Tsars & Knights
The Romanovs' love affair with the Middle ages
Straight from the State Hermitage’s world-famous medieval art collection and the Arsenal, we present an amazing tale of knights and ladies, of courtly love and of chivalric tournaments. Fascination with the Middle Ages was widespread throughout nineteenth-century Europe and the tsars shared in it to the full. In 1885, Tsar Alexander III snapped up a celebrated art collection including countless medieval objets d’art just as it was to be auctioned off in Paris. The entire French art world was in shock! Nicholas I, de ‘chivalrous tsar’, created an Arsenal filled with unique suits of armour and antique weapons. Now, for the first time, top items from these two collections are coming to Western Europe. Star works are Hugo van der Goes’s phenomenal triptych The Adoration of the Magi and a true Garden of Earthly Delights by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch. And a host of outstanding ecclesiastical treasures, including renowned Limoges enamels. Among the real eye-openers is a magnificent, 500-year-old manuscript of the Roman de la Rose, the much-discussed, erotically charged bestseller of the Middle Ages. And, for the knight-errant or romantic medieval damsel in you: a spectacular jousting display featuring superb suits of armour – including one worn by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V!