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Baroque Architecture Palaces

Updated on September 27, 2011
The pavillion at Catherine's palace.
The pavillion at Catherine's palace.
Cathrine's Palace, This, as with all of the palaces in the area, was heavily damaged by retreating German forces, but is now almost completely restored.
Cathrine's Palace, This, as with all of the palaces in the area, was heavily damaged by retreating German forces, but is now almost completely restored.
The Smolny Convent, St. Petersburg Russia
The Smolny Convent, St. Petersburg Russia
Kiev Mariinsky Palace, again featured in Francesco Rastrelli's distinguished aqua blue color.
Kiev Mariinsky Palace, again featured in Francesco Rastrelli's distinguished aqua blue color.
The Winter Palace, in a dusty blue likeness.
The Winter Palace, in a dusty blue likeness.
by Pietro Antonio Rotari
by Pietro Antonio Rotari

His works include the Andreas Church, Kiev (1747–68), renovations and extensions to the Summer Palace, Peterhof (1747–52), the Vorontsov (1743–57) and Stroganov (1750–4) Palaces, St Petersburg, the Smolny Cathedral and Convent, St Petersburg (1748–64), the Great Palace, Tsarskoe Selo (now Pushkin—1749–56), and the fourth Winter Palace, St Petersburg (1754–62), the last probably his finest achievement.

Featuring Aqua Blue

A fellow HubPages Hubber, James A. Watkins wrote a fascinating article about artistic masterpieces of the Baroque period, and the brilliant artists behind the paintings. After been inspired by his hub, I decided to write my own hub on the Baroque period, which happens to be a second favorite of the many different architectural movements of the past. The first of course, was the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century, which swept across Europe in a firestorm, before reaching the plateaus and empty spaces of American architecture. Forever gracing, many well known American universities, hotels, bridges, auditoriums, homes and other inspiring structures ablaze in style.

The master and senior expert drafter, behind the lush and extravagant Baroque architectural movement, was Count Francesco Rastrelli. A native of Italy, Rastrelli soon became the favorite of Russia’s very own Peter the Great’s daughter Elisabeth, who ruled Russia from 1741-1762. It was during the Czarina’s reign, that the fascinating and glorious city of St. Petersburg, obtained its magnificence in architecture, cultural attributes, and artistic style. As it was for Rastrelli, by the time of Elizabeth’s death, his reputation preceded him and was well-known for his use of applied opulence, which swelled throughout many of his different constructed fixtures.

Count Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli was born in Italy, 1700. His father was a sculptor and architect by trade, and was called to St Petersburg in 1715. Sometime during the 1720’s he studied with de Cotte in Paris, and was thought to have traveled through out the German and Italian countryside before fulfilling his natural calling, when he returned back to Russia in the early 1730’s.

It was not until after he designed, several important structures for the Empress Anna Ivanovna during a ten-year span, his consistent diligence to his architectural calling, launched his career and made him a well sought after star. His was then positioned as Court Architect to Empress Elisabeth Petrovna, upon the completion of BironPalace in Jelgava, Latvia in 1741. There he remained under her employment and care, until the Czarina’s death in 1762. Rastrelli died in Russia, 1771.

Rastrelli, like to fuse together thought provoking structures. Much of his inspiration was drawn from the years he spent traveling across France, Germany, Italy and Russia countryside early in his life. His creative features were accomplished attributes to these many different cultures.  Rastrelli, had an amazing ability to pick out and embrace cross-sectional planes, of each one of these particular culture’s personal design styles.  However, it was his natural born talent that shined, by the way he was able to marry these different architectural styles together.  In so doing, Rastrelli was able to create long facades, dominate cupolas, narrow curved dormers, eyelet window structures and circling windows. His highly individualized style after all- is what gave his structures (such as the WinterPalace) their personal, yet innate charm. By the time of his death, St. Petersburg, Russia was the foremost city in Europe, plastered together in the audacious style of Baroque architecture. It is worth noting, that the Baroque movement stood firmly as the sole style of architecture, for the ruling class of Eastern and Western European families in the mid and late 1700's.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Architects North Wales 

    8 years ago

    Examples of fantastic architecture and a very enjoyable hub to read. It is always fascinating seeing an initial design on paper become a unique building right in front of your eyes.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Great site...Especially love Russian Baroque design...

  • profile image

    Leta S 

    9 years ago

    Nice feature on lovely architecture, RK. That's an interesting, very naturalistic portrait for the era, too. It stands out from others of the Baroque period that I've seen. Glad to see you out and about HP...even if it was for a brief time.

  • RKHenry profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

    Hey Cris and Ralph, good to hear from you two. I appreciate the feedback. And Cris, maybe I'll do that. We all know that I live for history. Thanks again for coming by and reading my latest hub.

  • profile image

    Ralph Deeds 

    9 years ago

    Not my style, but your Hub is interesting. Thanks.

  • Cris A profile image

    Cris A 

    9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Baroque art and architecture is a feast for the eyes, so many many embellishments...just so many things to look and marvel at. Ah i miss doing 'art hubs'. More more hubs on architectural movements! Maybe you should do like a history? (like I did to painting). Thanks for sharing and it's nice to see you hubbing again :D


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