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Venus Pavilion on the Island of Love

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Dedicated to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, the Pavilion is located on the Island of Love, a triangular island with artificial canals that separate it from the mainland. Washed by the waters of the White Lake on its three sides, this relatively small structure was designed by Vincenzo Brenna. It was modelled on the pavilion found on Prince de Conde’s estate at Chantilly, France. During his tour of Europe, the Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich enjoyed the pavilion and gave instructions to erect a similar one in his favourite Gatchina.

In 1791, canals were dug out and another two years were spent erecting and decorating the pavilion. Visitors reached the Pavilion by boat and entered a spacious hall after climbing steps and passing through huge, glazed doors. The interior featured fountains, wall paintings in the grisaille technique, and an enormous ceiling painting, The Triumph of Venus, painted by Johann Jacob Mettenleiter in 1797.