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The Stroganov Palace

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The Stroganov Palace

The Stroganov Palace is a unique monument of 18th-century architecture. There are two principal periods in the history of the building. The first period is connected with the architect Mikhail Zemtsov, who began the construction in the early 1740s. From 1753, the work was continued by the more famous architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who turned the building into a palace in the Baroque style, keeping the original foundation and main walls of the Zemtsov edifice. The palace’s exterior has remained nearly unchanged since that time. This is the three-storey building with facades facing Nevsky Prospekt and the Moika River. The centers of these facades are distinguished with columns supporting a complexly formed entablature, while the Stroganov Coat of Arms crowns the composition.

Among the interiors designed by Rastrelli the Large (Ball) Room decorated with stuccowork and a plafond by Giuseppe Valeriani has been preserved with little alteration. Later on, many famous St Petersburg architects worked in the palace. The most essential reconstruction is attributed to Andrei Voronikhin, who designed the Grand Staircase and Dining Room, Mineral Study, Picture Gallery and Physics Study from 1790 to 1800. This was the second important period in the history of the building.

The Stroganovs were collectors, patrons and benefactors who made invaluable contributions to Russian culture. The most famous representative of the dynasty was Alexander Stroganov (1737–1811), who was a collector of Western European painting and applied art, a benefactor of artists, literary men and composers, the president of the Imperial Academy of Arts and the director of the Public Library. The most important achievement of his life, however, was the construction of the Kazan Cathedral (architect Andrei Voronikhin.)

In 1919, the Palace became a museum. The Stroganov collection was sold or scattered across different museums all over Russia and many other countries. In 1988, the Stroganov Palace was included in the museum complex of the State Russian Museum. Since that time, the research and restoration works have been carried out there. Nowadays visitors can see a considerable part of the palace’s unique interiors and some collections of the famous dynasty.

The Project “The Russian Museum: the Virtual Branch”
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