A Curious Tsar
Peter the Great and Discovering Nature’s Secrets in Amsterdam
Authors: José Bouman & Cis van Heertum
In 2013, the Hermitage in Amsterdam offered a major exhibition on Peter the Great: an Inspired Tsar. The EFM decided to offer a small parallel exhibition to highlight a fascinating but little explored aspect of Peter the Great’s interest in the world around him. When the Tsar visited the Dutch Republic, he visited wealthy collectors, admired their cabinets of curiosities, and relished the spirit of innovation and experiment, which he transported back to Russia to help remodel his empire along modern lines. A fascinating but little explored aspect of the Tsar’s wide interest in the world around him is his interest in alchemical medicine. He even employed a personal physician, the Scotsman Robert Erskine, who was a ‘chymical’ physician.
The exhibition catalogue focuses on Peter the Great’s interest in Wunderkammer or Cabinets of Curiosities as a reflection of his wider interest in the study of nature; perceptions of Peter the Great as a Man with a Mission, and the alchemical library of the Tsar’s personal physician Robert Erskine.
Keywords: Alchemical medicine, religion, esotericism, science, Peter the Great
Year of Publication: 2013
Number of pages: 59
Publisher: in de pelikaan
E-book available: Yes
Available in other languages: Dutch