Russian Classicism is a style of art prevalent in Russia in the second half of the XVIII – the first half of the XIX century. The acme of Russian Classicism skill is reflected in the architecture of St. Petersburg. The structures built by Charles Cameron in Tsarskoye Selo and Pavlovsk (Pavlovsk romanticism, Tsarskoye Selo classicism) occupy a special place. Many researchers of art emphasize that the creations of C. Cameron and G. Quarenghi in Russia are second to none even at the homeland of Classicism in Italy, in France and in England. The Europe of the XVIII and the beginning of the XIX century failed to achieve the majestic passion and quiet beauty of the architectural ensembles of St. Petersburg and its suburbs. Therefore, Russian Classicism reflects the essence of the unique and magnificent phenomenon in the history of world art. The size, compositional freedom, width, sense of space, fresh feeling of antiquity, softness and plasticity of draughtsmanship of the St. Petersburg’s Classicism style architecture are unparalleled. Perhaps it is Russia the favorable atmosphere of which has allowed many architects, namely, C. Cameron, A. Rinaldi, G. Quarenghi, A. Voronikhin and A. Zakharov, to reach the heights of Classical style. V. Kurbatov said: “Russian architects are honored to complete the last great style, Neo-Classical, in its two movements: Neo-Greek (or Louis XVI style) and Neo-Roman (or Empire style)”.
CLASSICISM STYLE. RUSSIAN CLASSICISM
The emergence and development of Classicism in Russia is connected with the name of the Empress Catherine II (1762-1796). Hence the name “Catherine’s Classicism”. The interiors of “Cameron Gallery” and the interiors of the palace in Tsarskoye Selo are distinguished by elegance of style and purity of proportions inherent to the architect C. Cameron. The Catherine’s Classicism played a huge role in shaping of the Russian capital’s image.
Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825) – giving the name to Alexander’s Classicism style – after taking the crown has continued the great undertakings of Catherine II. The main feature of this period was the desire for simplicity, clarity, and monumentality. The forms of ancient Greece were of great importance. With the construction of ensembles of Stock Exchange building and the Admiralty building, the center of the city received its final image having no equals in the world. Leading role of the French influence is a distinctive feature of the Alexander’s Classicism. Later on it has developed into Russian Empire style of C. Rossi and V. Stasov. The Russian Empire style is distinguished by elegance. The strength of this style is so great that hitherto St. Petersburg is primarily associated with the image of imperial, Empire style city.