The ensemble of the Palace Square and the Square of Decambrists was being created for a long time and little by little it had become a model of architectural perfection and thinking out of a planning of a center of a capital such one as Petersburg was. It is possible to imagine the former view of these squares, to understand the ideas of the laying-out of the spaces, taking a look at the Palace Square in the historical perspective from the building of the former Court Chapel, or the wide, calm and peaceful Pevchesky Most (Choristers’ Bridge) across the Moyka.
In the 50-60-s of the XIXth century the vast panorama was revealed from that place. The edifices of the Senate and Synod joined up by an arch were seen in the distance. The elongated building of the Admiralty matched them very much. It did not yet hide behind the trees vigorously overgrown today, but were only slightly enclosed, or more exactly, decorated with a regular boulevard consisting of two lines of shortly trimmed trees. From the left the panorama was closed with distinct rhythm of columns of the classic portico of the Manage of the Horse-Guard Regiment. Closer to the Palace Square the St.Isaak's Cathedral towered majestically above. Yet the closest to the Square stand the well-proportioned house of the Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky and a number of other buildings of the Admiralty Avenue (Admiralteysky Prospekt), the house of the President of the Medical Commission I.Fitengof is distinguished among them by its monumental colonnade. And the view of the Palace Square itself was quite different. It seemed to be peaceful and quiet, as all traffic from the left bank of the Neva to the Basil Island (Vasilyevsky Ostrov) passed through further, behind the monument to Peter I, across the permanent Bridge of Annunciation (Blagoveshensky, or Nickolayevsky one). Between the Winter Palace and Admiralty wide expanses spread.The square was used for parades of guard, a stone staircase with sculptures of lions descended from the Square to the Neva. The Palace Bridge was yet absent, as well as the embenkment along the Admiralty. The only way to the main Gates of the Winter Palace leading to the inner Court lay from the Archway of the General Staff of the Russian Army (General Headquaters building today), across the finely paved Palace Square, past the Alexander Column. The Palace Square was restricted by the tremendousely long elegant semi-circle of the edifices of the General Staff and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The buildings were painted in other colours: their walls were light-grey, stucco mouldings – white and the Chariot of the Goddess of Glory Nica – bronzed.
The main architectural axes of the St.Petersburg centre layout, from S.B.Alexejeva, 1979
It becomes clear what the grandious impression the ensemble produced at that time when the scale of the city was relatively small and few-storey houses were predominant. Here, in the centre of the capital, near the official imperial residence Winter Palace the main State institutions were concentrated. They were: General Headquarters, Ministries of Foreign and Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Admiralty, Senate, Synod, St.Isaac’s Cathedral, Marine Archives, School of “Ship Architecture” (Higher Naval Engineering College named after F.E.Dzerzhinsky during the Soviet period), as well as Garrisons of Guarding the imperial power Regiments: Military Town of the Horse-Guards Regiment, Barracks of the 1-st company of Life-Guards of the Preobrazhensky (of Transfiguration) Regiment and a little further, in the Marsovo Polye (Field of Mars), Barracks of the Life-Guards Pavlovsky Regiment.
The grandeur of architectural embellishment of all buildings of the central squares was to “exalt the beauty and perfection of the capital (of its central part) up to the level corresponding to the status of the city; simultaneously public and private interests ought to be observed”. Monumental and dignified character of the building was accentuated by use of expensive material, that is stone, for decoration of houses and for creation of sculptures. We will dwell on this stone decoration in greater detail.
As it is known, the Admiralty had acquired its modern face after the reconstruction and rebuilding in 1806-1823 after the design of A.D.Zakharov. The architect himself had not managed to complete the works that were continued in accordance with his ideas and to his drawings by A.G.Bezhanov, later by D.M.Kalashnikov and, at last, by I.G.Gomzin. Shortly before his death, in 1811, A.D.Zakharov made designs and drawings of statues and bas-releafs, described thoroughly the subject matter of sculptural groups. The stone sculptures had been executed by F.F.Shchedrin, V.I.Demut-Malinovsky, S.S.Pimenov, A.A.Ani-simov and plaster high reliefs on friezes, attics and walls - by I.I.Terebenev.
