The Stroganov Palace is a Late Baroque palace was built to Bartolomeo Rastrelli's designs for Baron Sergei Grigoriyevich Stroganov in 1753-1754. The interiors were remodeled by Andrei Voronikhin at the turn of the 19th century. The first house for the Stroganovs was built on the site probably in 1720s. It was a building of one storey. Аrchitect Mikhail Zemtsov erected a second two-storey house in the 1740s.
In 1752 Baron Sergei Stroganov commissioned the palace design from Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, then at work extending the Catherine Palace and building the Smolny Convent for Empress Elisabeth. Since the Stroganovs were the richest family in Russia and were related to the Empress by marriage, Rastrelli could not turn down the commission and hastily prepared a design for the townhouse.
Like the Vorontsov Palace (also designed by Rastrelli for Stroganov's in-law Mikhail Vorontsov), the Stroganov Palace was not rapidly built. The Main Staircase decorated with marble sculptures led to the elegant Grand Hall, which featured a huge painting by Venetian artist Giuseppe Valeriani. After Sergei Stroganov's death in 1756, the decoration was completed by his son Alexander in 1760. Within several years, the new empress, Catherine II introduced the Neoclassical taste. The style was also championed by Alexander Stroganov, who became President of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1800.
In the 1790s and 1800s decades, architect Andrei Voronikhin was charged with refurbishing the interiors in the Neoclassical style. Voronikhin's mother was the Stroganovs' serf, and it was rumored that his father was Alexander Stroganov. The first suites by Voronikhin were the Mineral Study, Picture Gallery, Library and Alexander Stroganov's Physics Cabinet. Another two enfilades in the west wing were created for Pavel Stroganov, of which the Small Drawing Room survives.
After Alexander Stroganov died in 1811, the palace passed to his son Pavel. Pavel Stroganov had four daughters, but his only son was killed in the Battle of Craonne. He then established the Stroganov entail, i.e., a non-divisible estate which would pass to the oldest family member. This chain of ownership was preserved until 1919 when the last Count Sergei Stroganov sold his rights to the entail. A new apartment was decorated for Aglaida Pavlovna Stroganov by Carlo Rossi in 1820 (it later disappeared almost totally). After the October Revolution in 1917, the remaining Stroganovs emigrated from Russia, and the palace was nationalized. The family line is now extinct.
The Soviets declared the palace a national museum chronicling the lifestyle of the Russian nobility. In 1929 the museum was shut down, and much of its contents (including some priceless paintings) were taken to the Hermitage Museum. The palace was handed over to a botanical institute. The Ministry of Shipbuilding occupied the premises for half a century, starting in 1939.
In 1988 the palace was given to the Russian Museum and became a branch housing some of its exhibitions. The dilapidated building underwent a thorough and painstaking restoration process between 1991 and the present moment. In keeping with Rastrelli's original design, its walls are now painted light pink (rather than dark green, as they were in the mid-20th century). It is one of the few Baroque structures on Nevsky Prospect to preserve its original appearance.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.