Catherine. The Greatest, Self-Polished Diamond of the Hermitage


The name of Catherine the Great has always been surrounded with stories and superlatives, often about her private life and court intrigues. This book gives us a closer look at the life of the famous Russian tsarina.

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At the age of fourteen, Catherine the Great (1729-1796) was a German princess just married off to the Russian tsar. She would later overthrow her husband, Peter III, and claimed the throne for herself. Catherine would become the greatest tsarina of all times. She had ambitious plans to reform the whole empire and acted with great foresight. Although she encountered setbacks, her achievements were astounding. She added new territories to her empire, such as the Crimea. Well-known as a great lover of the arts, she amassed one of the world’s premier art collections. An enlightened monarch, she also corresponded with the French philosophers Voltaire and Diderot. Over the years, Catherine became a highly polished diamond of her own making.

250 years after Catherine founded the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents “Catherine,  The Greatest, Self-Polished Diamond of the Hermitage”. Besides detailing her life, this books also functions as a catalogue to the museum’s exhibition of the same name, which shows her many dazzling personal treasures.

Hermitage Amsterdam

The Hermitage Amsterdam takes it as their mission to draw upon art and history to inspire, enrich, and offer the opportunity for reflection. By way of their exhibitions and activities, the museum presents world heritage from the collections of various museums in innovative ways. The museum also houses collections from other museums, including the Amsterdam Museum, the Rijksmuseum (the exhibition Portrait Gallery of the 17th Century), and Museum van de Geest | Dolhuys (Museum of the Mind | Outsider Art).

The museum is housed in the Amstelhof, a historical building that used to be a home for the elderly from the late 15th all the way to the early 21th century. Only in 2007, the last residents were moved out of the building, which was in dire need of renovation. Two years later, on 20 June 2009 the Hermitage Amsterdam was opened to the public with the launch of the exhibition At the Russian court.


Binding method



9789078653608, 9789078653615


Dutch, English



Publication date

June 2016


De Nieuwe Kerk/Hermitage Amsterdam


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