Of stone – Pudost Limestone – F.F.Shchedrin had hewn into shape the statues of the antique heroes: Achilles, Ajax, Alexander Macedonsky and Pyrrhus set on the corners of the lower storey of the Admiralty tower. At first the sculptures of the upper storey carved by F.F.Shchedrin and S.S.Pimenov were stone as well. The total number of them was 28. They were pair statues personifying four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth ; four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; four winds: South, North, East, and West; and two pair figures: the Muse of Astronomy Urania and Isida Egyptian, who, from traditional story, was the first to build a ship and to navigate on its board looking for her husband. At the present time 24 of those statues are metallic, as the stone had rapidly weathered and began to crumble into small pieces. Four statues lost through bombing during the siege had been reconstructed of cement. Along either side of the archway of the tower with the spire on the top, on high pedestals of rapakivi-granite the groups of sea nymphs supporting the terrestrial and celestial spheres stand. They are cut out of Pudost Limestone by F.F.Shchedrin.
In the first half of the XIXth century the porticoes and pediments of the Admiralty were decorated with many additional sculptures carved of limestone. At that time standing on granitic pedestals were figures of the four cardinal points – Asia, Africa, America, Europe; at the foot of the porticoes, also on granitic pedestals were allegorical images of the largest Russian rivers: Neva, Dnieper, Yenisei, Lena, Volga, Don; statues embodying 12 months crowned the pediments. In 1860 all those statues were taken off and broken on the naval clergy’s insistence, as they were considered to be “the figures confusing believers”, and huge cast iron anchors were put instead.
Apart from the stone sculpture granite was skilfully used for building decoration. Coarse-grained rapakivi-granite with crystals up to 5-7 cm in size was used for making of plinths, sandriks and pediments of front doors, pedestals of columns, facing slabs of the porticos foundation and steps of entrances. Recently the socle of long buildings situated between the porticos was clad with thin slabs of pink coarse-grained banded gneissoid granite.
GARDENS AT THE ADMIRALTY AND WINTER PALACE
Initially beside the Admiralty a wide meadow stretched. It was separated from the edifice by a canal and ramparts that were demolished in 1816-1818 at the rebuilding of the Admiralty and a boulevard with two rows of trees occupied their place. In 1820-1824 two granitic landing-stages with staircases descending to the water were established in the places where the canal encircling the Admiralty approached the Neva. The landing-stages were called Admiralteyskaya and Petrovskaya. In 1832 stone vases carved of porphyry and figures of two lions made of sheet copper were put on the first and main one. Later, in 1908-1914, at the construction of the Palace Bridge across the Neva the landing-stage and staircase were a little removed downstream from their former place. The vases were transferred to the Petrovskaya land-ing-stage yet earlier – in 1874, during the building of the embankment along the Admiralty.
In 1872-1874 the municipal government began to lay out the Alexandrovsky garden stretching along the Admiralty. In the course of time the garden was growing, expanding and had come to occupy the vast open area in front of the main building of the Admiralty what promoted completeness of the perception of the edifice view. Foundation of the garden took place on the ground, brought from another place, so its level was higher than the level of surrounding roads. The garden was bordered with a long stone parapet. A low, open work cast iron railing was set on the parapet up to the recent time. The parapet is constructed of recrangular monoliths separated by massive large kerbstone with hemispheres. The stone is pink granite. Nowadays the parapet has been renovated and reconstructed.
