Triumphal Arc in Palace Square
The Triumphal Arc in the center of the Palace Square surpasses nearly all the buildings in the city in magnificence. The arch gives access to the Palace Square from Bolshaya Morskaya Street which adjoins it at an angle. In order to make it strictly perpendicular to the main gateway of the Winter Palace, Rossi gave it an artificial curve, boldly spanning it with a seventeen-meter-long double arch at a height of 28 meters.
The Triumphal Arc is decorated with martial figures, winged Glories in haut relief, and various regalia. The crowning point of the composition is the victory chariot on top of the arch (16 meters wide and 10 meters tall) designed by sculptors S. Pimenov and V. Demut-Malinovsky who for many years worked together with Rossi. The six horses, led by two foot soldiers, are harnessed to a chariot in which stands the winged figure of Glory holding the state emblem of Russia in her hands.
The arch seems to be made for the triumphal entrance of victorious troops, and it was in fact, as the building of the General Staff, erected as a monument to Russia’s victory in the 1812 war against Napoleon. The work of Rossi and his great contemporaries Zakharov, Voronikhin and Stasov, reflects those patriotic feelings which were so strong in Russian society during this war.