Academy of Arts
Next to the garden on the University Embankment stands the Academy of Arts (architects Alexander Kokornikov and Jean Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, 1764-1788) - a masterpiece of true classical elegance.
The building with a circular inner courtyard occupies a whole block on Vasilievsky Island. It is one of the vivid examples of early classicism in Russian architecture. The well-balanced proportions of the main façade are particularly impressive; the facade, like that of the Winter Palace, stretches along the embankment, but unlike Rastrelli's creation it is devoid of any decorative details and produces an impression of restrained power. The evenly spaced identical pilasters, the end risalitos outlining the corners of the building, and the sharply projected central part - everything is dignified and clear-cut.
This magnificent building occupies a large plot of ground in the Wassiliostroff, between the Great Perspectives and the Neva; it is a square building, erected to educate and bring up a certain number of young lads as artists: their board, discipline, and education, are somewhat similar to the other places of public instruction, with this difference only, that the Professors direct the pupils' minds as much as possible to the fine arts. The principal entrance is deco rated with a fine dome. There are likewise three other entrances, one to each square; and in those within the building, are three balconies, one on the opposite side to the great gateway and the others open on each side; and upon each of them is inscribed the three following names: Tectora Sculptura Educatio.
An Original Journey from London to St. Petersburg, George Green, 1843
The ground floor plays the part of a plinth, as it does in the other major constructions of the 1760s-1770s, and the two upper stories are united by columns and pilasters. As different from the country estate type of mansions where a front courtyard always had to be traversed in order to reach the main entrance, the front door of the Academy Of Arts building is placed in the middle of the main facade. A four-column portico is raised above the ground floor, with the statues of Hercules and Flora placed between the columns, and the whole of this projecting part of the facade is crowned with a cupola.
Founded in 1757, the Academy of the Three Most Noble Arts (painting, sculpture, and architecture) has played an important role in the development of Russian art. Architects Ivan Starov, Andrei Voronikhin, Andreyan Zakahrov; sculptor Mikhail Kozlovsky; painters Alexander Ivanov, Karl Bryullov, Ilya Repin, Valentin Serov, Vasily Surikov, Ivan Shishkin, and others studied and worked here.
The encouragement of native talent in painting is the great object of this institution; the large apartments were filled with students, occupied in this pursuit, at their different easels: report speaks favourably of their progress, and some had received the honorary prize of a medal from the directors. Those who give proofs of real genius and talent, when they have passed through the different classes, are sent to finish their studies in Italy, where a considerable colony is already formed for that purpose.
A Visit to St. Petersburg, In the Winter of 1829-30 Thomas Raikes