In front of the tower of the Admiralty the big fountain was erected of slabs and shaped blocks of grey Serdobol Granite almost instantly after the laying the garden out. In 1896 the busts of the poet M.Ju.Lermontov, writer N.V.Gogol and composerM.I.Glinka executed by the sculptors V.P.Kreitan and V.M.Pashchenko were mounted on the stone pedestals near the fountain. In 1897 the bust of the poet V.A.Zhukovsky appeared closer to the Palace square. The pedestals of the first three busts are made of rapakivi-granite and of the fourth one – of grey-black dense me-dium-grained stone, possibly diorite. In 1998 the bust of the renowned Russian diplomat of the XIX-th century A.M.Gorchakov appeared in the garden. Its pedestal is also from cut from rapakivi-granite.
In 1892 at the fountain, closer to the St.Isaac’s square the sculptor A.G.Bilderling put up the original monument to N.M.Przhevalsky: at the pedestal with the bust of the famous traveller and researcher of Asia a loaded camel is lying near a high granite rock. The stone as for pedestal, so for the rock is rapakivi-granite.
The antigue sculptures of Flora and Hercules carved of marble are of special interest in the garden. They were set up at the corners of the Admiralty boulevard in 1832. The figure of Flora continues to stand at the side of the alley, while the statue of Hercules proved to be in the middle of the garden that today occupies a part of the Decembrists’ square. At the present time both the statues are standing on the tall rectangular pedestals cut out of pink rapakivi-granite. However in 1832, as V.Ya.Sashonko wrote in the book “Admiralty” published in 1982, they were put on pedestals made at the workshop of the marble-cutter Permogorov of rosy Tividia Marble with red veinlets and of grey Ruskeala Marble. Earlier both the sculptures were displayed in the Taurida Palace among other pieces of art composing Prince G.A.Potyomkin’s collection, though some literature data have provided other clues. For example, there is a note in the description of the Admiralty garden in the journal “Architect”, 1876, that those two statues had been carried to the garden not from the Taurida Palace, but from the facade of the Mikchaylovsky Castle facing the Fontanka. However yet in 1805 the Englishman R.Ker Poter wrote:”Another decoration of the Taurida Palace is the figure of Hercules holding a club in his left hand and an apple from the Garden of Hesperides in the right one. The head, torso and right hip are ancient, the rest parts have been perfectly restored.”
Not far from the way out of the garden to the Neva embankment the most famous and notable monument of Petersburg is placed: it is the Bronze Horseman (Equestrian statue of Peter the Great) created by the sculptor Etienne Falconet. The bronze horseman and stone pedestal of this concise and expressive monument compose a single whole. The pedestal in the shape of a crest of a wave was cut out of three blocks of pink rapakivi-granite and encircled with masonry of rough-hewn slabs of the same
The two almost identical architectural complexes in St.Petersburg (left) and Venice (right). The drawing by Ja.Kotov.
The garden at the Winter Palace was being created in 1896-1901 on a brought ground also. That is why the palace began to look more stocky. The garden in front of it is surrounded with the parapet lined of blocks of pink granite. There was a cast iron figured railing with stone posts formerly. In the middle of the garden, in front of the entrance the fountain from Serdobolsky grey Granite had been built. Outlines, winding curves of the fountain, side view of its stone details are very elegant. The banded, gneissoid texture, light veinlets of a feldspar are clearly seen in the granite.
The role of stone decoration in the embellishment of the buildings and constructions of the Palace Square is very dissimilar. So, it is hardly probable that the very modest, unpretentious stone decoration of the Winter Palace, as well as of all edifices built in Baroque style, would attract your attention. At the foundation of the palace facades simple, dull slabs of Putilovo Limestone are seen. The same material was used for pedestals of the columns and for their cubical parapets. Earlier, 128 statues hewn out of limestone were standing on the roof of the building along all the perimeter of it, but they were quickly broken up and in 1892 were replaced by bronze replicas. Besides the Putilovo Limestone, pink rapakivi-granite had been used for the Winter Palace decoration. In the 1880-s pentre douces of the main entrances from the Palace square were clad with granitic slabs. Massive rectangular small posts of the cast iron railing of the pente douces were also cut from the same stone.
