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Entries / Neoclassicism


Categories / Architecture/Architectural Styles

NEOCLASSICISM, a traditionalist movement of the first half of the 20th century architecture, based on the assimilation of 18th - early 19th century Russian architecture. In St. Petersburg Neoclassicism revived national architectural and urban planning traditions, embodying the traditional connection between the cities with the European classical culture. The retrospective movement emerged in the early 1900s; one of its main prerequisites was the positive revaluation of Russian Classicism, the "discovery" of the old St. Petersburg beauty, connected mainly with the activities of Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) Group and A.N. Benois. Initially Neoclassicism was guided by the historic ensembles, which became apparent in the works of architects E.S. Vorotilov (the new building of Imperial Public Library, 1896-1901; today 3 Ostrovskogo Square), V.F. Svinyin (the building of the Ethnographic Museum, 1900-1911; 4а Inzhenernaya Street), F.I. Lidval (the building of Azovsko-Donskoy Bank, 1907-1909, 1912-1913; 3-5 Bolshaya Morskaya Street). Soon the architect I.A. Fomin (the dacha of Polovtsov on Kamenny Island, 1911-1913) became the leader of this architectural movement. Striving for the recreation of the historical style, architects actually had to adjust classical forms to new functional and spatial constructions. This form of modernized Neoclassicism was headed by the architect Lidval. Generalized transformation of ordered forms is exemplified in the German Embassy Building. Upholders of early 20th century Neoclassicism posed important town-planning problems, aimed at revival and development of the ensemble and style integrity of St. Petersburg. The implementation of these plans, among which the project of the New Petersburg residential area on Goloday Island stood out (1911-1912, architects Fomin and Lidval), was impeded by the First World War of 1914-1918. Up to the 1920s, classical devices and ideas of urban planning predominated among Petrograd architects, demonstrated by several buildings constructed in this period: the Smolny Propylaeum (1923-24, architects V.A. Shchuko, V.G. Gelfreich), the Kuznechny Market (19221927, architects S.O. Ovsyannikov, A.S. Pronin; 3 Kuznechny Lane). In the main creative work of that time - project graphic art - heroic symbolism and austere expression became stronger: Fomin put forward the concept of the Red Doric, and then Proletarian Classics, that presupposed the selection, simplification and reconstruction of the former classical style. In the second part of the 1920s, Neoclassicism gave way to Constructivism, but already by the beginning of the 1930s there was a return to the assimilation of the city’s classical heritage, that was consolidated by Party resolutions. The monumental traditionalism, conforming to totalitarian regime, was to embody the grandeur of the Soviet epoch. In Leningrad the schematised variant of Neoclassicism became widespread, it distinguished itself with emphasized might and generalised abstract interpretation. Architects D.P. Buryshkin (the building of the Leningrad office of the Pravda newspaper, 1933-34; 12 Khersonskaya Street; educational institutions at 80 and 82 Malookhtinsky Avenue, 1930s), N.A. Trotsky (House of Soviets, 1936-1941; 212 Moskovsky Avenue), E.I. Katonin (Frunzensky Department Store, 1934-38; 60/129 Moskovsky Avenue) were guided by Fomin's conceptions and even to a greater extent by the compositional devices of the German Embassy Building. Architects E. A. Levinson and I. I. Fomin modified the theme of high pylons (the building of Nevsky District Soviet, 1936-1939; 163 Obukhovskoy Oborony Avenue; Ivanovskaya Street, 1937-1940; the apartment house of People's Commissariat of the Navy at 8 Petrovskaya Embankment, 1938-1940). Stalin's Empire style of the pre-war and post-war years is characterised by the reinforcement of retrospective slant, pomposity and decor. An outstanding contribution to Leningrad classicism was also made by architects A.I. Gegello, V.A. Kamensky, S.B. Speransky, M.Y. Klimentov, V.D. Kirkhoglani, O.I. Guryev, etc. Late 1940s - early 1950s architecture reflects the pathos of the victory and post-war revival of the city. The finale of Leningrad Neoclassicism was embodied in the stations of the first line (1955) of the city's metro. The re-orientation of Soviet architecture in the mid-1950s towards economy, industrialization and the abolition of architectural extravagances put an end to the Neoсlassical movement.

