"The Collections of the Romanovs celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg by exploring the role of the Romanov dynasty as collectors of fine and decorative arts. The book features the great masterworks of western European art collected and prized by Romanov tsars, from Peter the Great (ruled 1721-25) to Nicholas II (ruled 1874-1918). Included are masterpieces of painting, drawing, printmaking, porcelain, silver and textile--over 100 works in all, drawn exclusively from the extraordinary collection of the State Hermitage museum in St Petersburg. The works are presented chronologically, allowing the reader to understand the role of successive Russian rulers, the evolution of taste, and changing values as applied to Western art practice. The interaction between East and West--including Russian cultural consumption of western European tastes--emerges as a major theme. The book also advances our knowledge of taste and patronage in Russia. Sumptuously illustrated, this book is required reading for anyone interested in Russia's imperial past.