By: Margrethe Floryan
263 pages, Col/b/w photos, col/b/w illus
The reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796) marks a high point in the history of Imperial Russia. Contacts with the West, begun in the days of Peter the Great (1682-1725), were intensified, and Western European art and culture pervaded the lifestyle of the Imperial court, the landed aristocracy and urban elite. One field where Western influence was strongly felt was gardening aesthetics. The regal symmetry of French absolutism was imitated in the gardens of the great Imperial palaces. The British garden tradition, too, found new forms of expression, abandoning the romantic lushness of the English landscape garden for a more austere use of colours better suited to the brief summers and severe winters of central Russia.
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