Catherine The Great : The Failure Of Catherine The Great

978 Words4 Pages
Catherine the Great, also known as Catherine II, born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, seized the throne in 1762. When Russia was an absolute monarchy that was placed at the despotic end of the spectrum which extended through the Prussia to the France and only abstained in 1796 upon her death. Catherine was known as a 'Cultural Minerva', according to one of Catherines early biographers, Alexander Briickner, “She liked to be called Minerva. ... She greatly needed to be praised all the time. ... The thought of failure was most difficult for her." It was from this that she erected the Hermitage in 1764, also in this year she became the the founder and patron of the Russian Academy of Arts. Each of these both show her to be a woman of great pride, and authority, if it was not for her 'personal vanity' she would not have aimed for these titles. Though this may seem overtly pessimistic Catherine lost interest quickly in the Academy of Arts after she became its patron. Falconet, a contemporary writer, criticized the Russian Minerva for neglecting the institution founded under her auspices. Though she did neglect the Academy of Arts due to her vanity, she was a true collector of antiquities, as the Hermitage was her personal gallery to demonstrate her wealth. It was the Hermitage which imbued power throughout Russia, the museum was what Foucault would call the perfect "other" place, or "heterotopia," "a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.' Other academics such as Karen Dovey, refers to different forms of power; 'power over' and the 'power under.' Catherine uses the 'power over' as it is the power over one agent (or group) over another, the power to ensure compliance over the other one's will. This is how Catherine ran her authoritarian state. Dovey, also speaks about ways in which the 'power over' can be implemented; such as seduction, authority, or domination, which Catherine was guilty of employing all of those tactics, many of them were just using the Hermitage to intimidate the society by showing her grandeur. The architecture was a key part in the control over
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