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Monday, 29 September 2008

The State Hermitage


The State Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings situated along the embankment of the River Neva, right in the heart of St Petersburg. The leading role in this unique architectural ensemble is played by the Winter Palace, the residence of the Russian tsars that was built to the design of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754-62. This ensemble, formed in the 18th and 19th centuries, is extended by the eastern wing of the General Staff building, the Menshikov Palace and the recently constructed Repository.

Put together throughout two centuries and a half, the Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Today the Museum is creating its digital self-portrait to be displayed around the world. Computer technologies enable the State Hermitage Museum to provide people from all over the world with wider access to information about the Museum and its treasures.


Below are some pieces from Hermitage that I love.



Grand Coronation Carriage

Crouching Boy - Michelangelo


Statue of Jupiter
Aphrodite (Tauride Venus)

Cupid

"Pensive" bodhisattva Padmapani

The Death of Adonis - Giuseppe Mazzuoli

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Boat Trip on Neva River and its Canals

Pictures of buildings on the bank of river Neva taken during the boat trip I took with my friend. Beautiful architecture,interesting details.I enjoyed each moment of this trip. :) Hope you like the pictures too.

The Palace of Beloselskih-Belozerskih

The Big Dramatic Theatre

Mihailovskiy Castle


Friday, 19 September 2008

Catherine's Palace - Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo)

The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russia engaged the German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1733, Empress Anna commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand the Catherine Palace. Empress Elizabeth, however, found her mother's residence outdated and incommodious and in May 1752 asked her court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years and on 30 July 1756 the architect presented the brand-new 325-meter-long palace to the Empress, her dazed courtiers and stupefied foreign ambassadors.


During Elizabeth's lifetime, the palace was famed for its obscenely lavish exterior. More than 100 kilograms of gold were used to gild the sophisticated stucco fa├žade and numerous statues erected on the roof. It was even rumoured that the palace's roof was constructed entirely of gold. In front of the palace a great formal garden was laid out. It centres on the azure-and-white Hermitage Pavilion near the lake, designed by Zemtsov in 1744, overhauled by Rastrelli in 1749 and formerly crowned by a grand gilded sculpture representing The Rape of Persephone. The interior of the pavilion featured dining tables with dumbwaiter mechanisms. The grand entrance to the palace is flanked by two massive "circumferences", also in the Rococo style. A delicate iron-cast grille separates the complex from the town of Tsarskoe Selo.



Although the palace is popularly associated with Catherine the Great, she actually regarded its "whipped cream" architecture as old-fashioned. When she ascended the throne, a number of statues in the park were being covered with gold, in accordance with the last wish of Empress Elizabeth, yet the new monarch had all the works suspended upon being informed about the expense. In her memoirs she censured the reckless extravagance of her predecessor: "The palace was then being built, but it was the work of Penelope: what was done today, was destroyed tomorrow. That house has been pulled down six times to the foundation, then built up again ere it was brought to its present state. The sum of a million six hundred thousand rubles was spent on the construction. Accounts exist to prove it; but besides this sum the Empress spent much money out of her own pocket on it, without ever counting".


In order to gratify her passion for antique and Neoclassical art, Catherine employed the Scottish architect Charles Cameron who not only refurbished the interior of one wing in the Neo-Palladian style then in vogue, but also constructed the personal apartments of the Empress, a rather modest Greek Revival structure known as the Agate Rooms and situated to the left from the grand palace. Noted for their elaborate jasper decor, the rooms were designed so as to be connected to the Hanging Gardens, the Cold Baths, and the Cameron Gallery (still housing a collection of bronze statuary) - three Neoclassical edifices constructed to Cameron's designs. According to Catherine's wishes, many remarkable structures were erected for her amusement in the Catherine Park. These include the Dutch Admiralty, Creaking Pagoda, Chesme Column, Rumyantsev Obelisk, and Marble Bridge.


Saturday, 13 September 2008

Random Pictures from my Stroll Yesterday

Me with an eagle :) It was quite interesting and exciting experience,it was even a bit scary

Kazanskiy Cathedral



Mihaylovsky Theater

Details from Russian Museum's Fence



Details from the Russian Ethnography Museum



Pushkin's Statue

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The Main Cathedral of the Russian Empire

St.Isaac Cathedral




St. Isaac's Cathedral was originally the city's main church and the largest cathedral in Russia. It was built between 1818 and 1858, by the French-born architect Auguste Montferrand, to be one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial capital. One hundred and eighty years later the gilded dome of St. Isaac's still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Although the cathedral is considerably smaller than the newly rebuilt Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, it boasts much more impressive fades and interiors.

The cathedral's facades are decorated with sculptures and massive granite columns (made of single pieces of red granite), while the interior is adorned with incredibly detailed mosaic icons, paintings and columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. A large, brightly colored stained glass window of the "Resurrected Christ" takes pride of place inside the main altar. The church, designed to accommodate 14,000 standing worshipers, was closed in the early 1930s and reopened as a museum. Today, church services are held here only on major ecclesiastical occasions.




The south portico has three enormous double shuttered doors made from electroplated or cast bronze over solid oak. Each panel weighs ten tons and they can only be moved on their hinges with the help of the gearing that is built into the walls. The composition of the doors is multi-levelled and consists of bas-relief panels put into caissons. These multi-figured doors were designed by Montferrand in 1840 and Vitali created them with the assistance of sculptor R. Zaleman. Of particular interest to us on this site are the scenes of Alexander Nevsky having his altercation with the Swedes, which are depicted on two of these South doors. The doors of the West entrance are less ornate but tastefully decorated with images of apostles Peter and Paul.