower caps on our feet! Look how beautiful they are, with different patterns all throughout the palace.

The famous "Amber room" is also in Catherine Palace, but we weren't allowed to take photos inside the room. I wasn't particularly blown away by the Amber room. For me, the Amber Room's history is much more interesting than the way it looks. Maybe I just don't like amber?

This here below is the favorite room of some royal person. Obviously I wasn't listening to the commentary anymore--I was just enjoying the visual feast.

The interiors of this room look like Wedgewood jasperware plates.

Plates! Ah yes! This palace reminds me of a set of plates I have at home!  I inherited a set of fine bone china plates from a grand-uncle who probably used it a lot in the 1960s. These plates could be considered ostentatious in this modern day of plain design and clean lines (meaning not many would really appreciate it), but my mom and sister know I like old things, so they sent it to me! They were right, I loved it immediately!

Do you see the resemblance?

So now they are called my "Catherine Palace plates",  and I will remember this beautiful palace, and this trip, whenever I use them.

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