Friday, February 26, 2016
The Winter Palace, St. Petersburg
Empress Anna Ioannovna was the first of Peter's descendants to reconstruct the palace. In 1731, she commissioned an Italian, Rastrelli, who at the time was the recently appointed court architect and he would go on to become the recognized master of late baroque in Russia. He was commissioned to create a new, larger palace on the site. Completed in 1735, the third Winter Palace served for only 17 years before Rastrelli was again asked, this time by Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna), to expand the building. After two years proposing different plans to adapt the existing building, Rastrelli eventually decided to completely rebuild the palace, and his new design was confirmed by the empress in 1754. Catherine the Great has a wing in her style, but Elizabeth's palace is what we largely see today. Not to be missed, especially as it houses the world famous Hermitage Museum--but the architecture is a marvel in and of itself.