Marble Palace Museum

The Marble Palace - so named for the 32 different types of marble used in its construction -  is one of the first Neoclassical palaces in St. Petersburg, now housing a museum of modern art.

It is located in the northwest corner of the Suvorov Square near the Fields of Mars. Designed by Antonio Rinaldi, it was completed built between 1768 and 1785. It concludes the row of palatial buildings adjoining the Winter Palace, and architecturally has a great deal in common with them. The facades of the Marble Palace, facing the Neva embankment and the Millionnaya Street, are decorated with laconic simplicity. The ground floor is faced with brownish granite, and the two main floors are adorne with two-story Corinthian pilasters alternating in a rythmical pattern with the windows framed in plain platbands.

Curved lines and ornate details

The main facade which faces an inner court is closer in style to the 1750s. There is a huge semicircular window above the entrance, with smaller semicircular windows to the right and left of it. Four decorative Corinthian columns, placed between these windows, suppor an imposing attic, adorned with statues and a clock tower. In contrast to the severe facades overlooking the street, there is an abundance of purely decorative effect here, curved lines and ornate details reminiscent of Rastrelli's palaces.

Built for Orlov, a lover of Catherine the Great

It was intended for the eminent nobleman of the 18th century, the favorite of Catherine the Great, Grigory Orlov.

The building is regarded as a monument of architecture signifying the transition from Baroque to Classicism.

There’s a permanent exhibition on Foreign Artists in Russia, but connoisseurs of modern art should not miss the Peter Ludwig at the Russian Museum collection, including works by Andy Warhol.

The ground floor of the palace is of granite, whilst its two upper stories are of grey-veined marble, embellished with pilasters and pillars of red marble, whose capitals, by way of farther variety, are of white marble. The first floor is ornamented with balconies and balustrades of gilt bronze; the panes of glass in the windows are three feet high, and of wonderful purity.

St. Petersburg, Its People E. Jermann, 1855




Restored in 1950s

In the years since Antonio Rinaldi finished the Marble Palace, its superb marble facades and other magnificent natural stones have lost their former splendor. The marble itself has particularly suffered. Being a very unstable material, it easily loses its gloss and gradually transforms into gypsum when exposed to the elements. In the 1950s, restoration works were carried out on the palace facades, as well as white marble capitals and garlands. The latter were cut anew of white marble and coloured with strong tea to match the existent stones. Cracks were filled with specially matched mastic; all the columns, pilasters, capitals, frames and other marble features were then polished to a glassy lustre. A number of marble vases adorning the attic proved to be severely damaged and were crumbling into pieces. Some of them had been replaced by crude concrete mouldings, possibly a long time ago. Fortunately, some broken vase fragments were found in the attic, so it was possible to recreate a few vases. Three vases were newly cut from the Revel dolomitic marble. Granite was also cleared of dust and soot; its forgings were restored in places where they had been lost.

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург) is the second largest city in Russia. It is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. St Petersburg is often described as the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital.It is the northernmost city in the world with a population of over one million.

Population: 5 197 114 (2015)
Founded : 1703
Time zone : UTC+4
Federal District : Northwest
Area code : (00 7) 812
Postal code : 190000-199406
Former name : Petrograd (1914-1924)
Former name : Leningrad (1924-1991)