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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Elizabeth Petrovna

b. 1709, near Moscow; d. 1762, Saint Petersburg

In 1741, Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great, engineered a coup and proclaimed herself empress of Russia. Although preoccupied with the creation of a lavish court in the manner of her predecessor, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth did encourage education and the arts, founding Russia’s first university, in Moscow, and an Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. The defining event of her reign, however, was the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), in which she managed to curb the power of the Prussian king but died before the war’s resolution.