Olga's Gallery

Catherine II the Great, Empress of Russia


Catherine II the Great, Empress of Russia (1729-1796) from 1762. She was born in Stettin, the daughter of the Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst. In 1745 she married Grand Duke Peter Fedorovich, heir to the Russian throne and future Emperor Peter III, who was a weak and unstable man. She suffered a lot from the intrigues of the court of Elizaveta Petrovna, but managed to secure many allies, who helped her to dethrone her husband, Emperor Peter III, in 1762, who, after his ascension, had banished Catherine to a separate abode and was going to divorce her. Catherine was made an empress. A few days afterwards Peter III was murdered by Alexey Orlov and her other allies. From that time on the internal politics were court intrigues for and against one favorite or another, Gregory Potemkin being the best known. The government was carried on with great energy, and the dominions and power of Russia rapidly increased. The first partition of Poland in 1772 and the Turkish war (1774) vastly increased the empire; so did a war with Sweden (1790) and another Turkish war (1792). The second and third partitions of Poland and the incorporation of Courland into Russia completed the triumphs of Catherine's reign.
See: Aleksey Antropov. Portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseevna, Future Empress Catherine II the Great. Portrait of Catherine II the Great.
Vladimir Borovikovsky.  Portrait of Catherine II, Empress of Russia.
Johann Baptist Lampi the Elder. Portrait of Catherine II the Great.
Dmitry Levitzky. Portrait of Catherine II as Legislator in the Temple of the Goddess of Justice.
Fedor Rokotov. Portrait of Catherine II.

Other reading:

Catherine the Great by Henri Troyat, Joan Pinkham. Meredian Books, 1994.
Great Catherine by Carolly Erickson. St. Martin's Press, 1995.
Catherine the Great: A Short History by Isabel De Madariage. Yale University Press, 1993.

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