The Picture Gallery is one of the most remarkable of the interiors created by Brenna. Its great length, its slightly curving shape and the rows of windows on both sides make it highly suitable for the exhibition of pictures. This function dictated an extremely restrained architectural decor: walls painted a light uniform colour, a moulded cornice, and a painted ceiling with three panels executed in oil on can vas.
The subject of the central panel, which is a free version of Guido Reni's famous composition Aurora, or the Triumph of Apollo (now in Rome) and shows Apollo driving a chariot, accompanied by the nine muses, was chosen to emphasize the function of the hall.
Easel paintings played 'an important role in eighteenth-century interior decoration: they were intended to testify to the owners' cultivated taste. Yet pictures were acquired in a casual manner and hung only with an eye to their decorative effect. The dominating role in the Pavlovsk Picture Gallery belongs to large canvases by Italian and Flemish masters, painted expressly for display in palace apartments. The Gallery also contains smaller paintings by celebrated seventeenth-century Dutch masters - genre pieces and landscapes in the realistic manner, such as were generally used to decorate the houses of Dutch burghers. One of the large canvases, Expulsion from Paradise by Luca Giordano, notable for its dramatic colouring and strongly dynamic quality, ranks with the master's best works.
Among the gems of the gallery are the small genre canvases and landscapes by such Dutch masters as Gerard Terborch, Adriaen van Ostade, Jan van Goyen, Philips Wouverman and others, and the still lifes, typical of the Dutch School, by Pieter Claesz, Jan Baptist Weenix, and by Pieter van den Bas whose works are rarely to be seen in the world's art galleries.
Special mention should be made of Rubens's brilliant oil sketch for the painting Lamentation for the Dead Christ (now in the Antwerp Museum).
Many of the gallery's canvases were painted on the orders of the owners of the palace, among them some by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Angelica Kauffmann, Anton Raffael Mengs, Jules Vernet and Hubert Robert.
On the whole, the selection of canvases by painters fashionable in Western Europe is quite characteristic of the tastes prevailing in the second half of the eighteenth century.
The walls of the Picture Gallery are lined with beautiful vases of coloured stone, in a variety of shapes, produced at the Peterhof, Ekaterinburg and Kolyvan Stone Works. The serf masters who made them had a keen sense of the beauty of the stone, which they revealed through the techniques of their craft. The pink rhodonite with darkish spots, greenish Revniukha (Revnevskaya) jasper, dark brown Korgon porphyry, pale greenish-grey Kaikan jasper, each adds its own touch of colour to the decor of the gallery.
The interior is furnished with carved and gilded furniture, card tables of inlaid wood, crystal chandeliers with stems of blue glass, from the workshop of Pierre Gouthiere, candelabra on tripod stands, of faultless outline, with exquisite bronzework, a clock, etc.