The building of the New Hermitage erected in the very beginning of the Millionnaya (Million) Street in 1839-1852 to the desighn of the architect L.Klenze by V.P.Stasov and N.E.Yefimov was decorated on the ground floor with stone door-cases and outside window frames made of slabs of yellow fine-grained, dense Kirna Limestone and with metallic figures of great masters of the past mounted in niches of the plastered walls and on the consoles. The portico of the New Hermitage with wonderful sculptures of atlases is particular beautiful and triumphal. The atlases carved from grey Serdobol Granite by the sculptor A.I.Terebenev are standing to the life. The pedestals of the atlases, parapets of the pente douces, steps, facing slabs of the building socle were made of pink rapakivi-granite, the driveways of the pente douces being paved with stone too. The columns and architrave of the portico, small columns of the balcony are constructed of blocks of dense yellow limestone. Slabs of the same rock are lying on the socle of the edifice drawing a line round the walls base.
Nobody had cut sculptures out of Serdobol Granite before A.I.Terebenev. In the report of the Academy of Arts for 1845-1846 the conference-secretary of the Academy V.I.Grigorovich wrote:”No sculptor anywhere in Europe ever carved of granite as ancient Egyptians and Greeks had done. Nowadays that Egyptian art has turned into Russian one, and huge sphinxes are not already miracles or wonders when Terbenev has created these gigantic caryatids so scrupulously and perfectly both in the modelling and of the stone.” However Ya.Zembnitsky in the booklet “About use of granite...” (St.Petersburg, 1834, p.9) recorded that as early as 1810 S.K.Sukhanov had cut of Serdobol Granite the excellent bust of Jupiter Amon 106 cm high for the collection of the Count A.S.Stroganov. It is notable that figures of such a type came to be called atlases much later and still in the book by V.Kurbatov “Petersburg” (1913) they were named “colossal granitic caryatids”.
A.I.Terebenev began his work in 1844. Being keen on the desire to obtain the order he had given the estimated sum of expenses that was half as many as other pretenders showed and promised to finish the work in two years. A small model of the atlases was made by the Munich sculptor I.Galbig after the design of L.Klenze who used examples found in the gigantic marble atlases of the Temple of Zeus Olympic situated in the vicinity of the town of Atrigent on the island Sicily (480 B.C.). Having carried out a model of the first atlas made from clay, Terebenev proceeded to cut out the stone figure. At that time every thing in his work was properly new and it took one and a half of year to complete the statue. But then the atlas by Terebenev had ensued even finer, more vital and expressive than the ancient sculptures carved from marble in Atrigent. Even working with hermae the sculptor hired more than hundred stone-cutters to help him and taught them for a period longer than a year. After it he could only set marks on every monolith in order to fit it to the clay-model of a future atlas and then masters performed the appointed work: some of them executed “the bottom”, other dealt with torsos, the third made feet. The finishing of the figures and faces was carried out by Terebenev himself. By and large it took more than three years to create ten atlases. Thus, the terms of the treaty had not been realized and there was no money to pay stone-cutters for their work. In addition to that one of the monoliths proved to be cracked and Terebenev was led to buy the new one. Only after unpleasant, troublesome procrastination the overexpenditure had been compensated but the sculptor had not made any profit on that colossal work. Besides the atlases, Terebenev had carved hermae from Serdobol Granite that decorate windows of the second storey.
The figures of Atlas carved of marble (left from Agrigent) and granite (right - from St.Peters-burg). The drawing by D.Dolivo-Dobrovolsky.