References: Ревзин Г. И. Неоклассицизм в русской архитектуре начала ХХ века. М., 1992; Кириков Б. М. Неоклассицизм в архитектуре Петербурга - Петрограда // Краеведческие записки: Исслед. и материалы. СПб., 1993. Вып. 1. С. 140-147.

B. М. Kirikov.

Benois Alexander Nikolaevich
Buryshkin David Petrovich
Fomin Igor Ivanovich
Fomin Ivan Alexandrovich
Gegello Alexander Ivanovich
Gelfreich Vladimir Georgievich
Guryev Oleg Ivanovich
Kamensky Valentin Alexandrovich
Katonin Evgeny Ivanovich
Kirkhoglani Valerian Dmitrievich
Klimentov Mikhail Yakovlevich
Levinson Evgeny Adolfovich
Lidval Fedor (Iogan Friedrich) Ivanovich
Ovsyannikov Sergey Osipovich (Iosifovich)
Pronin Arseny Semenovich
Shchuko Vladimir Alexeevich
Speransky Sergey Borisovich
Svinyin Vasily Fedorovich
Trotsky Noy Abramovich
Vorotilov Evgraf Sergeevich

Bolshaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 5
Bolshaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 3
Inzhenernaya Street/Saint Petersburg, city, house 4, litera л. А
Khersonskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 12
Kuznechny Lane/Saint Petersburg, city, house 3
Malookhtinsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 80
Malookhtinsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 82
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 212
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 60/129
Obukhovskoy Oborony Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 163
Ostrovsky Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 3
Petrovskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 8

Ревзин Г. И. Неоклассицизм в русской архитектуре начала ХХ века. М., 1992
Кириков Б. М. Неоклассицизм в архитектуре Петербурга - Петрограда // Краеведческие записки: Исслед. и материалы. СПб., 1993

The subject Index
Russian Ethnographical Museum
Azovsko-Donskoy Commercial Bank
Polovtsov Dacha (Summer Residence)
German Embassy Building
New Petersburg
Frunzensky Supermarket


Architectural Styles (entry)

ARCHITECTURAL STYLES, recognizable systems of architectural compositional techniques, forms and decor, whose differences are caused by social and cultural environment, aesthetic preferences and the type of architectural culture of a particular epoch

Danini S.A. (1867-1942), architect.

DANINI Silvio Amvrosievich (1867-1942, Leningrad), architect. Descendent of an Italian family. He lived in St. Petersburg from 1886, graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1892

Fomin I. A. (1872-1936), architect

FOMIN Ivan Alexandrovich (1872-1936), architect, graphic artist, historian and theorist of architecture. I.I. Fomin's father. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (1909), L.N

Lidval F.I., (1870-1945), architect

LIDVAL Fedor Ivanovich (Iogan Friedrich) (1870, St. Petersburg - 1945), architect. Descendant of Swedish emigrants. Lidval graduated from the Academy of Arts (1896), a Fellow of the Academy of Architecture from 1909

Lishnevsky A.L., (1868-1942), architect

LISHNEVSKY Alexander Lvovich (1868-1942), architect, a noted Art Nouveau and Neoclassical artist. He graduated from the Academy of Arts in 1892, and worked in the Ukraine for some time. From 1901, he lived in St. Petersburg

Necropolis of Artists

NECROPOLIS OF ARTISTS (in 1823-76, the New Lazarevskoe Cemetary; in 1876-1937, the Tikhvinskoe Cemetery). Memorial Necropolis Park included in 1937 in the City Sculpture Museum. Its square takes up 1.2 hectares

Novodevichye Cemetery

NOVODEVICHYE CEMETERY (100 Moskovsky Avenue). Situated in the southern part of St. Petersburg. Founded in 1845, for the Novodevichy Convent; burials lasted from 1849 to the 1930s. Its area includes 10 hectares