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The subject index / Smolny Architectural Ensemble

Smolny Architectural Ensemble

Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles

SMOLNY ARCHITECTURAL ENSEMBLE, created over the course of the 18th-20th centuries on the curve of the left bank of the Neva River, on the place of the early 18th century Smolyanoy (Russian "smola" means "resin") courtyard (hence the name). It encompasses the complexes of Smolny Convent (Holy Virgin Convent of the Resurrection), Alexandrovsky Institute for Petty-Bourgeoisie Girls and Smolny Institute for Noble Girls. The Smolny Convent (1 Rastrelli Square) was constructed at the behest of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna in 1748-1769 (architect F. Rastrelli), in the plan it forms a square in the shape of a crucifix, made of cell buildings and widows' house, in the centre is the five-domed Smolny Cathedral (see Church of the Holy Resurrection). Four single-domed churches on the corners enrich the silhouette of the ensemble – a masterpiece of Elizabethan Baroque. The facades are lavishly adorned with modelling; the corners are finished with tufts of columns, ornamented window-frames and bow-shaped pediments above the entrance. According to Rastrelli's plan a 160-metres high bell-tower was to be constructed (never constructed, the model is kept in the Scientific-research Museum of the Academy of Arts). In 1764-1808, a number of the convent's premises were occupied by the Smolny Institute, for which a special building was later constructed. Between the convent's complex and the Neva River there is a house for the Petty Bourgeoisie Section of the Smolny Institute (since 1842 Alexandrovskoe School, since 1891 - Institute), constructed in 1765-75, according to the plans of architect Y.M. Felten (3 Smolnogo Street) - an example of the early Neoclassical with a striking circular facade of the main building and reserved architectural decor. In 1821-1824, it was rebuilt by architect D. Quadri. The building of the Smolny Institute (Proletarskoy Diktatury Square, 1 Smolny Passage) was erected for the Imperial Educational Society for Noble Girls (founded in 1764). To the project of G. Quarenghi in 1806-1808 an extensive building in the style of strict Classicism, with corbels and a central eight-columned portico with a pediment (the decor of the white-columned assembly hall has been preserved). In the 1810s in front of the western facade a parterre garden was laid out (replanted in 1899-1910s and in 1923-1924). The entrance from the side of the square is emphasised with propylaea (1923-1924), the garden boasts four fountains (1933-1934) - all were executed to plans of the architects V.A. Shchuko and V.G. Gelfreich. In 1927, in front of the entrance a monument to V.I. Lenin (sculptor V.V. Kozlov) was unveiled. Since 1917, the building of the Smolny Institute was occupied with party and Soviet organizations, since 1991 it has housed the Administration of St. Petersburg.

References: Семенникова Н. В. Архитектурный ансамбль Смольного. Л., 1980; Жерихина Е. И. Смольный: История зданий и учреждений. СПб., 2002.

A. A. Alexeev.

Elizaveta Petrovna, Empress
Felten Yury (Georg Friedrich) Matveevich
Gelfreich Vladimir Georgievich
Kozlov Gavriil Ignatievich
Lenin (real name Ulyanov) Vladimir Ilyich
Quadri Domenico
Quarenghi Giacomo
Rastrelli Francesco de
Shchuko Vladimir Alexeevich

Proletarskoy Diktatury Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Rastrelli Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1
Smolnogo St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 3
Smolny Passage/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1

Жерихина Е. И. Смольный: История зданий и учреждений. СПб., 2002
Семенникова Н. В. Архитектурный ансамбль Смольного. Л., 1980

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