The edifice of the former General Headquarters consists of several buildings united by the common facade. Its main part facing the Palace square and Moyka embankment, as well as the Triumphal Arch had been erected by C.I.Rossi in 1819-1829. The scale of the edifice as a whole, its monumental, grandiouse character are emphasized by the massive socle, 2.5 m high, faced along all the perimeter with three rows of rapakivi-granite slabs. A slab length approximates 2.2 m, its width may be as much as 15-17 cm. The granite ranges in colour from pink to rather rare for such a rock light-grey and whitish-grey. The pink stone was applied in the facing of the left part of the main semi-circular edifice (the former Ministry for Internal Affairs), as well as for the facade of the building opening on the Moyka embankment (the once Ministries for Foreign Affairs and of Finances). The grey granite can be seen to the right of the Archway - at the bottom of the wing that housed the then General Headquarters themselves. Bases of columns decorating the semi-circular part of the facade are made of pink rapakivi-granite, four balconies of the first floor are constructed of thick slabs of the same type, and of granitic consoles and balusters for lattices. Curiously, an opening for runoff of rain-water from every balcony slab had been drilled. The corner-house facing the Palace square and Nevsky Prospekt merges with the building of the former General Headquarters. The house was added to the latter in 1845-1846 by the architect I.D.Chernick at the expense of reconstruction of a three-storey house that had been bought by the War Office from the Free Economic Society. The added house is almost indistinguishable in the facade decoration from the General Headquarters. However the socle of this part of the common facade is faced with slabs of pink rapakivi-granite, therefore the boundary of the added house may be easily determined from their appearance. Door-cases in the new part of the building are embellished with red, glassy polished rapakivi-granite. Facing of entrances comes to the meander frieze and looks very festive at a distance, the appearance of the doors with their hard folds decorated with reliefs is enhanced by it. The heght of individual elements of the stone finish of the doors comes to 7 m.
The Alexander Column installed after the design by Auguste de Monferrand in 1829-1834 to commemorate the victory of Russia in the Patriotic War of 1812 plays a role of the compositional centre of the Palace Square. It is remarkable not only for its proportion, shape and dimensions, but because of the fact that the column represents a monolith, while the famous Trojan’s and Vendome columns are hollow inside, with winding staircases, and the column of Nelson’s monument is constructed of 27 granite blocks. The 704-ton monolith of the Alexander monument is 25.6 m high, 3.5 m in diameter at the bottom and 3.15 m across at the top. It is cut out of pink rapakivigranite. Owing to the first-rate glassy polish of the monolith, coarse-grained, augen structure of the stone is clearly visible. The column is not attached to the pedestal, only the force of gravity keeps it in the place. The pedestal is made of of granitic blocks and rests on a thick fundament constructed of stone and lying, in its turn, on a pile basement. The fundament and pile basement lie down the level of the square and hide under huge, massive granitic slabs. The stone pedestal of the column is covered with bronze at the top and decorated with four bas-reliefs. From the bottom it is faced with smoothly polished slabs of granite and has a rectangular low stylobate with three stone steps and kerbstones on the corners. The column is crowned with the square bronze capital that is combined with the cylinder and semi-sphere on which the angel with the cross is standing.
The world-wide known columns - Trayanian, Vandomian, Nelson's and Alexander's. The drawing by Ja.Kotov.
The column was raised with a help of wooden portal cranes. There was some experience of analogous works already (later such a method was used by Au.Monferrand). For example, a similar system of pulleys was applied for removing and setting of the 325-ton Vatican obelisk 26.5 m high. The length of the Alexander column is 25.58 m and its weight is 650 tons (according to other data it is 704 tons). The column was rolled up on sledges moving with use of wooden rollers along an inclined wooden scaffold bridge from the landing to the platform 10.5 m high and with floor space 37 x 37 m2. In the middle of the platform a wooden single-arched crane was mounted. The opening yawning under the crane was designed for descent of the column to put it on the pedestal.
The laying of a granitic monolith used as thepedestal of the Alexander Column, after a drawing from Montferrand's Book (National Museum of Finland).
A deck and a scaffold for putting the Alexander Column up, after a drawing from Montferrand's Book (National Museum of Finland).
