Catherine the Great Called for Vaccination


On 20 April 1787 Empress Catherine the Great wrote the first known document calling for vaccination in Russia. Concerned about small pox, she wrote “Among other subjects…one of the most important should be the institution of vaccination”, she wrote to Field Marshal Count Pyotr Rumyantsev. She explained in detail how to arrange this at the state level. For without vaccination there would be “great harm, especially in the common people,” she wrote.

The letter is included in MacDougall’s auction of Russian art in London on 1 December 2021. It will be sold together with a masterpiece by Dmitry Levitsky, “Portrait of Empress Catherine”. This museum quality portrait of the Tsarina by the great master and the letter are on offer as one lot (£ 800,000-1,200,000).

These and other top lots from the MacDougall’s London auction of Important Russian Art will be on exhibit in Moscow 19-30 November, 2021. MacDougall’s is one of the largest auction houses in the world for Russian art.

Other highlights of the auction include a rare lifetime “Portrait of Peter I” by J. Kupetsky together with the official Russian-Prussian treaty of 1714, signed personally by Peter I. According to this unique state document, the lands conquered from Sweden, in particular Karelia with the cities of Narva and Vyborg, were transferred to Russia and Estland with the city of Revel. (£ 600,000-900,000). The portrait was painted by Kupetsky three years earlier in 1711 during the Emperor’s stay in Torgau on the occasion of the wedding of Tsarevich Alexei to Crown Princess Charlotte Christina Sophia. Until now, no Moscow museum can boast of a lifetime portrait of Peter.

Another work at the Moscow exhibition of the London auction will be a pearl of Russian classical art, a virtuoso genre scene by V. Makovsky “Outpost on the way of the wedding train” 1888 (£ 450,000-600,000). The proposed lot is a great example of the artist’s creativity, reflecting his skill in working out all the details of the composition and deep knowledge of national traditions and rituals.

The painting by S. Vinogradov “On the Balcony” (£ 220,000- 400,000), painted during the period of the master’s creative heyday in 1916, will also attract the attention of collectors. Russian Artists “in 1916-1917.

The Soviet period of painting will be represented by the monumental  one-and-a-half-meter  canvas  “Still  Life  with

Peonies and Carnations” by A. Gerasimov (£ 250,000-280,000). The painting was exhibited at a retrospective exhibition organized for the 135th anniversary of the master’s birth.

The exhibition will also feature paintings by K. Petrov-Vodkin, I. Brodsky, R. Falk, A. Osmerkin, K. Yuon, K. Gorbatov, Y. Pimenov, K. Zdanevich, V. Weisberg, O. Vasiliev, I. Chuikov, B. Orlova and others.

The appearance at the auction of these historic pieces presents an unrivalled chance for collectors and patrons of the arts.

Exhibition of Masterpieces of Russian Art

MacDougall’s Auction House Presents in Moscow An Exhibition of Highlights of its London 1 Dec auction

19 – 30 November 2021, Zubov House, Alexander Solzhenitsyn St., 9, bldg. 1, Moscow, Russia MacDougall’s London Auction of Important Russian Art, 1 December, 2021, 2pm


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