Франческо Растрелли. Французский русский архитектор

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French Russian Architect

In 1716, after the death of King Louis XIV of France, the Rastrelli family moved to St. Petersburg. The head of the family entered the service of the court of Peter I and in the city under construction on the Neva cast cannons and sculptures for interiors. Francesco helped his father to design palaces and continued to study — he traveled to Italy, Germany, France.

The independence of the architectural vision was shown by Francesco Rastrelli during the construction of the Rundale and Mitava palaces for Biron in the 1730s. Here the architect refuses some techniques and elements (for example, rustications and pilasters), giving preference to others — columns, relief, rich decor, general plasticity of the building. The combination of the Russian architectural tradition with the European Baroque was characteristic of the Rastrelli style.

Satisfied with the results, Biron contributed to the promotion of the young master — he was made the chief architect under the Empress Anna Ioannovna, retaining this position under Elizabeth Petrovna.

Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli was the court architect of Peter I and all the monarchs of the era of palace coups. He designed and built the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the Winter and Vorontsov Palaces, the Smolny Monastery in St. Petersburg, and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. And at the end of his career, Rastrelli became a major general, a Knight of the Order of St. Anne and an academician of architecture.