Voltaire Library


Department of Philology. Autotype. Photo by F. Korobov


"... Bookcases, arranged along the walls, contain the Greek and Roman classics, both original texts and translations into all languages. The works of Oriental writers are placed in the first two bookcases to the left of the entrance ..."  

" Between the bookcasess, there are beautiful large plaster copies of the world's most famous statues: Apollo Belvedere, Minerva Medica, Vesta and Hermes by Praxiteles of Athens. In the back of the room, opposite to the entrance, is a full-length portrait of Alexander I. It was painted in the year of the Emperor's death by the celebrated artist George Dawe ..."

Imperial Public Library Guidebook. 1860



Voltaire Library

The founder of our library, Catherine the Great was a patron of arts and an avid bibliophile and collector. She was especially intrested in the French literature and philosophy of the Enlightenment. For many years, she exchanged letters with the French enlightener Voltaire, one of her favorite authors. After his death, Catherine II decided to purchase Voltaire's library. The library was sold by Marie-Louise Denis, Voltaire’s niece and heir.

To provide suitable facilities for the preservation of the Voltaire Library and to make the collection better known, the Centre for Study of the Enlightenment was established in our library in 2003. The great thinker’s library lies at the heart of this centre.

The center occupies two rooms, one of which is memorial. It houses the library itself and a bronze copy of the famous seated statue of Voltaire by Jean Antoine Houdon.


Photo Gallery


Architects of the NLR.
Fragment with views of the Voltaire Library
Voltaire Library
History of the Voltaire Library
Tour of the Voltaire Library 
(The film is in Russian)
Voltaire and Russo
Voltaire and Rousseau: Irreconcilable Contradiction?
Chateau de Voltare
Russian Replica of Voltaire’s Château