A foundation pit 5.1 m deep (5.25 m on other evidence) had been dug out for the column. 1250 wooden piles 26 cm in diametre and 6.4 m in length had been driven into the bottom of the pit. A wooden tower with a monkey that weighed 830 kg (1200 kg – on other evidence) had been built for it. The monkey was being risen with a help of a capstan and horse tractive force. It took three months to drive all piles in the ground over the area that occupied 23 x 23 m2. On that pile basement the foundation constructed of 12 rows of granite blocks, every 40-60 cm thick, was laid. The foundation was encircled with a stonework consisting of waste of granite, marble, rubble slab packed up with addition of mortar. A granite monolith 6 x 6 m2 in size, weghing as much as 410 tons was put on the foundation. The monolith represented the pedestal of the column. It was pulled to the edge of the platform and carefully thrown down on the sand. Then it was taken 90 cm up in order to put the mortar between the monolith and foundation. The stone lay down inexactly and had to be shifted with two capstans. Still two more monoliths: 203 and 215 kg in weight, together with smaller blocks had been set on the base stone later. Today they are covered with bronze and concealed behind the bas-reliefs. Just on that pedestal the column was installed with the help of the portal crane. The height of the span of the portal crane was 32 m, its width – 6.8 m. It was built on a high and stable temporary fundament. The column was entangled with ropes (cables) at juts that were specially not trimmed. The ropes passing through polyspasts placed on the top of the portal crane came vertically down and then stretched horizontally to 60 capstans that were rotated by 1580 men. The setting of the monolith column took 100 minutes and mounting of the equipment for lifting continued at a whole for two months, counting from the day of the column haulage. After the installment the prominences of the column were hewn off and two hundred men were polishing the monolith daily for five months. The vivid description of the setting of the monolith and lots of interesting events and details connected with it had been given by Au.Monferrand himself, as well as by A.L.Rotach in the book “The Alexander Column” published in 1966 and in other works. The model of the acting crane during the process of the column rising is exposed at one of the departments of the Museum of the History of St.Petersburg in the Peter and Paul Fortress.
The Alexander Column is already on the deck and now it is being pulled to the place of its arrangment, after a drawing from Montferrand's Book (National Museum of Finland).
In 1976-1977 the works on the improvement and restoration of the road surfacing of the Palace Square, stylobates of the Alexander Column and facades of the buildings surrounding the Square were fulfilled to the design of the architects G.N.Buldakov, G.A.Baykov, F.Romanovsky and the artist V.A.Petrov. In the central part of the Square the stone pavement conformed to old times took place of asphalt. Quadrangles lined with pink granite from the quarry Vozrozhdeniye and with grey granite from Kamennogorsk (Stone Mountain) quarry are artistically paved with grey-black diabase stones.
BUILDINGS OF ADMIRALTEYSKY PROSPEKT (Admiralty Avenue)
Buildings of different age and styles, decorated with stone to a variable degree are united on this prospekt nowadays. The first house, one of the facades of which faces Nevsky Prospekt, was built to the design by V.P.Tseidler for the Private Commercial Bank in 1910-1911. It had been entirely faced with stone: with light-grey granite from an unknown deposit, dark-grey garnet bearing gneisses brought from Tiurula deposit situated not far from Priozersk, with yellowish-grey sandstone from Poland (Kunow or Szydlowiec Sandstone). The walls of its ground and first floors had been clad in rustics having both rocky and more thorough finished surfaces, as well as with smooth slabs of granite. The door-cases of the main entrance had been made of glassy, shining slabs of gneiss containing garnet (lilac almandine). Truth to tell, the beauty of those slabs can not be seen under the coating of greasy smut, but if they were washed, effective lilac spots of garnet would clearly be shown through in the banded pattern of the grey gneiss. Rustic blocks and slabs of sandstone with wavy surface are facing three-quarter columns of the building in the height and walls of the upper storeys. The sculptures, balustrade, frieze decorations of the house are made of the same rock. It is of interest that the granite masonry was made with addition of asbestos while in the XIX century, lead laminae were used for it.
