Representing Russia: Luxury and Diplomacy at the Razumovsky Palace in Vienna, 1803–1815
Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This essay explores the role of luxury in the social and diplomatic life of Count Andrey Razumovsky (1752–1836), Russian ambassador to Austria during the Napoleonic Wars. Focusing on Razumovsky’s making of an embassy during the heyday of his estate, roughly 1803 to 1815, it examines his cultivation of English landscape gardening, neoclassical architecture, and Viennese music in relation to ideas of European representational culture and Russian Westernization. Through his engagement with horticulture, architecture, and music, Razumovsky displayed not only his wealth and status but also his cosmopolitan sensibility. His representational efforts emphasize the interrelated nature of private and professional concerns among early nineteenth-century diplomats. They also highlight the plurality of actors mobilized in diplomatic representation. In addition to the artists and musicians in his service, Razumovsky’s first wife, Maria Elizabeth von Thun-Hohenstein (1764–1806), contributed to the palace’s life and design. Her activities as salonnière and political confidante illustrate how closely private and professional spheres overlapped.