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Architectural graphic works of A.N. Voronikhin. On the occasion of the 250-year anniversary of the architect’s birth

Inauguration of the exhibition “Architectural graphic works of A.N. Voronikhin. On the occasion of the 250-year anniversary of the architect’s birth” will be held on October 28, 2009 at 14.00 in the Ekaterininisky hall of the Academy of Arts.

There will be presented about 50 sketches of A.N. Voronikhin from the collection of the Scientific and Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts enabling to outline the professional activity of the architect enough fully.

The famous author of the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg was born in the Ural rural settlement Novoye Usolye and started his career as a selfdom-based artist of the counts Stroganovs. One of his early works («View of the Glane castle in Switzerland») was created in 1787 as a gift and report for the count A.S. Stroganov on the educational trip of Voronikhin with the son of the count Pavel overseas under the supervision of his tutor Z. Romm. The first represented copies from the folios for mechanics and architecture performed by him during studying a course of construction sciences in Paris in 1788 refer to the same period of life. On return in Russia in 1790 Voronikhin took part in reconstruction and decoration of the Stroganovs’ palace on Nevsky prospect and their cottage in Novaya village.

The exhibition comprises sheets associated with this important stage of his becoming an architect which was gradually happening following the approval of Voronikhin in the capacity of an artist. He obtained a rank of "appointed" (as an academician) in 1794 for the watercolor «View of the picture gallery in the Stroganovs' Palace», and he was acknowledged as an academician of perspective and diminutive painting in 1797 for the “View of the Stroganovs’ cottage”. Only three years later having performed the first governmental order, the design of galleries near the Samson scoop in Peterhof, Voronikhin received the title of an architect from the Academy of Arts and then he was invited to lecture in the architectural class of the Academy.

A. Voronikhin proceeded to creation of his main work – the Kazan Cathedral in the end of 1800. The sheets from the collection of the Scientific and Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts referring to this project are of interest as an evidence of authorship of Voronikhin not only in relation to the artistic design of the cathedral, but also to its practical embodiment. The architect’s autographs can be seen on the sheet of the cathedral section by the foundation and basements and also on the drawing of the granite column for the temple interior. It is an interesting fact that this column made of the remaining monolith first was installed in the round yard of the Academy of Arts building and it has been decorating the academic garden since 1840s.

Among the works holding a prominent place at the exposition there are the sheets with the drawings of the main facades of two famous works of A.N. Voronikhin: The Mining Cadet Corps (1806) and the house for the Minister of lots.

Unfortunately many outstanding creative concepts of Voronikhin were not embodied. The following project are among them: sheets of the Tatar town residence design (1804) demonstrated at the exhibition; this town residence could become one of the early examples of the historicism in the Petersburg architecture; the competitive design of 1803 of the mausoleum of Pavel I in Pavlovsky park (built upon the project of Thomas de Thomon); the design of the church of the Horse-guardsman regiment as well as the project of the Gatchina rural foundling hospital, an original and complex aggregate made up by the architect. Voronikhin used the concept of a public building as a cell of the city planning structure in the whole range of hospital designs one of which is presented at the exposition.

Designing the temples was an important subject in the architect’s creative work. He was involved in the contest for reconstruction of the St. Isaac Cathedral built by A. Rinaldi in 1808-1810. One of the plan alternatives suggested by the architect can be seen at the exhibition. Voronikhin was working in 1813 upon the project of the large monument temple dedicated to the Patriotic War of 1812-1814. One of the seven alternatives created by the architect was represented in the jubilee exposition by the plan and section drawings with the design of the interior decoration. Along with the large temples for the capital Voronikhin was designing small churches apparently upon the private orders, which could not be attributed yet. Four facades of the unknown temples are represented at the exhibition. They are of interest by the alternatives of classical stylistics expressively characterizing the individuality of their author.

Voronikhin was paying full attention to creation of the garden and park and small forms of architecture in his activity. This side of his creative work was represented at the exhibition by the drawings of the bridge over Slavyanka river and greenhouses in Pavlovsk, Turkish kiosk in Tsarskoye selo and also by the designs of the landing pier and fence with the lion sculptures.

The drawings of A.N. Voronikhin stored in the museum of the Academy of Arts came from the collection of the famous Russian collector V.G. Argutinsky-Dolgoruky which in his turn had bought them from the architect's legatees. Only a small part of this interesting collection numbering about two hundred sheets is shown at the exhibition. Some of them have dates and author's signatures, they are attributed and provided with the archive and research materials, but many of them still require further analysis which should extend our notion of the creative work of one of the most talented Russian architects.

The exhibition will be open till November 29, 2009


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On 31st of July museum is closed.
On 20th of March museum is closed.

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