An emerging cosmopolitanism in the eighteenth century bolstered the search for the foundations of a shared humanity across the boundaries of different cultures, which was one of the central aspects of Enlightenment thought. Similar ideas and principles transformed the traditions of European garden design in the second half of the eighteenth century with William Chambers's writings on Chinese gardens suggesting aesthetic values that both paralleled and rivalled those found in the English gardens of his contemporaries. In 1771, Catherine the Great translated Chambers's Designs of Chinese Buildings (1757) into Russian, which led to the creation of the largest complex of chinoiserie in any eighteenth-century European garden. Taking as my focus the gardens of Tsarskoye Selo, I explore the tensions between cosmopolitanism, exoticism, and imperialism in Russian garden design under Catherine the Great.

Contributor's Note

Jennifer Milam is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art (2011) and Fragonard's Playful Paintings: Visual Games in Rococo Art (2006), and co-editor with Melissa Hyde of Women, Art and The Politics of Identity in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2003). Her current project addresses cosmopolitanism and nationalism in eighteenth-century garden design.

Fig 1 Cameron_Perspective_1790s.jpg (290 kB)
Fig. 1 Cameron Gallery, Tsarskoye Selo

Fig 2 Great Hall.jpg (775 kB)
Fig. 2 View of the Great Hall, Chinese Palace

Fig 3 Muses.jpg (54 kB)
Fig. 3 View of the Muses Lounge, Chinese Palace

Fig 4 Chinese study.jpg (31 kB)
Fig. 4 View of the Chinese Study, Chinese Palace

Fig 5 glass beaded salon.jpg (32 kB)
Fig. 5 View of the Glass Beaded Salon, Chinese Palace

Fig 6 Catherine Great.jpg (904 kB)
Fig. 6 Vladimir Borovikovsky, Catherine the Great in the Gardens of Tsarskoye Selo

Fig_7_PlanofTsarskoyeSelo.jpg (758 kB)
Fig. 7 Plan of Tsarskoye Selo

Fig 8 chinese bridge.jpg (49 kB)
Fig. 8 Chinese Bridge, Tsarskoye Selo

Fig 9 Big kapriz.jpg (656 kB)
Fig. 9 Large Caprice, Tsarskoye Selo

Fig 10 Chinese village and pavillion.jpg (495 kB)
Fig. 10 Creaking Pavilion & The Chinese Village, Tsarskoye Selo

Fig 11 Turkish bathhouse Distance.jpg (466 kB)
Fig. 11 View of the Great Pond

Fig_12_Tsarskoye_Selo.jpg (423 kB)
Fig. 12 View of the Gardens of Tsarskoye Selo, 1790s