Catherine the Great, The Empress of Russia, considered herself to be an enlightened ruler. Like many enlightened minds of the eighteenth century, she was fascinated with classical antiquity, especially with ancient Rome. In 1779, she invited a Scottish architect named Charles Cameron to complete a series of building projects for her that would create a "second Rome" in Tsarskoye Selo and in Pavlovsk, Russia. Cameron, an expert on classical antiquity because of his studies of the Roman ruins and the publication of his book, The Baths of the Romans, had a special interest in and a dedication to classical antiquity, desiring to make Catherine's Rome as "authentic" as possible. Cameron's expertise was not the only reason why Catherine hired him and made him her imperial architect; Catherine was also fascinated with his background as a Scottish aristocrat and the leader of the Lochiel clan in exile. However, Cameron falsified his identity as a Highlander to make himself more attractive to Catherine; in addition, his own skill in creating an entirely new identity made him more qualified to produce a simulation of Rome that would seem real. Catherine's fascination with Cameron could also be explained by the fact that both Catherine and Cameron were foreigners trying to validate their presence in Russia through their identities. But regardless of Cameron's true identity, his wonderful buildings are great contributions to the eighteenth century neoclassicism.
College and Department
Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bell, Inna A., "Building the New Rome: Charles Cameron as the Architect of Catherine the Great's New Eternal City" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3388.
Charles Cameron, Catherine the Great, neoclassicism, Enlightenment, Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Cameron Gallery, Agate Rooms, Tsarskoye Selo, Temple of Friendship, Pavlovsk