The state apartments of the first floor of the palace, finished and decorated in 1798 by Brenna, terminate in the Church Gallery. Originally conceived as a "hall of antiques" to house ancient Roman statues and cinerary urns, it is lavishly ornamented with stucco mouldings. Relief panels in the classical style, depicting processions, sacrificial ceremonies and bacchanalian dances, adorn the upper part of the walls. Other elements of wall decoration are ornamental cornices, moulded female masks, swags of flowers and panels of the Grecian fret. The pale green of the walls and the ceiling which is painted in grisaille in imitation of stucco-work, add to the unity of the decorative scheme.
"Halls of antiques" of this kind were a common feature of Russia's palaces in the second half of the eighteenth century, when the vogue for classical art, which began after the discoveries at Pompeii, reached its height.
The Pavlovsk collection of ancient Roman sculpture consists mainly of works dating back to the first - third centuries. Most of the statues were acquired in 1782 in Italy, while others came from the famous collection of the Englishman Lyde Browne from whom they were purchased by Catherine II for the Hermitage.
Two Roman statues of the second century AD deserve special mention. One represents Annia Galeria Faustina, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, as Venus; the other is a Resting Satyr, a copy of the famous fourth-century BC sculpture of Praxiteles.
In the early months of the War of 1941-45 all antique and other sculptures were walled up in the basement of the Pavlovsk Palace. Only three statues, too heavy to be moved, remained in the Church Gallery; they were scorched by fire and broken. Two of these, Roman Wearing a Toga and Nymph with a Sea Shell. have since been restored.