CATHERINE THE GREAT AND WORLD'S RECOGNITION OF RUSSIAN IMPERIAL PORCELAIN III.
During Catherine’s reign most of the attention was focused on form and sculpture of the item. Consequently, painting developed as a decorative addition to the form of the porcelain. Within porcelain painting a few trends can be identified. They include miniature, portrait, floral and arabesque paintings.
Miniature paintings featured various landscapes and scenes of St Petersburg and Russian country side. They were usually painted in an oval or round medallion on plates and other pieces. Portrait painting mostly sought to depict Catherine as the greatest Russian Empress and pay tribute to her superior leadership. However, other members of the royal family were featured on porcelain pieces.
The most popular painting of the time represents floral paintings. At this time the floral designs started to appear on dishes within small or large borders. Mostly the depicted flowers are realistic however some are conventionalized. Lastly, arabesque designs became very popular among the artists of the factory. Arabesque designs imitated the ornamental patterns of Pompey. They were only applied to the most exquisite porcelain items that were not intended for sale. Such sets remained with the Royal court.
During Catherine’s reign the factory began working with gold. Empress particularly enjoyed designs completed on golden background. Another popular background that emerged at this time was the dark cobalt background. It was very common for small golden decorations to appear on the dark cobalt background. Some of the ornaments became very complex with various decorative elements such as flowers, broken and smooth lines and geometric figures.
Overall, the colors and the designs improved greatly during Catherine’s reign. New designs and backgrounds appeared during this time. Even though porcelain painting remained a dependent element of the porcelain form, it became very creative and exceptionally beautiful.