The next noteworthy building of the Admiralty Avenue is the former house of Fitingof. Later the St.Petersburg Municipal Government was housed there and after the October Revolution the famous “Ch.K.” , that is All Russian Extraodinary Commission for the Suppression of Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation, was situated. The museum in honour of F.E.Dzerzhinsky has been opened in his study. The building was erected after the project by G.Quarenghi lately in XVIII century and its stone decoration is austere and modest. The basement of the house and column feet on the second storey are faced with rapakivi-granite. The same stone slabs were used for the base of the long balcony and for the corbels propping it up.
More considerable is the stone decoration of another edifice on the Admiralty Avenue, planned and built by Au.Montferrand in 1817-1820. We are dealing here with the former residence of the Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky. The central parts of the facades of the house looking out onto the Neva and St.Isaac’s Cathedral were created as powerful porticos of many columns with arcades. They rest on massive stylobates faced with slabs of rapakivi-granite. The plinth of the building along all its perimeter had been revetted with slabs of the same kind. Two marble guard lions by the sculptor Paolo Triscorni adorn the entrance from the Admiralty side. During the Great Patriotic War several pits resulted from fragments of shells appeared on a ball under a paw of one of the lions. Those pits have been blocked up with stone patches today.
Behind St.Isaac’s Cathedral, the Admiralty Avenue is closed with the fine, tersely simple in adornment portico of the Horse Guards Manege (Riding School). The Manege was built in 1807 to G.Quarenghi’s design and represents one of the models of Strict Classicism. The figures of Goddess-Protectresses of Military Arts had crowned the pediment. The basement of the building was made of Putilovo Limestone slabs. The pedestals of columns of the portico, steps and stylobate are granitic.
The designation of the building was emphasized by sculptural bas-reliefs fixed over the entrance. Marble groups of Dioscurithe sons of Zeus, as nudeyouths taming the horses had been established in front of the portico. The sculptures are created of Carrara Marble and designed on the antique originals standing on the way up to the Quirinal Palace in Rome. After a time of their installation the sculptures had been taken down as the figures confusing believers attending the St.Isaac’s Cathedral by their “being quite nude“. At the restoration and reconstruction of the Manege in the 1970-s the “ handsome in their nudity” sons of Zeus were returned to their places.
Pink granites and grey diabase in the today pavement of the Palace Square.
Between the Manege and Synod buildings, in the very beginning of the former Konnogvardeisky (Horse Guards). Boulevard two columns of Serdobol grey Granite topped with sculptures of Geniuses of Glory had been raised. They were made to the design of C.I.Rossi.
THE BUILDINGS OF THE SYNOD AND SENATE
These buildings set western boundaries of the Ploshchad Dekabristov (Decembrists’ Square). It is known that by 1825, the old edifice of the Senate situated in the splendid at one time palace of the vice-chancellor Besstuzhev-Ryumin built in the 1740-s had become dilapidated. A dwelling house of the mechant’s wife Kusovnikova standing near and other buildings there did not harmonize with the new Admiralty construction. They were rebuilt in 1829-1834 to the project by C.I.Rossi and were united with an arch across the Galernaya (Galley) Street. At the conception of the architect the new buildings are connected with the Admiralty through a similar compositional peculiarity: the relatively low plinth of the Senate and Synod buildings is the basement of the colonnade. The socle is faced with three rows of slabs of pink rapakivi-granite, a narrow cornice of Putilovo limestone running along above the slabs separates them from the wall surface. Outside staircases and kerbstones of the wide spread pentre douce are also made of rapakivi-granite and the descents themselves are paved with pieces of diabase.
Not far from the Senate building, on the Neva embankment stands the former residence of the Lavals. Two small good-naturedly smiling granitic lions are resting on the limestone slabs at the entrance to the edifice. The latter was repeatedly rebuilt and acquired its finished appearance early in the 1800-s, after the reconstruction carried out by Thomas de Thomon. The lions at the entrance and balconies of the second storey made of rapakivi-granite and supported by granitic consols are possibly appeared just at that time.
To the beginning