Gatchina Russia



Keywords: Gatchina Russia
Description: Gatchina's Grand Palace is a fine stately home in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, where several of Russia's emperors lived with their families. Find out more about the Grand Palace and other attractions at Gatchina.

At Gatchina, Rinaldi drew inspiration from his travels in England and his work with his tutor Luigi Vanvitelli on Charles VII of Naples' Caserta Palace. The conceit of the project was to create a 600-room palace in the style of a knight's castle, with elements of a royal hunting lodge and an English stately home. Using weathered limestone, Rinaldi designed a building that is both imposing and welcoming, presenting a sweeping semi-circular facade of classical simplicity on one side, and a more fanciful rear, with two slim hexagonal towers creating the atmosphere of a medieval castle.

By the time the palace was completed in 1781, Orlov had long fallen out of favour with Catherine and had only a couple of years to live, tormented by his role in the assassination of Peter. Rinaldi's design, however, pleased Catherine enough for her to buy Gatchina back from Orlov's heirs, and present it to her son, the future Pavel I. Whatever distaste Pavel may have felt at receiving the former home of his father's murderer was overcome by his delight in the building's fortress-like design, which appealed to his fascination for all things military. Pavel commissioned his own favourite architect, Vincenzo Brenna, who had already reworked the Grand Palace at Pavlovsk for him, to expand Gatchina. Brenna proved adept at matching the Tsar's esoteric tastes while retaining the spirit of Rinaldi's original design, heightening the palace's galleries and side blocks, and adding details such as cannons, sentry boxes and a moat around the palace that enhanced fortress-like character of the building.

The interiors of the palace were mostly Brenna's work, too. In this capacity, he worked in a style that combined high rococo decoration with neoclassical symmetry, and created interiors far more lavish than the building they are housed in. While the damage wrought by the Nazis has only partly been redressed, and restoration is ongoing, fine examples of his work can be found in the elegant Marble Dining Room and the superbly ornate White Hall, both of which feature a wealth of stucco decoration and fabulous parquet floors.




Photogallery Gatchina Russia:



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