St Petersburg Architecture - Classicism
From 1760ies there started a new period in the development of Petersburg architecture. Baroque gradually gave way to a new style, Classicism. Austere and simple, great and solemn Antique architectural images defined the features of Russian architecture for many decade. All-round construction was developed in every part of the capital. Large buildings grew everywhere, their appearance displaying the reflection of Classicism replacing Baroque. Near the Winter Palace there appeared the buildings of the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre erected by J.-B. Vallin de la Moth, Yu. M. Felten and G. Quarenghi, at the edge of the Field of Mars there arose the Marble Palace constructed by A. Rinaldi, in Vasilyevsky Island — the buildings of the Academy of Arts and the Academy of Sciences erected to the design of A. F. Kokorinov, J.-B. Vallin de la Moth and G. Quarenghi. The Neva and its branches had the embankments faced with granite, with the descents to the water arranged. The walls of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Fortress were also ’dressed’ in granite. The influence of the new style could not help telling on the appearance of worship constructions. As it has already been mentioned, among those few temples built in the spirit of early Classicism there was the Holy Trinity Cathedral within Alexander Nevsky Laura.
Soon there appeared other ecclesiastical buildings marked with the stamp of Classicism. In general, the development of church architecture was defined by the search of new forms. This feature displayed itself, in particular, in the construction of St. Prince Vladimir’s Cathedral at the Petersburg Side. They started its erection as early as 1741. However, five years afterwards the construction works stopped. It was desided to raise a church ’of five cupolas, to the ancient Russian custom’, istead of a single-dome building. In 1766 the erection of the edifice was renewed to the project executed by A. Rinaldi. The fire that happened in June 1772 interrupted the works for long again. It was only in 1782 that the construction was continued. Since then it was supervised by architect I. Ye. Starov.
On October 1, 1789, the main altar in the name of St. Prince Vladimir was at last sanctified. In spite of a certain mix of Baroque and early Classicism motifs, the cathedral is perceived as a whole construction by its artistic style. The side cupolas of the cathedral successfully match the central one. The shapely belfry of a cubic form in its lower part and cylindric in the upper part is organically merged with them. In general, St. Prince Vladimir’s Cathedral is not inferior to the best Petesburg temples by its outline gaudiness.